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POST TIME: 23 June, 2019 00:00 00 AM
South Africa, Pakistan meet in must-win match today
Wahab calls for WC unity as Sohail likely to replace Malik
ICC-Cricket, AFP, London

South Africa, Pakistan meet in must-win match today

Pakistan’s players react during fielding practice at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London yesterday ahead of next CWC 2019 match against South Africa. AFP photo

Pakistan, who were outplayed in all departments against India in their previous game, will aim for an improved performance as they face a must-win situation against South Africa at Lord's on Sunday South Africa's chances of progressing to the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019 semi-finals seem all but over after their narrow loss to New Zealand on Wednesday. While their bowlers have troubled the opposition in each of the previous three occasions, the batsmen have failed to give them enough runs to play with. The Faf du Plessis-led side will look to produce performances similar to that of their series win against Pakistan earlier this year, when they take the field on Sunday.

After producing contrasting results in their first two matches, Pakistan's performance has slipped in their last two games. While a batting failure handed them a 41-run defeat against Australia, lack of intensity and consistency in all the three departments resulted in an 89-run defeat against their arch-rivals, India.

Mohammad Amir has created an impact in his each outing so far, but has got little or no support from the other end. The batting too, barring the game against England, has failed on a consistent basis. Repeated failures of their experienced middle-order batsman Shoaib Malik might mean that Pakistan consider Haris Sohail for a spot in the playing eleven on Sunday.

AFP adds: Wahab Riaz called on Pakistan's World Cup strugglers to stick together as they prepare to face South Africa at Lord’s on Sunday.

Pakistan have only three points from five games and to make the semi-finals they are likely to need to win their four remaining games and improve their net run-rate, while hoping other results go their way.

Pakistan pace-man Riaz insists his team-mates realise the importance of the do-or-die game and he hopes displaying a united front against South Africa will spark a strong performance.

“We have to lift ourselves,” Wahab told reporters. “We are each other's strength. We are all good friends and know that only 15 of us can lift the team which not even our family members can do.”

Pakistan’s defeat against arch rivals India last weekend sparked a depressing few days, not only for the team but also millions of fans back home.

Team management gave Pakistan’s players time off to unwind and come back refreshed after the India game.

And Riaz insisted his team-mates realise the mistakes they have made so far and are determined to make amends.

“Good teams are the ones who realises their mistakes, so we have discussed all those mistakes and a two day break has refreshed us,” he said.

But the 33-year-old, who took three wickets in Pakistan's shock win over pre-tournament favourites England, admitted the bowling unit needs to work harder.

“As a bowling unit we are trying hard, We are all focused to do well in the South Africa match. You need wickets upfront in England but we were not getting that,” Riaz said.