Both teams have world-class cricketers fit and available for selection. We selected two match-ups to look forward to at the MA Chidambaram Stadium ...
The tournament’s leading run-scorer, Quinton de Kock has struggled against left-arm quicks in the past.
He seems to have a recurring problem of being dismissed either bowled or trapped lbw by skilful left-arm fast bowlers.
But in this tournament, the opening batter has held his own extremely well when faced with quality left-arm quicks, including Australia’s Mitchell Starc and Sri Lanka’s Dilshan Madushanka.
De Kock’s three centuries in five matches attest to the sublime form he is enjoying in what is his last one-day international tournament.
With Shaheen Shah Afridi on the other hand, at the beginning of the World Cup things were by no means going according to plan from an individual point of view. He picked up only four wickets in his first three World Cup matches – a below-par performance for his standards.
He looked to have lost his venom with the new ball and struggled to nail the in-swinging deliveries to righthanded batters, a skill that has made him one of the best opening bowlers across all three formats of the game.
But the left-arm fast bowler looked like himself again when Pakistan played Australia two games prior to today’s match against South Africa in Chennai.
He claimed an impressive 5/54 in their clash with Australia, before returning figures of 1/58 against Afghanistan on Monday.
A fired up Afridi is dangerous, and his clash with De Kock promises to be a cracking match-up up front.
Kagiso Rabada has adopted a fairly new role in the Proteas bowling attack. Having built a reputation around being a lethal new-ball bowler, he has had to take on duties of a first-change bowler at this tournament.
Rabada played a similar role leading up to the 2019 World Cup, when Dale Steyn and Lungi Ngidi were entrusted with the new ball.
Since then, Rabada has been bowling like a fast bowler who has a better understanding of his newly-adopted role.
Throughout this World Cup, he has been key for the Proteas in terms of taking big wickets.
While Ngidi and Marco Jansen have made the new ball talk, Rabada has claimed the wickets of Steve Smith, Ben Stokes and Kusal Mendis – all top-tomiddle-order batters.
Today, the right-arm fast bowler will be faced with Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan in the Pakistan middle order.
Both batters are in fine form, with Azam boasting two half-centuries at the World Cup, while Rizwan has notched up a gritty century already at this tournament.
As far as today’s match-ups go, Rabada and these two Pakistan batters will offer a contest to look forward to.