South Africa Down But Not Out of World Cup

South Africa can take inspiration from Sri Lanka’s upset win over hosts England and string together victories to keep their slim World Cup hopes alive, batsman Aiden Markram said on the eve of Sunday’s clash with Pakistan.

South Africa’s Aiden Markram looks dejected as he walks off after losing his wicket Reuters/Andrew Boyers

Sri Lanka’s 20-run victory over the favourites opened up the battle for the semi-final places, giving themselves as well as Pakistan and Bangladesh a chance.

South Africa have lost four of their six matches, including their last one against New Zealand and also still have to face Sri Lanka and holders Australia.

“Naturally after the (New Zealand) game, it was a tough one to swallow because it was important for us… and it was really close,” Markram told reporters at Lord’s on Saturday.

“It’s nice to see a team like Sri Lanka with great players, and… struggling for form, have been able to overcome one of the favourites. It’s inspirational and we can take a bit of learning from that.

“It’s really important that we win the remaining three of our games, and if there’s outside chance of qualifying, that would be incredible… we never feel down and out.”

Pakistan too have struggled with one victory in five games and lost tamely to fierce rivals India last time out.

Mohammad Amir has been one of few players in the team to enjoy success in the tournament, claiming 13 wickets in four matches, and Markram said the Proteas were wary of Pakistan’s attack.

“Pakistan have got a really good bowling unit. Amir is back and in form and… their bowling line-up is one we definitely can’t take lightly,” he added.

“By no means are we just going to lay down and roll over. We are going to compete as hard as we can for the next three games with the focus on winning all three of them and seeing how far it can take us.”

(Reporting by Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)

WATCH THE CRICKET LIVE: If you’re in South Africa – all South African DStv subscribers can enjoy the cricket here. In addition, all games will be broadcast on SuperSport 2 (202) and SuperSport 6 (206), including 24-hour coverage for the duration of the tournament.