In what could be a big blow to South Africa, tearaway pacer Dale Steyn may miss their must-win Champions Trophy match against Pakistan here on Monday as he has not recovered fully from the side strain he suffered in a warm-up game.
South Africa captain A.B. de Villiers said a final decision has not been taken on the fast bowler but his fitness was not looking good. Steyn had missed South Africa’s first match against India on June 6.
“Chances are that he’ll only be ready for the last one. We’re still hanging on to that last little bit of hope that Styen could wake up on Monday morning and do a bit of a fitness test and look good for the game,” de Villiers said ahead of the Pakistan match. He said all-rounder Chris Morris is all set to make his ODI debut at Edgbaston.
For both South Africa and Pakistan, tomorrow’s fixture is a crunch game. Both teams have lost their opening games against India and the West Indies respectively. Nothing short of a win will keep the two teams afloat in a short tournament where four teams make a group.
South Africa had defeated Pakistan by 124 runs at Mohali in October 2006 in the only time the two nations met in the Champions Trophy. On current form, it’s difficult to predict a clear favourite.
South Africa will be wary about Pakistan’s bowling attack and de Villiers made a special mention of off-spinner Saeed Ajmal.
“Pakistan obviously have got a world class spinner in Ajmal and they’re a very good team as well, just very different to India. India have a very strong batting line-up right throughout the order, whereas Pakistan have probably got a stronger bowling attacking.
“We played them (Pakistan) in the recent past in South Africa and in the warm up game in London. We know them very well, and we’re looking forward to the challenge tomorrow,” said de Villiers.