ICC World Twenty20

Pakistan stand in SA's path

2010-05-10 14:15
Graeme Smith (Gallo)
Johannesburg - The Proteas won’t let their vision be blurred by net run rate concerns when they play Pakistan in their final ICC World Twenty20 Super 8 match at the Beausejour Stadium on Monday.

“Our focus will be on securing the win,” commented coach Corrie van Zyl. “The match between New Zealand and England comes after ours so it is no use worrying about other scenarios,” he added.

Pakistan are currently the only team without a win in their pool but they put the Proteas out of the last edition in 2009 at the semi-final stage before going on to win the final, so there will be no illusions in the South African camp about the task awaiting them.

There are several possible outcomes of Group E’s battle for the two semifinal places. If England beat New Zealand, then a South African win over Pakistan will be sufficient to secure the second semifinal place against the top team in Group F (either Australia or Sri Lanka) on Friday.

If New Zealand beat England and South Africa beat Pakistan then three teams (England, New Zealand and South Africa) will be tied on 4 points and net run rate will be decisive. At the moment the Proteas have the worst run rate of the three but are close enough to turn it around if they have a decisive victory.

If England beat New Zealand and Pakistan beat South Africa, then there will be three teams in second place on two points (New Zealand, Pakistan and South Africa) and net run rate will again be the decider.

There is also the possibility of a wash out but this is highly unlikely in St. Lucia. The games that have been severely affected by the weather to date have all been in Guyana which has a much higher rainfall pattern at this time of year. One thing is for certain: there will be no tied games. If the two totals are level regardless of the number of wickets lost the match will go to a Super Over for which each team nominates three batsmen and one bowler.

The Proteas basically lost Saturday’s match against England in the first six overs of the latter’s innings. There was a dropped catch, a missed catch and another Morne Morkel no ball that cancelled out a wicket.

The Proteas also made a mistake in bowling back of a length to Kevin Pietersen who is at his most comfortable against that length of bowling. Pietersen’s half-century went on to set up England’s more-than-competitive total.

Even so, it was not that they did not create wicket-taking opportunities; they simply failed to take advantage of them. When it came to the batting the Proteas did not repeat the successes of the New Zealand game when the top four created the platform before unleashing some of the most dangerous power hitters in the game.

They were five down with little more than 50 runs on the board and JP Duminy was the only one of the specialist batsmen to play with any sense of fluency.

England seemed to be one step ahead of the Proteas in all departments and it added up to a resounding win.

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