BIRMINGHAM (Sporting Alert) — Pakistan and South Africa face must-win situations on Monday when they tackle each other in an ICC Champions Trophy group game at Edgbaston in Birmingham.
South African are expected to be without seamer Dale Steyn, whose fitness remains a major concern ahead of the contest.
“The final decision hasn’t been made yet, but it’s not looking good; chances are that he’ll only be ready for the last one,” said captain AB de Villiers.
“We’re still hanging on to that last little bit of hope that he could wake up tomorrow morning and do a bit of a fitness test and look good for the game, but it’s not looking good at all.”
Chris Morris looks well set to make his One Day International debut in place of the injured Morne Morkel, who is out of the tournament.
“Yeah, Chris is doing well,” the skipper said. “He looks really fresh. He has impressed us all at the IPL. In the last year he’s been amazing.
“He’s a guy full of confidence and a guy that we really enjoy having around. You know, we were unlucky to have Morne and Dale injured, but to have a guy like Chris replace them is really pleasing to me.”
Pakistan, in the meantime, will be looking to bounce back from the defeat to the West Indies and South Africa de Villiers knows just how dangerous they can be.
“They’re totally different teams,” said de Villiers. “I think Pakistan obviously has got a world class spinner in Saeed Ajmal, and they’re very different to India.
“India has a very, very strong batting line-up right throughout the order. They’re strong with the batting end, where Pakistan has probably got a stronger bowling attacking end.”
He added: “We played them in the recent past in South Africa, and in the warm up game here in England. We know them very well, and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq also speaks ahead of the match up of both teams.
“I think both the teams know each other very well,” he said. “The strategy of the players, everybody is aware of that, and I think we did well in ODIs especially in South Africa.
“So, the players are in good confidence against them. I think that will be a good contest if we just play up to our potential, and we have a good chance.”
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Pakistan (squad): Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Abdur Rehman, Asad Ali, Asad Shafiq, Ehsan Adil, Imran Farhat, Junaid Khan, Kamran Akmal (wk), Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Irfan, Nasir Jamshed, Saeed Ajmal, Shoaib Malik, Umar Amin, Wahab Riaz.
South Africa (squad): AB de Villiers (capt, wk), Hashim Amla, Alviro Petersen, Faf du Plessis, David Miller, JP Duminy, Colin Ingram, Farhaan Behardien, Robin Peterson, Ryan McLaren, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Rory Kleinveldt, Aaron Phangiso.