Colombo: They have so far maintained a clean slate and there is very little to separate the two teams as South Africa lock horns with Pakistan in what is expected to be a battle of attrition in World T20 Super Eights clash, on Friday.
Both teams will be equally confident after their emphatic showings in the group stage of the tournament, and it will be interesting to see who emerges the winner at the R Premadasa Stadium. Still, it can be said the Proteas have an edge.
Pakistan won both their group league matches with ease. If captain Mohammed Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed shone in their win over New Zealand, Imran Nazir led the way with an onslaught that left the Bangladesh bowlers shell-shocked in their last game.
Hafeez deserves special mention as he led admirably with both the bat and the ball, his canny off-spinners often proving to be a perfect foil for Saeed Ajmal.
Kamran Akmal has also shown glimpses of his brilliance and looked in good nick against their South Asian rivals. Pacers Umar Gul and Sohail Tanvir haven’t really fired, but Yasir Arafat made an impact with three Bangladeshi wickets, and Pakistan are unlikely to make any changes to the squad that played in the last game.
The match assumes more significance for Pakistan as a win against the Proteas will put them in the perfect frame of mind ahead of Sunday’s India tie. South Africa have been their consistent self in the group stage, but the real tournament starts now, and more so for the Proteas.
The shocking 2011 World Cup defeat to New Zealand still fresh in mind, South Africa will once again look to shed the tag of perennial chokers and a win on Friday will be a positive step in that direction. (Agencies)