Cruel fate awaits Proteas and Pakistan at Lord's

South Africa's captain Faf du Plessis during the Cricket World Cup match against New Zealand at Edgbaston, Birmingham, on June 19 2019.
South Africa's captain Faf du Plessis during the Cricket World Cup match against New Zealand at Edgbaston, Birmingham, on June 19 2019.
Image: Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers

South Africa and Pakistan are in all likelihood on their way out of the World Cup.

But first they have to something that will strike many as cruel‚ play against each other.

And they have to do so at one of the most iconic grounds in all the game.

That’s what Sunday’s games between the teams at Lord’s is all about.

Both sides labour under the embarrassment of having won only once at the tournament with South Africa having lost four times and Pakistan‚ who have played one fewer match‚ thrice.

There remains a smidgen of a chance that both could end up in the semi-finals‚ but it really is a smidgen.

So‚ why bother with Sunday’s game?

“There are guys playing their last World Cups and I’d like to think that they will leave the world stage having signed off on a strong note‚” Proteas coach Ottis Gibson said after Wednesday’s match.

“And there are some youngsters here that I’m sure will play in future World Cups. So they too would like to leave a statement. That’s the way we’ve got to look at it.”

And the players on their way out owe those who will still be around to pick up the pieces, something decent to remember them by.

“When you look across World Cups in the past‚ the experienced players are the ones who have stood up in the teams who have won. Our experienced players haven’t stood up in this World Cup yet‚ but that’s just the way it is.”

Their opportunities to remedy that situation are few.

After Sunday’s match‚ South Africa will head to Chester-le-Street to play Sri Lanka on Friday and then to Old Trafford for their last league game against Australia on July 7.

But Faf du Plessis’ team have chances to make things better and‚ for the sake of their future‚ best they use them.

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