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11 March 201512:04 By Wisden India staff

South Africa v UAE Preview, Match 36, Wellington

UAE will be eager to make a mark in the tournament, but South Africa has a point to prove after loss against Pakistan

South Africa v UAE Preview, Match 36, Wellington - Cricket News

South Africa team before the start of the game.

South Africa came into the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup labelled as a favourite and has largely lived up to the tag, notching up consecutive 400-plus totals in the tournament en route to booking its quarter-final berth. However, its recent loss to Pakistan has led to some introspection.

Come Thursday (March 11), South Africa will have a chance to set the record straight after losses to India and Pakistan as it runs into a winless United Arab Emirates in a Pool B encounter at the Wellington Regional Stadium in Wellington.

The clash also provides Vernon Philander, who has missed the past three games with a hamstring injury, and Faf du Plessis, who is struggling with a lower back injury, an opportunity to assess their fitness ahead of bigger tests.

This is South Africa’s last chance of fine-tuning its game ahead of the knockouts. Victory against the UAE would most likely see the side finish second in Pool B behind India, setting up a last-eight showdown with Sri Lanka, the 1996 World Cup champion.

At their best, AB de Villiers’ men have looked like world beaters against West Indies and Ireland, but they have also been bowled out for 177 and 202 in losses to India (by 130 runs) and Pakistan (by 29 runs via Duckworth/ Lewis method) respectively.

De Villiers was bullish about the team’s chances of winning the trophy during the pre-match press conference on Wednesday and insisted that the tie against UAE was a must-win game in order for South Africa to finish second on the table.
“There are a few guys I’d like to get into form... all around I’d just like to show a good performance,” he said.

By the looks of it, South Africa isn't lowering its guard, leaving UAE with an uphill battle. UAE has already faced some of the best cricketing nations in the world and victory has eluded it thus far. UAE's best chance of securing a win came against Ireland and Zimbabwe, but it was unable to hold its nerve.

UAE, who hasn't played in a week, now has two games left in its ICC Cricket World Cup campaign – the match against South Africa and one against West Indies on March 15 – before it heads home. It will be eager to make a mark, but South Africa too has a point or two to prove.

Teams (from)

South Africa: Quinton de Kock (wk), Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, Rilee Russouw, AB de Villiers (capt), David Miller, JP Duminy, Dale Steyn, Kyle Abbott, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir, Farhaan Behardien, Vernon Philander, Aaron Phangiso.

United Arab Emirates: Amjad Ali, Andri Berenger, Krishna Chandran, Khurram Khan, Shaiman Anwar, Swapnil Patil, Rohan Mustafa, Amjad Javed, Mohammad Naveed, Mohammad Tauqir (capt), Manjula Guruge, Saqlain Haider, Nasir Aziz, Fahad Al Hashmi, Kamran Shahzad.