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  • Apr 24, 2014
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South Africa's cricketers seek redemption after India loss

Injury-hit Proteas must beat Pakistan to revive hopes in Champions Trophy

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 June, 2013, 6:17am

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.

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, 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, 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 an MRI scan 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 to 14 days."

India took advantage of their absence to rattle up 331 for seven 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, who took 65 runs.

India slipped from 210-1 to 260-5, but an unbeaten 47 from 29 balls by Ravindra Jadeja steered the World Cup champions past the 300-run mark.

The South Africans made a brave chase of the daunting target and replied with 305 following a defiant century stand between skipper De Villiers and pinch- hitter Robin Peterson for the third wicket.

De Villiers hit 70 off 71 balls, his sixth half-century in the last eight one-dayers and the fourth in succession. Peterson made a career-best 68.

Ryan McLaren gave India a fright towards the end with an unbeaten 71 off 61 balls, adding 48 for the last wicket with the hobbling Morkel, but the effort was not enough to snatch a dramatic win.

"I think we were at least 25 runs short after losing so many wickets later in the innings," said Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. "But the boys fielded with plenty of aggression."

De Villiers said his team made crucial errors, including the run-outs of Peterson and David Miller, but hoped his team will bounce back despite the depleted attack.

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