Pak to play for pride, South Africa for semis berth

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Pakistan will be out to salvage some pride, while South Africa will hope to garner a crucial win that would take them to the semis when the sides clash.

Updated: May 09, 2010 14:46 IST
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St Lucia:

Their title defence virtually over, a beleaguered Pakistan will be out to salvage some pride, while South Africa will hope to put their Twenty20 World Cup campaign back on track in the Group E Super Eight stage match at the Beausejour Stadium here on Monday.

With none of their players featuring in the third edition of the Indian Premier League, defending champion Pakistan entered the tournament as the only side without any fatigue factor but they looked rusty and now risk an early return home after losing their first two Super Eight stage matches to England and New Zealand.

The 2009 champions looked a rudderless lot under Shahid Afridi's timid captaincy and the burden of leading seemed to have bogged down the all-rounder who looked far from his flamboyance self.

The Pakistani batting order, barring Salman Butt, has looked patchy with batsmen like Mohammad Hafeez and Misbah-ul-Haq coming a cropper while the Akmal brothers --Kamran and Umar -- also lacking consistency.

Their inability to chase down a meagre victory target of 134 runs in yesterday's cliff-hanger against New Zealand virtually put paid to their semifinal hopes and the batsmen would have to shoulder the blame for the team's pathetic display.

In contrast, their bowlers did a better job and restricting New Zealand to 133 yesterday was a commendable effort.

Unlike Pakistan, South Africa have everything to play for tomorrow as a win might clear their semifinal passage.

Having beaten New Zealand by 13 runs in their first Super Eight match, South Africa showed a batting frailty against England yesterday that would keep them worried.

Chasing 169 for a win, only four batsmen reached double digit scores before they collapsed in 19 overs for just 129.

In the match against New Zealand, the entire top order had fired in unison but the same batsmen looked helpless against England's disciplined attack and it is something the Protea think-tank would have to sort out tomorrow.

One would expect the Protea bowlers to bend their back tomorrow and come to the aid of the team.

For South Africa, off-spinner Johan Botha has been virtually unplayable, taking wickets and hardly conceding boundaries but the Protea would need a big contribution from Dale Steyn and Charl Langeveldt up front to see them through against Pakistan.

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