CARDIFF — South Africa face a tough task to put their Champions Trophy campaign back on track after being laid low by injuries and a demoralising defeat to India.
The Proteas hopes of winning the tournament slipped when they crashed by 26 runs against Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s world champions in a high-scoring opener in Cardiff on Thursday.
AB de Villiers men must now defeat Pakistan in Birmingham on Monday to keep their hopes alive of taking one of the two semi-final spots from group B, which also features the West Indies.
Victory will depend largely on how quickly their two strike fast bowlers, the fearsome Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, recover from injuries.
Steyn did not play against India due to a side strain suffered during a warm-up match against Pakistan earlier this week, while Morkel limped of with a leg injury while bowling his seventh over on Thursday.
Neither of the key bowlers is a certain starter against Pakistan, who already enjoy a psychological edge following their six-wicket win over the Proteas in the warm-up game.
South African manager Mohammed Moosajee said Morkel had sustained a left quadricep muscle strain and will undergo an MRI scan to determine how serious the injury was.
“It appears to be a grade one strain and he will be going for an MRI scan which will give us a better understanding of the diagnosis and a prognosis,” Moosajee said.
“These strains can be tricky in fast bowlers and the healing time in most cases is five to seven days, but if you come back too soon it can cause further disruption and set you back by 10-14 days.”
India took advantage of their absence to rattle up 331-7 after being sent in to bat, with left-hander Shikhar Dhawan smashing 114 off 94 balls after an opening stand of 127 with Rohit Sharma (65).