Toothless Proteas chase leather at Lord's

Kagiso Rabada (Getty)
Kagiso Rabada (Getty)

Lord's - South Africa will be mathematically eliminated from the 2019 Cricket World Cup if they do not chase down 309 to beat Pakistan at a packed and deafeningly loud Lord's on Sunday. 

The chances of qualification are already miniscule, even with victory, but defeat at the Home of Cricket would confirm the Proteas' fate. 


Given what we have seen so far in the tournament from the South African top order, there is no reason to think they will pull off what would easily be the highest successful run chase of the World Cup so far. 

The South African bowling attack, and the fast bowlers in particular, were not good enough as Pakistan posted 308/7 from their 50 overs with Haris Sohail (89 off 59) and Babar Azam (69 off 80) leading the way for Pakistan. 

South African skipper Faf du Plessis was happy to lose the toss, acknowledging that he would have bowled first anyway. 

He would have expected far better than what he got, however, which was a fast bowling performance that did nothing to suggest that the Proteas should be playoff contenders in this tournament.

Kagiso Rabada (0/65 in 10), with so much riding on him, dished up another sub-standard display with the new ball. 

Where Lungi Ngidi (3/64 in 9) was far too full with his lengths in his opening spell, Rabada was too inconsistent and between the pair of quicks there were not enough probing deliveries that asked the right questions. 

It resulted in Pakistan sitting pretty at 54/0 after eight overs before Du Plessis made the change. 

Chris Morris (0/61 in 9) and Andile Phehlukwayo (1/49 in 8) couldn't get the breakthrough either, and it eventually came through Imran Tahir (2/41 in 10) when he had Fakhar Zaman (44 off 50) gobbled up by Hashim Amla at slip after the batsman had tried a premeditated paddle. 

Tahir then pulled off a superb catch off his own bowling, diving to his right to get rid of Imam-ul-Haq (44 off 58) as the Proteas fought back to 98/2.

There was then a 45-run stand for third wicket between Babar and Mohammad Hafeez (20 off 33) before part-timer Aiden Markram (1/22 in 4) had a sweeping Hafeez out LBW. 

That was when Babar and Sohail started to take control, and the Proteas would have to wait until the 42nd over before one of their seamers, considered their major strength heading into the tournament, took a wicket.

Phehlukwayo had a swinging Azam caught by Ngidi on the mid-wicket fence, but if the Proteas thought that was their opening, they were in for a rude awakening. 

When Babar left, Sohail turned it on and began dispatching the Proteas bowlers to all corners of Lord's.

It was an attacking innings of the highest quality, with his shotmaking ability resulting in runs everywhere and against everyone. 

Imad Wasim smashed 23 off 15 before he hit Ngidi to long-on, but by then he had shared a 71-run stand with Sohail that had lasted just 40 deliveries. 

Ngidi bowled Wahab Riaz (4 off 4) and had Sohail caught by Quinton de Kock to finish strong in the final over.

@LloydBurnard is in England covering the 2019 Cricket World Cup for Sport24 ... 

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