South Africa sealed its first win in the World-cup with a dominating display of bowling while Pakistan lost both the matches it played so far. The Batting order of South Africa faced the heat during its opening match. Bangladesh stunned the Proteas with its superb spin attack and wrapped it to a below-par score of 200 runs. Despite the spin onslaught, Marizanne Kapp put up a fighting partnership of 71 runs. Laura Wolvaardt tried to hold the innings despite the wickets starting to tumble around her. She struck a fluent 41 in this innings.
Despite the initial resistance of the opening batters of Bangladesh, the pacers were persistent with their bowling accuracy and struck at crucial moments of the game toppling the Bangladeshi batting lineup. The fielding was sharp and because of which the flow of runs was restricted and added more pressure on the batters.
Undoubtedly the South African pacers will be the strong force to reckon with by any team in this world cup. South Africa will utilize them to bring early breakthroughs. Marizanne Japp and Shabnim Ismail will lead the pace attack while captain Sune Luus and her deputy Chloe Tryon will take up the spin duties. The opening pair is well-settled as Lizelle Lee will return to the playing XI after her quarantine.
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The middle-order will have to step up for the forthcoming matches and try to be efficient against the spinners and build partnerships.
Pakistan suffered two heavy defeats by arch-rivals India and tournament favourites Australia. Its main issue is that the batters nullify the efforts of its bowlers. The pacers like Anam Amin, Fathima Sana bowled accurate and wicket-taking spells and also remained economical. The spinners Nashra Sandhu and Omaima Osmail chipped in with useful wickets. Nida Dar, who is a go-to all-rounder for Pakistan off late has not been in form so far in the tournament. Her comeback will strengthen the depth of batting as well as bowling.
The inconsistency in choosing the opening batters has heavily cost Pakistan. Javeria Khan who is a reliable middle-order player at number 3 or 4 has forced her to play a constrained knock that she consumed many deliveries in the powerplay overs earlier in the match against India. Whereas down the order, she has a free hand to play freely and knock the balls round with quick singles. With an aim to put on a steady partnership at the top of the order, Pakistan batters’ strike rates are compromised.
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It is as important to put on a partnership along with stroke-making, running between wickets and finding boundaries at regular intervals. Muneeba Ali is a consistent opening batter and should be batting along with the experienced Nahida Khan. Javeria and Bismah Maroof can take over the middle order, While Omaima, Nida and Aliya Riaz could strengthen the middle order. Diana Baig is a handy lower-order batter who could bring quick runs along with Fatima Sana. The fielding is still a work in progress.
South Africa is a tough side to beat by Pakistan. Unless the batters pull up their socks, it is going to be a daunting task for them to beat the Proteas. The bowling unit of Pakistan is still could cause an upset against its opposition if the batters complement the bowlers in every match they play from now on. South Africa will play to its strengths and look to win two in a row.
Predicted Playing XI:
South Africa: Lizelle Lee, Laura Wolvaardt, Lara Goodall, Sune Luus, Mignon Du Preez, Chloe Tryon, Marizanne Kapp, Ayobonga Khaka, Shabnim Ismail, Masabata Klaas, Tumi Sekhukhune
Pakistan: Muneeba Ali, Nahida Khan, Javeria Khan, Omaima Sohail, Bismah Maroof, Aliya Riaz, Nida Dar, Fatima Sana, Diana Baig, Nashra Sandhu, Anam Amin