South Africa look to exploit struggles of Babar Azam and Mohammed Rizwan in must-win game

Unbeaten Proteas would end Pakistan’s chances of making T20 World Cup semi-finals with victory in Sydney

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David Miller says South Africa will aim to expose the frail confidence of Pakistan’s top order when they meet in a crucial T20 World Cup game in Sydney on Thursday.

Pakistan must win each of their remaining matches if they are to stand a chance of progressing to the semi-finals. Even then, they need results elsewhere to go in their favour.

Their next opponents are unbeaten in the competition so far, and they have arrived in Sydney on the back of a fine win over India in Perth last time out.

Miller, who played a decisive innings in that run chase against India, said Pakistan have “some serious match-winners” and “will be charging” given the stakes.

Pakistan’s prospects in the competition have been undermined by the fact their usually reliable top order has misfired.

Babar Azam has made scores of 4, 4 and 0, while his opening partner Mohammed Rizwan is averaging 22.33 at a strike-rate of a run-a-ball so far.

“I think it is an area to exploit,” Miller said. “This game is all about confidence. They haven't performed the way they've wanted to, but they're world-class players, and we're expecting them to come out and bring their A-game and be up for the challenge.

“By all means we are not just going in there and expecting to get them out first ball or early up. We've got to work really hard for every wicket.

“Hopefully we can get them early and put the Pakistan middle order under pressure a little bit earlier rather than later.”

David Miller is expecting South Africa to face a stern challenge against Pakistan. Getty

Pakistan have just one win so far, having suffered consecutive last-ball defeats, against India and Zimbabwe, at the start of the competition.

Naseem Shah, their fast bowler, denied the idea that they had failed to recover from the emotional opening night loss to their neighbours, in front of 90,000 people in Melbourne.

“Everyone is professional and everyone knows about oneself,” Naseem said.

“We lost against India, but I don't think anyone is thinking about the India game. As a professional you can't think about the past when you lose. After the India match, everyone was positive.”

Updated: November 02, 2022, 5:44 AM