Day 10 Talking Points: West Indies in trouble, Pakistan make it two in two
SOUTH AFRICA v WEST INDIES
The tale of two openers
Evin Lewis and Lendl Simmons had two extremely contrasting outings against South Africa - while the former was smacking boundaries at will, his partner failed to hit the ropes even once during his 35-ball stay.
After going at two an over for the first three overs, Lewis clubbed Rabada for a four and six and in the next, smashed Markram for two sixes and a four to get the Windies innings going. He landed a few more hefty blows to reach his fifty off just 32 balls.
By the time he got out, Lewis had scored 56 out of West Indies' 73.
At the other end, Simmons was struggling and it continued until the 14th over before Rabada put him out of his misery. During his stay, Simmons scored 16 from 35 balls, finishing with the third-lowest strike rate (minimum 30 balls) for a batter in Men's T20 World Cup history.
Markram's blistering form continues
Aiden Markram carried on from where he left off in the previous game against Australia, where he was the lone warrior in South Africa's batting innings.
Walking in to bat when South Africa needed 83 from 64, Markram struck two sixes off both Hayden Walsh and Kieron Pollard to bring the required rate down to below 7.
He was well supported by Rassie van der Dussen at the other end and once the equation came down to less than run-a-ball, Markram hit Russell for two fours and six to bring up a well-deserved half-century.
With the top-order misfiring, Markram will be extremely pivotal to the Proteas chances of making the semi-finals.
West Indies sink further
West Indies were looking to bounce back after a horrendous start to their World Cup campaign against England, where they were bowled out for 55 batting first. However, their hopes of defending the title sunk further after their loss to South Africa.
While they put up a better performance compared to their last game, there are still several causes of concern for Kieron Pollard's men.
For a side that's revered for their middle-order hitting, West Indies failed to capitalize on Evin Lewis' stunning fifty. The bowling, too, was lacklustre as they could not apply pressure on the Proteas after the early wicket and let the batter settle quite easily.
Currently sitting at the bottom of Group 1 with a net run rate of -2.550, Windies are yet to face Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Australia. They will need to turn it around quickly, starting with the game against Bangladesh on Friday, 29 October.
PAKISTAN V NEW ZEALAND
Haris Rauf too hot to handle
For the second game in a row, Haris Rauf was a menace with the ball in hand, troubling the batters with genuine pace and the occasional variations.
Coming in at second change, Rauf made an immediate impact, snaring the wicket of the dangerous Martin Guptill in the last over of the Powerplay.
After bowling an over in the middle, he was then held back until the death overs. Bowling the 18th, he struck twice in three balls to scalp the wicket of the two well-set batters, Devon Conway and Glenn Phillips. He accounted for one more Kiwi wicket in the final over of the innings, finishing with his best figures (4/22) in T20 international.
After Shaheen Afridi grabbed all the headlines against India, Rauf has sent a timely reminder to the rest of the teams in Group 2 just how good the Pakistan pace attack is.
Ali, Malik take Pakistan through
There would have been some jitters in the Pakistan camp when Imad Wasim walked back to the pavilion, with them still needing over nine runs an over.
Thankfully for Pakistan, Asif Ali and Shoaib Malik held their nerve at the end to take Pakistan through with more than an over remaining.
Ali smashed Southee for two sixes in an over to bring the asking rate down before Malik took on Santner, hitting a six and a four off his last over to take Pakistan to within inches of victory with more than two overs to spare.
Yet another statement victory for Pakistan
It was yet another clinical all-round performance from Pakistan as they go back on top of Group 2 with four points to their name.
Pakistan seem to be covered in all three facets of the game - the fielders once against complemented their brilliant bowling before the batters finished off a tricky chase quite convincingly.
Among several positives, Pakistan will be pleased with how the middle-order stood up on a rare day when the openers didn't quite click.
With two wins out of two, Pakistan have quickly become one of the favourites to lift the title.