CHENNAI: The Pakistan cricket team has made two changes in the “do-or-die” match against South Africa played at Chennai’s M Chidambaram Stadium today, sources told Geo News.
Hasan Ali is not well and will likely be replaced by Mohammad Wasim Jr who will be playing his first match of the the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023.
All-rounder Mohammad Nawaz is another change that Pakistan will make axing leg-spinner Usama Mir.
Babar Azam and Co are in a crunch situation after losing three consecutive matches which derailed their World Cup campaign and are currently placed six in the points table.
After starting brightly with wins over the Netherlands and Sri Lanka, the 1992 champions have been well beaten by India and Australia before being humiliated by neighbours Afghanistan last time out.
Today, they face another test of their resources against free-scoring South Africa who have four wins in five games and have shrugged off their shock defeat against the Netherlands.
With four group games to play, Pakistan can still make the semi-finals but there is little margin for error.
However, as well as victory on Friday, they also need to improve their -0.40 net run-rate which could prove to be the tie-breaker in the race for semi-final spots.
Shadab hoping for miracles
Meanwhile, all-rounder Shadab Khan in a pre-match press conference insisted that his under-performing teammates believe “miracles can happen”.
“We have not played like we were playing before the World Cup but from tomorrow we have to start a winning streak.”
He added: “When you are in a do-or-die position then I think the pressure is less because you have nothing to lose.”
Shadab has been one of many in the Pakistan squad who has yet to fully fire.
The 25-year-old leg-spinner has just two wickets at 90.00 and scored 74 runs in three outings.
He was dropped for the match with Australia before being recalled to face Afghanistan.
“When you don´t do well the criticism is valid but there are ups and downs in a player´s performance so I am confident that I will improve,” said Shadab who scored 40 in the losing cause against Afghanistan.
Shadab insists the shock eight-wicket defeat to Afghanistan in a game also played at Chennai is now behind them.
Victory, he insists, will hopefully quieten the criticism which has grown steadily since the eighth loss in eight World Cup meetings to India.