After two hard fought and closely contested games on Saturday, which were a great advert for the game of cricket, it was all ‘after the mayor’s show’ yesterday as Pakistan outclassed a poor South African team who are now officially out of the World Cup.
Let’s be totally candid, South Africa have been playing outdated, insipid cricket for the whole tournament with their tactics more akin to those that England were rightly pilloried for after the 2015 World Cup. Once again, many of their batsmen got off to a slow steady start but none of them were able to convert their innings into something substantial, leaving the tail with the hopeless job of needing 12 runs an over plus when they came in. It’s a shame in many ways as South Africa have always been there or there abouts in major white ball tournaments, but a mixture of poor coaching, ponderous batting and strange team selections have left them massively behind the 8-ball. It would not surprise me if heads roll on their return to South Africa and we have probably seen the last of the likes of Duminy, Amla and Tahir (who has bowled pretty well TBF) in their white ball team. Even Graeme Smith was mystified at the approach his team took in trying to chase down Pakistan’s score:
As for Pakistan, this was one of their better days of the tournament. Haris Sohail came into the side and looked a class act with the bat, which has many of us scratching our heads as to why they stuck with Shoaib Malik for so long, with good contributions from the two openers and Babar Azam, who I’m a huge fan of. Their bowlers also offered a lot more control as both Wahab and Amir, the latter of whom is having a stellar tournament so far, bowled with pace and accuracy as well as their spinners bowling with control and good variations. Pakistan are not out of this tournament yet and if they continue to play like they did today, then they are a threat to any team; equally they are also able to fall flat on their face like they did against India, you just don’t know with Pakistan.
As for today’s game, we head back to the Kolpakshire Bowl for a strong Bangladesh team against an Afghan team that were so close to beating India on Saturday. Bangladesh will naturally start as favourites with their star all-rounder Shakib Al-Hasan lighting up the tournament so far, but it will be interesting to see if Afghanistan can maintain the same level of intensity that they showed against the Indians or whether they will be unable to shake the disappointment of Saturday’s result.
As ever, feel free to share your thoughts below: