The Proteas will be looking to make a big improvement as they in their last three matches at the World Cup. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix
South Africa’s return to the capital, and particularly the home of cricket, Lord’s, was meant to be a celebration this week.

Even the players’ loved ones scheduled tomorrow’s match against Pakistan as the point of their arrival here in the United Kingdom. Instead their meeting will now be a sombre one.

This was all due to the drama that unfolded in Edgbaston mid-week when the Proteas hopes at this World Cup were virtually extinguished.

Any game at Lord’s is something to savour, for it is a special moment in every cricketer’s life, but that definitive edge will unfortunately be missing for both teams.

Pakistan have been equally diabolical at this tournament, with only a shock victory over hosts England to appease their fanatical fans. The victory over the world’s No1 team was meant to kickstart their campaign, but instead it was only a false dawn.

So, what will the Proteas be trying to achieve in a game that is a virtual dead-rubber?

“We’ve still got three games to play and I’d like to think that we can at least play the way we know we can play,” Proteas coach Ottis Gibson said.

“We haven’t played like that, for whatever reason, but I’d like to think we can still do that.

“The thing about the squad is that there are guys playing their last World Cup and I’d like to think that they will leave the world stage having signed off on a strong note.

“And there are some youngsters here that I’m sure will play in future World Cups. So they too would like to leave a statement. That’s the way we’ve got to look at it.”

With Gibson referring to the players that are retiring after this World Cup, there is every chance South Africa could go back to all-rounder JP Duminy for this Pakistan clash.

Duminy has been benched the last two games, and could return to the starting XI to add some impetus in the middle-order. Although Rassie van der Dussen has been a revelation at this World Cup, the form of David Miller has been concerning.

Even his fielding, usually of such a high level, has not been up to its usual standard.

Duminy would want to add to his 5103 runs, which makes him South Africa’s 10th highest run-scorer of all time, and could even be eyeing a 200th ODI cap. He has played 197 matches so far and if he plays the remaining three will reach the milestone. Zaahier Adams


Weekend Argus 

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