Pakistan and South Africa lock horns in Wednesday’s ICC Champions Trophy Group B encounter at Edgbaston. Have you got your fantasy team in order ahead of the match?
South Africa comes into the match off the back of a comfortable 96-run victory over Sri Lanka, while Pakistan will be seeking a morale-boosting performance after a chastening defeat to India. We’ve taken a look at the form book to give you a guiding hand when it comes to making changes to your team.
Dangerman: Babar Azam (6.0)
Pakistan’s number three scored just 8 against India but don’t let that put you off when it comes to selecting your team. It was only Babar’s third single-figure score in 27 ODI innings and his record in the format – averaging 53.20 with five centuries – stands comparison with the greats of the game. The 22-year-old reached 1,000 career runs in his 21st innings, becoming the joint-fastest in ODI history alongside Viv Richards, Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott and Quinton de Kock. He doesn’t often fail twice in a row and Pakistan will be looking to him to spearhead a faltering batting unit.
Last five ODI scores: 100, 13, 125*, 16, 8
Dangerman: Hashim Amla (8.5)
Imran Tahir is a tempting pick after his Player of the Match performance at the same venue against Sri Lanka, but Pakistan’s wayward bowling and fielding display against India means that better value might be found in the Protea batting line-up. In which case, it’s hard to look beyond Hashim Amla. The elegant right-hander has already scored a century in the tournament and has made four 50-plus scores in his last five List A innings. He loves batting in England, with a superb average of 61.53 from 16 ODIs, and is never content with simply reaching three figures. He has turned four of his 25 centuries into 150-plus scores.
Last five ODI scores: 8, 73, 24, 55, 103
Wildcard: Junaid Khan (3.0)
The left-arm quick is set to replace the injured Wahab Riaz, who has been ruled out of the tournament, and while Junaid has not been at peak form in recent times, he still has an exceptional ODI strike-rate, averaging a wicket every 32 deliveries. For context, that is superior to Wasim Akram’s career strike-rate. He is also very familiar with English conditions having had two spells in county cricket with Lancashire. The 27-year-old is well worth a speculative add.
Last five ODI figures: 1/58, 0/82, 2/61, 1/41, 2/60
Absolute steal: David Miller (4.0)
Pakistan conceded 117 from the final 10 overs in its match against India so it is worth finding room in your side for a death hitter in South Africa’s line-up. Look no further than David Miller, a hard-hitting left-hander who is likely to bat at number five or six depending on the match situation. Miller’s ODI career strike-rate of 103.75 demonstrates the damage he can do and he has been in excellent form over the last 18 months, averaging 62.62 since the start of 2016. The only danger is whether South Africa lose enough wickets to get to his position in the order, but high risk, high reward!
Last five ODI scores: 1, 45*, 11, 71*, 18
Pakistan has won three out of its last four ODIs against South Africa, but don’t let that sway you too much when selecting your line-up. The last ODI between the two countries was in March 2015, and the occasion before that November 2013.
Top transfer tip:
Mohammad Amir was forced off with cramps against India and, with the left-arm seamer priced at 8.5, you might be tempted to remove him from your team. However, Pakistan’s captain Sarfraz Ahmed indicated in the pre-match press conference that Amir is fit to play against South Africa.