Will the real Pakistan turn up for today’s Champions Trophy, Group B match vs South Africa? If they don’t this could be a humiliatingly one-sided affair.
The Proteas come into this brimming with confidence having hammered Sri Lanka in their opening game and are the highest ranked team in the tournament. Their formidable team boasts top players who have hit peak form at just the right time: Imran Tahir is bowling his socks off, Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis are punishing any errant balls, while the power-hitting of AB de Villiers and David Miller can cut through the toughest of run chases.
To stand any chance today Pakistan’s frontline bowlers need to step up. On Sunday, the bowling of Mohammad Amir and Shadab Khan provided two isolated bright spots on an otherwise awful day of defeat to fierce rivals India. Rectifying the all-round sloppiness that undermined that performance will be goal number one. Avoiding a pasting at the hands of Amla et al will be goal number two. This one has the hallmarks of a damage limitation exercise.
Champions Trophy Cricket: Pakistan v South Africa – Wednesday from 1.25pm on Sky Sports 2.