Pakistan v South Africa: Cricket World Cup 2023 – live | Cricket World Cup 2023
8th over: Pakistan 44-2 (Babar Azam 11, Rizwan 5) Jansen calms things down with a calm over containing just two singles.
7th over: Pakistan 42-2 (Babar Azam 10, Rizwan 4) Rizwan, with immaculate suncream lipstick, is dropped first ball -if it can be called that- as he pushes forward and the leaping Jansen can’t hold on with outstretched hand in his follow through. Rizwan throws the kitchen sink at the next, an outrageous hoik that is aimed towards long on but instead flies over the keeper for four. All sorts of posturing follows between Rizwan and Jansen, and Rizwan scatters more tinder by signalling that Jansen’s final ball should have been a wide.
Done by the slower ball! Furious with himself, flies for the drive but can only edge to deep slip. And Jansen has both openers in his pocket.
6th over: Pakistan 38-1 (Babar Azam 10, Imam ul Haq 12) South Africa handing out a few sweeties here: Ngidi throws in a wide, then a another juicy one on the legside tucked into by Imam, ferociously cut to the rope. An overthrow brings one, then Babar rises onto his toes to cut four more.
5th over: Pakistan 28-1 (Babar Azam 6, Imam ul Haq 7) Enter Babar, who is kindly greeted by two no balls and two free hits from Jansen. One is clattered through midwicket for four, the other shovelled through extra cover for a couple.
Shaffique eyes up and takes on the short ball, but hasn’t got enough behind it and Ngidi gracefully takes the catch on the rope in the shade of the stands..
4th over: Pakistan 20-0 (Abdullah Shaffique 9, Imam ul Haq 7) A fierce cut by Shaffique off Ngidi’s first ball brings a boundary. Three more off the boots, then an almost dangerously sharp single. The over concludes with a nasty bouncer, but nine from it.
A gorgeous looking stadium – two of the stands at least are multi-storied, topped by white roofs – like something a child might make out of playmobil to raise their spirits on a dreary morning.
3rd over: Pakistan 11-0 (Abdullah Shaffique 1, Imam ul Haq 6) A bouncer from Jansen flies over the top of Shafique, and de Kock’s outstretched glove, to the rope. Byes given not wides. Shaffique belatedly off the mark with a single.
2nd over: Pakistan 6-0 (Abdullah Shaffique 0, Imam ul Haq 6) The stockier Ngidi, black headband sitting around his head like a belt, charges in. Pakistan’s innings gets going with a cut for two by Imam, followed by four whipped off his heels from the last ball,
1st over: Pakistan 0-0 (Abdullah Shaffique 0, Imam ul Haq 0 ) Marco Jansen stretches to his full six foot eight, a dancer’s approach and a delicate delivery. Lovely length straight away, and a maiden to start.
Anthems over, here come the players!
We get an overhead glimpse of the stadium, which is gloriously only a puma’s leap from the beach, looking out over the Bay of Bengal. Here comes Shaun Pollock with the trophy, as the teams mill about before the anthems.
An early email. “Good morning Tanya.” Hello Krishnamoorthy v!
“Could you tell me if you are serious about the shoulder pads? (I am not seeing any live coverage, trusting the ever reliable OBO)
“A XXL tee would have been cheaper if the purpose was to hide that paunch.”
I only had a five second glimpse but he had suspiciously square and large shoulders to go alongside the XXL-size personality.
It looks hot out there, the crowd fanning themselves with their six signs. Bavuma said that he too would have batted first on a tasty-looking pitch.
Two changes for Pakistan: Hasan Ali is ill and is replaced by ,Mohammad Wasim; Mohammad Nawaz replaces Usama Mir.
Pakistan XI: Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Wasim, Haris Rauf.
Three changes for South Africa: Bavuma returns, alongside Shamsi and Ngidi – Hendricks, Coetzee and, to some surprise, Rabada sit in the dugout.
South Africa XI: Temba Bavuma (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Tabraiz Shamsi, Gerald Coetzee, Lungi Ngidi
Ravi Shastri in shades and shoulder pads introduces the captains. Babar calls correctly and choses to bat first in a sultry Chennai, and says he is is feeling comfortable about his batting and looking forward to being out there.
Good morning! Now that England have toppled their crown into India’s equivalent of the Wash, time to turn to one of the strong pretenders: South Africa. The men in green and sand have lost just one of their games – an embarrassment by the Netherlands – and are purring sweetly toward the semi-finals.
All the cogs are freshly oiled, all the springs tightly sprung, with captain Temba Bavuma returning after his replacement Reeza Hendricks did just dandy against England: the runs, they just keep on flowing.
They play the other men in green, Pakistan, languishing in sixth and with three defeats in their recent out box. Pakistan have also been hit by an ominous vote of confidence by the board – who urged fans to continue supporting them on the one hand, while with the other putting the boot into captain Babar Azam and coach Inzamam ul Haq. Pakistan need Babar to suddenly fire, alongside the strangely subdued seam attack – another loss and they would be relying on a succession of banana skins hitting all the teams above them. A team that historically thrives on unlikely comebacks, Pakistan’s campaign proper must start now.
Play starts at 9.30am BST, the forecast in Chennai is for sun and cloud – 31 degrees and with high humidity.