Cricket World Cup 2019: Amir's support cast in focus as Pakistan prepare for Proteas test

Sooraj Kamath - Writer 17:29 22/06/2019
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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.

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