Today at the Champions Trophy: Proteas' progress rests on test of nerves and reserves

 

Pakistan v South Africa

Expect a nerve-jangling encounter between South Africa and Pakistan at Edgbaston today, with both sides knowing that defeat for either is likely to end their participation in this year's tournament.

The Proteas should be slight favourites to recover from their opening-day loss to India but the likely absence of Dale Steyn will deny captain A B de Villiers the use of his most potent attacking weapon. Chris Morris will make his ODI debut in place of Morne Morkel – who was ruled out of the tournament last week – but they could opt to bring in second spinner Aaron Phangiso to replace Steyn.

Currently bottom of the group on run rate, Pakistan have work to do to bounce back from their defeat to West Indies. They may take heart from last week's easy warm-up victory over South Africa at The Oval but will need to produce a much better performance with the bat after being bowled out for just 170 in their first match.

With bowlers Mohammed Irfan and Saeed Ajmal adapting well to English conditions, anything above the 200-mark would probably give them a fighting chance of beating South Africa for the first time at a Champions Trophy or in a World Cup match.

Two to watch

Junaid Khan, Pakistan

Overshadowed by the towering Mohammad Irfan against West Indies, the left-arm seamer caused South Africa real problems at The Oval last week. He could play a key role in unsettling a middle order that features three left-handers in J P Duminy, David Miller and Ryan McLaren.

Colin Ingram, South Africa

With Graeme Smith out injured, the onus is on his replacement at the top of the order to prove his worth at this level. An average of 37.3 from his 23 innings so far shows promise but Ingram has yet to cement his position and this may be his last chance to do so with Alviro Petersen waiting in the wings.

Fixtures

(10.30am unless stated)

Monday (Group B) Pakistan v South Africa, Edgbaston (1pm)

Tuesday (B) India v West Indies, The Oval

Wednesday (A) Australia v New Zealand, Edgbaston

Thursday (A) England v Sri Lanka, The Oval (1pm)

Friday (B) South Africa v West Indies, Cardiff

Saturday (B) India v Pakistan, Edgbaston

Sunday (A) England v New Zealand, Cardiff

17 June (A) Australia v Sri Lanka, The Oval (1pm)

Semi-finals:

19 June: Winner Group A v runner-up Group B, The Oval

20 June: Winner Group B v runner-up Group A, Cardiff

Final:

23 June: Winner semi-final one v winner semi-final two, Edgbaston

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