The Lord’s will witness a crucial game at the tail end of the 2019 ICC World Cup with Pakistan set to lock horns against South Africa at the historic venue on Sunday.
This will be the first 2019 World Cup game to be held in the historic ground. In all likelihood, the losing team of this do-or-die game will be heading home after the group stage.
Pakistan enter the fixture after their poor performance in defeat against India caused an uproar on social media. The 1992 champions are in need of a competitive performance in order to make a statement.
The Proteas conceded a narrow defeat to New Zealand in the first thriller of the tournament and need the two points as much as the Men in Green.
We take a look at some of the talking points ahead of the crucial tie.
Mohammad Amir requires a better support cast
Having scalped 13 wickets so far, pace-man Mohammad Amir is the third highest wicket-taker of the tournament. Sadly, a combination of this statistic and a look at Pakistan’s position in the table says a lot more about the team than it does about Amir.
Pakistan’s bowling department has barely provided any support the 27-year-old who has been phenomenal in crunch games. He troubled the Aussie openers before claiming a fifer in a losing cause. A few days later, Amir produced a terrific death spell against India and saved at least 30-40 runs.
Although Wahab Riaz has shown up sporadically, the rest of the bowlers have failed to support him. The team needs to step up and get the best out of Amir against the Proteas.
South Africa need to go the extra mile
While Faf du Plessis’ men started well in an attempt to defend a modest total of 241 against New Zealand, they seemingly lost the plot as they carried on. The Kiwis were reeling at 137/5 in the 33rd over before Colin de Grandhomme and Kane Williamson staged a come-back.
Taking nothing away from the New Zealand skipper’s brilliance, South Africa’s lack of conviction had as much of a part to play in their defeat.
The same can be said about their defeat to Bangladesh a couple of weeks ago. Tasked to chase a mammoth total of 330, the Proteas reached 200 after losing just three wickets. With 15 overs remaining and seven wickets in hand, putting 130 runs on the board on a batting surface was not particularly a hard ask. But South Africa crumbled and failed to compliment a good start with a good finish.
In both games, the Proteas have failed to go the extra mile that is needed to win them the two points. They are virtually out of the tournament but a repeat of the same could mathematically confirm their departure.
Sri Lanka sent shockwaves through the 2019 World Cup by defeating hosts England by 20 runs at Headingley.
The hosts were chasing a modest 233 as they sought a victory that would have seen them leapfrog Australia in first place, but instead crashed to 212 all out.
They were undone by Sri Lanka’s two oldest stagers, 32-year-old Angelo Mathews digging deep for an unbeaten 85 that kept the first innings afloat and 35-year-old seamer Lasith Malinga rolling back the years with 4-43.
After the win, Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne hailed Malinga as a legend. Veteran pacer Malinga had to leave the ongoing World Cup to be back home for his mother-in-law’s funeral. Karunaratne said it was important for Malinga to be in the right mindspace.
“I think he’s a legend. He knows what he has to do. I think, whatever we do he’s doing his best. So that’s why I said: ‘If you want to go home and come back, that’s fine’,” the skipper said.
“So I think he did that and he came back again and he gave a good example for the rest of the guys. He just… keeps doing what he knows. That’s the main thing.”
West Indies are in desperate need of a win to keep their 2019 ICC World Cup semi-final hopes alive as they lock horns with New Zealand at Old Trafford.
The Caribbean side has picked up just the one win from five games so far and must win each of their remaining four clashes to stand any chance of making the top four.
New Zealand, on the other hand, are currently unbeaten in the tournament with four victories and one no-result from their five games so far.
Can Windies resurrect their semi-final hopes or will the Kiwis extend their unbeaten run in the tournament? Find out by following the ball-by-ball commentary from Manchester below.