Pakistan once again proved why as a side they are so unpredictable! In the match against South Africa today, they have comprehensibly beaten all ends.
Judging from today’s performance, I would have to admit that South Africa stands a very good chance of winning this Champions trophy. They showed the right temperament of playing in the conditions which have been provided to teams all throughout the championship- one of patience and grit.
Electing to bat, the Proteas started their innings shakily losing four quick wickets within a span of 50 runs in the beginning. But that is when they showed their character and strung in a partnership that changed the course of the game. Adapting well to the situation, they ensured that the bowlers had a target to bowl.
Pakistan despite having started off in a grand fashion squandered the advantage which the seamers Umar Gul and Rao Iftikhar had provided them. A shoddy bowling display by Yasir Arafat too let the team down. Pakistan captain, Younis Khan failed to read the situation and brought in his spinners who provided the much-needed reprieve to the South African batsmen. This was a costly error, something which the Pakistani captain would rue in the hindsight!
Having set a formidable total to defend, the Proteas unleashed a furious and pulsating spell of seam bowling in the form of Ntini and Pollock. Nitin in particular made life extremely difficult by bowling at a lively pace and extracting the most from the bowler-friendly wicket. The Pakistani batsmen appeared at sea, once again showing their vulnerability in playing on tracks that favours seam conditions.
The one thing which I felt was missing in the Pakistani batting was the lack of character and flexibility. The batsmen failed to apply themselves to the conditions and looked brittle in the approach. Alas, they failed to take a leaf out of the South African batting book and succumbed to their own fallacies!
The writing is on the wall-this tournament will go to the team which quickly adapts to the circumstances and situation provided to them. This is the key and this has been proven by the other semi-finalist- New Zealand.
It is now up to the other teams to realize this mantra and make the most out of it..!