AUCKLAND: Wicket-keeper batsman Sarfaraz Ahmed is expected to make his World Cup debut when Pakistan face South Africa on Saturday.
Pressure had been building to include Sarafaz in the playing 11 after the poor performance of Nasir Jamshed as an opener. Sarafaz will also be behind the stumps for Pakistan and will replace Umar Akmal.
Sarfaraz has been given preference over Younis Khan as the former captain did not perform in Pakistan’s opening matches against India and West Indies.
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq insists his bowlers can slam the brakes on South Africa´s batting superstars in Saturday´s World Cup clash in Auckland with AB de Villiers their prime target.
South Africa have blasted totals of 400-plus in their last two Pool B matches with De Villiers notching one-day international cricket´s fastest 150 during his 66-ball 162 against the West Indies.
If his brash approach was not enough, Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis notched magnificent hundreds against Ireland while Rilee Rossouw provided impetus in the final overs. David Miller and Jean-Paul Duminy also hit hundreds in the win over Zimbabwe.
“I think our bowling is doing really well and we are confident that we have got the bowlers who can get wickets against any team,” Misbah said on Friday.
“We played South Africa in 2013 and 2014 and we know how these batsmen play and we are confident that we have the bowling to put them under pressure.”
Pakistan defeated the Proteas 2-1 in South Africa in November 2013, but only leg-spinner Shahid Afridi from that attack is at the World Cup.
Off-spinner Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Hafeez were suspended due to illegal bowling actions before the tournament. Ajmal was cleared last month but was not named in the squad while Hafeez injured his ankle.
Also missing from that 2013 team is left-arm seamer Junaid Khan who had to withdraw with a leg injury.
Misbah admitted South Africa captain de Villiers is hard to stop and that they need to dismiss him early.
“AB is the best batsman in the world in limited overs cricket,” said Misbah of his counterpart.
“Obviously we have good bowlers who can put him under pressure but the only way to stop him is to get his wicket. If he stays there, it’s not easy to stop him.”