Proteas will be handicapped by the absence of Morkel

Source : SIFY
By : Sunil Gavaskar
Last Updated: Mon, Jun 10, 2013 09:09 hrs
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Having lost their opening games, both Pakistan and South Africa know that if they lose their contest today, then that could well be good bye to the ICC Champions Trophy for them. 

Yes, it could well happen that three out of four teams may end up with just one win each and then would be locked in a net run rate battle to get to the semis. That is not what both teams would want, and they will go all out to win and thus give themselves the chance to win their last game of their group and qualify for the semifinals.

The Birmingham pitch has shown that there is some help for the bowlers, so it may not be a high scoring game. Both teams also have quality bowlers, and while South Africa will be sweating on the fitness of their number one bowler Dale Steyn, the Pakistanis will be wanting Saeed Ajmal to be more effective than he was against the West Indies. 

South Africa will be handicapped by the absence of Morne Morkel, for he made a terrific pair with Steyn, and the sharpness that both had will be missing from the South African attack.

Ryan McLaren clattered the helmets of Indian batsmen at Cardiff with well directed short deliveries, but he is not as consistent with his line and length. That could be because of lack of experience which was also seen when South Africa were chasing India’s huge total. They were in with a chance, but when the injured Morkel came out to bat, McLaren just did not take singles. 

But as Morkel showed later, he was perfectly capable of taking a single, and so, many a dot ball was bowled, where if those singles had been taken, it would have brought the asking rate down and given South Africa an outside chance if McLaren did connect cleanly and hit some sixes.

Pakistan will be disappointed with its batting. They were playing as if on the subcontinent pitches and did not play with bat close to the pads and late, as is needed in England where the ball can and does move late. 

If they can get off to a good start, it would make it easier for the rest of the batsmen, and as they showed while defending a small total, even if they have to defend 200, they are capable of doing it. It is a do or die game and both teams know that, and so it should be a real nail biter.


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