Updated: March 5, 2015 5:16:49 pm
Pakistan have brought their World Cup campaign back on track with a narrow win over Zimbabwe and a thumping win over UAE. But up next for Pakistan is a side that they have never beaten in World Cups. No, not India, but South Africa. Both Pakistan and South Africa have played each other thrice in World Cups, with Proteas winning in all three contests. (Full Coverage| Venues | Fixtures)
Interestingly, Pakistan and South Africa played each other in the 1992, 1996 and 1999 World Cups, but since then their paths have never crossed in World Cups. So the Saturday clash at the Eden Park, Auckland will be the first World Cup match between Pakistan and South Africa after three editions. While all the focus in the lead-up to the World Cup was on Pakistan’s losing streak against India, no attention was paid towards their winless record against South Africa.
Such was the dominance of South Africa over Pakistan in the 1990s that the Proteas won 14 consecutive matches for five years, from 1995-2000. South Africa proved to be tough ask for Pakistan at home, away and at neutral venues like Sharjah. The winning streak for South Africa started in January 1995 and finally ended in Sharjah in March 2000.
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Pakistan and South Africa played the first-ever ODI against each other in the 1992 World Cup. South Africa posted 211 for seven in their 50 overs in the match, thanks to opener Andrew Hudson’s knock of 54. Hansie Cronje with 47 and Mark Rushmere with 35 were the other contributors. In reply, Pakistan were hampered by rain reducing the target to 194 from 36 overs. Pakistan seemed to be on track through Inzamam-ul-Haq and Imran Khan but it was then that Inzamam was famously run-out by Jonty Rhodes and South Africa ran home winners by 20 runs.
The second World Cup encounter between the two teams was in 1996 where South Africa beat Pakistan by five wickets in Karachi. Batting first, Pakistan posted 242 for six, thanks to Aamer Sohail’s 111. In response, South Africa chased down the target in 44.2 overs thanks to Daryl Cullinan’s 65 alongside useful knocks from Hudson, Gary Kirsten and skipper Hansie Cronje.
In 1999 at Nottingham, Pakistan were blown away by the Lance Klusener force. Pakistan posted 220 for seven in their 50 overs thanks to Moin Khan’s 63. South Africa collapsed to 58 for five, but then their all-rounders got into the act. Jacques Kallis (54) and Shaun Pollock (30) built the innings brick by brick. Then it was upto Klusener who smashed the Pakistan bowling. He showed particular liking for thunderbolts from Shoaib Akhtar. South Africa won by three wickets and maintained their unbeaten run against Pakistan.
But what should give Pakistan some hope is their and South Africa’s World Cup record at the venue, Eden Park. While Pakistan beat New Zealand at the venue in the semi-final of the 1992 World Cup by four wickets, South Africa lost to the host in a league match at the same venue by seven wickets. Overall, Pakistan has won four and lost four matches at Eden Park, with one match being tied and one encounter having no result. On the other hand, South Africa has played six matches at Eden Park, winning three and losing three.
Both Pakistan and South Africa will have plenty to play for at the Eden Park on Saturday.
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