ICC Champions Trophy favourites, South Africa, recovered from a shock opening-day defeat to India with a convincing 67-run victory over Pakistan at Edgbaston on Monday.
The result means the Proteas need a win against West Indies on Friday to secure safe passage to the Champions Trophy semi-finals, a feat that some cricket betting news outlets expected them to achieve before the tournament started.
In fact, South Africa could go all the way this summer after proving their mettle against Pakistan. Hashim Amla’s magnificent 81 got them on their way, the opener’s tally the backbone of South Africa’s innings which ended 234-9 from 50 overs.
Although no other player made a half century, the fact four went over 20 and both Alviro Petersen and David Miller held up the bottom order means South Africa do have strength through their side.
A dogged bowling display also earned the Proteas their comfortable victory on Monday and if Ryan McLaren can repeat his four-wicket performance against Chris Gayle and co. the Proteas should keep West Indies down to a 180 total in Cardiff.
Seamer Lonwabo Tsotsobe proved confident on the Edgbaston surface, taking crucial wickets Nasir Jamshed (42) and captain Misbah-ul-Haq (55), while Chris Morris put in a sterling debut performance with two early takes.
If South Africa keep up their bowling pressure they should have no problem reaching the semis, where a clash with one of the favourites in the cricket betting odds, England, is most likely. McLaren will fancy his chances against the stuttering Alastair Cook while Amla has faced James Anderson enough times to know when to play and when to defend his crease.
If South Africa edge past England they are a good bet to win this ICC Champions Trophy, although an in-form New Zealand side may have something to say to that.