Pakistan will face South Africa in the opening T20I at Johannesburg. The visitors claimed a 2-1 victory in the ODI series and they had also won the T20I series against Proteas at home this year.
Match Timings: April 10, 6 PM IST
After a competitive high-scoring ODI series, both Pakistan and South Africa are ready for the T20I series. These two sides locked horns in the ODI series as well and Pakistan had the final laugh with 2-1 success. Pakistan also won the T20I series at home against the same opponent and they would look to extend this run in away assignment. Babar Azam claimed their first away series win and he would also look to deliver the same in the shorter format of cricket.
Pakistan included Fakhar Zaman in the T20I squad after his batting brilliance in the ODI series. Zaman scored two back-to-back hundreds in the ODI series and was declared Man of the Series. Shadab Khan ruled out of the entire tour. Pak also included Mohammed Hafeez who missed out the home series but played in New Zealand. Sharjeel Khan is also back in the side who had a great number in domestic. Babar and Rizwan will open for Pakistan and the duo has been terrific. Rizwan is having his form of life and he has averaged 65 with a strike rate of 140.69 in his last four T20I innings. Hafeez will replace Asif Ali in middle-order and Fakhar will not be picked. Sarfaraz might get the game to replace Talat who is dropped from the series.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s form in the T20 format is a big concern. They were whitewashed by England in the last T20 home assignment and even lost to Pakistan in January. They defeated Australia in ODIs but lost in T20s last year. Proteas recently lost to Pakistan 2-1 but they should be happy with team performance. South Africa will miss their key players due to Indian T20 League 2021. De Kock, Rabada, Ngidi, Miller, and Plessis will not take part in the series. They will even also miss their skipper Bavuma due to hamstring injury and Klaasen will lead the side. Dwaine Pretorius has not been medically cleared to take part and Rassie van der Dussen is suffering from a quad injury. Reeza Hendricks has also withdrawn his name following the birth of his first child. Too many injuries and absense of key players from the squad put Pakistan on top and they are likely to win the T20I series.
Johannesburg’s track is a fine batting track. Pacers can take extra help from the pitch. We may expect a score of 170-180 in the first innings. Chasing side will have an advantage.
Janneman Malan, Aiden Markram, Pite van Biljon, Beuran Hendricks,Heinrich Klaasen (c & wk), Andile Phehlukwayo, George Linde, Bjorn Fortuin, Lutho Sipamla, Tabraiz Shamsi, Kyle Verreynne
Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Babar Azam (c), Haider Ali, Mohammed Hafeez, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Nawaz, Hasan Ali, Usman Qadir, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf
Since Covid-19 – 262 runs from 6 matches
Since Covid-19 – 325 runs from 9 matches
Last series vs Pak: 6 wickets at an average of 10.16
144 runs in last 7 innings