South Africa vs Pakistan, 1st T20I, Preview – A massive trail awaits for the Proteas as they take on the No.1 T20I team
It is the home team up against the No.1 T20I side.
Updated - Jan 31, 2019 9:25 pm
South Africa might have gunned down Pakistan in the Tests. They might have emerged superior in the ODI format. But, dare you say that the Proteas will continue the domination in T20Is as well. Pakistan is an indomitable force in T20 cricket and they are tough to beat. There is quality throughout that lineup and they have been impeccably consistent in recent times.
The No.1 T20I team has played a total of 19 T20Is since the start of 2018. In a format where consistency is tough to maintain and even the smallest of errors end you up on the wrong side of the result, they have redefined how T20 cricket is played. They won 17 games during this period and lost just two matches. The ‘Men in Green’ dominated irrespective of the conditions where they play.
The Saffers, though, stand at the fifth place in the rankings and haven’t been as consistent. The team only played 7 games in the shortest format in the same period defined above. They won three and lost four. Getting into the T20 mode and delivering the goods straight away won’t be an easy task for them.
The inaugural edition of the Mzansi Super League (MSL) has helped South Africa unearth a lot of talent. It clearly reflects in the squad that they’ve picked for the first T20I series right after this tournament. Reeza Hendricks, who scored two centuries in MSL, will open the innings with Quinton de Kock. Rassie van der Dussen is a very exciting prospect in T20 cricket. He has proven his capabilities in the ODI series and will bat at three.
Faf du Plessis, David Miller, Chris Morris and Andile Phehlukwayo will continue to feature in the eleven. In the absence of the senior pacers, Beauran Hendriks and Junior Dala will get a go along with spinner Tabraiz Shamsi. Lutho Sipamla, who was terrific in the MSL, could make his international debut. The 20-year-old was rated very highly by AB de Villiers.
Predicted XI: Quinton de Kock (wk), Reeza Hendricks, Rassie van der Dussen, Faf du Plessis (c), David Miller, Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, Beauran Hendricks, Junior Dala, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lutho Sipamla.
Also read- South Africa vs Pakistan, 1st T20I, Match Prediction – Weather Report, Pitch Conditions, Playing XIs and Live Streaming Details
There is some thinking to do for Pakistan as well. But, the problem here is an abundance of options. Fakhar Zaman will open along with Babar Azam. Hafeez will be followed by the newly-appointed skipper Shoaib Malik. Asif Ali and Imad Wasim add the firepower to the lineup while Mohammad Rizwan will don the gloves in the absence of Sarfaraz Ahmed. Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf are most likely to be in the eleven along with Shaheen Afridi.
There is some competition for the last spot in the side. Mohammad Amir hasn’t done enough to be picked in the eleven straight away. Depending on the fitness condition of Usman Khan, either he or Hasan Ali might get picked.
Predicted XI: Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik (c), Asif Ali, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Shaheen Afridi, Usman Khan/Hasan Ali.
Focus will be on
Quinton de Kock (South Africa)
The South African wicket-keeper was the most impactful player in the recently concluded MSL. While the other leading run-scorers played between 10 to 12 games, de Kock only played eight. Yet, he finished as the second highest run-getter with 412 runs at an average of 58.85 and a strike rate of 170. He smashed one century and three half-centuries in the league and should be the player to watch out for in the Proteas camp.
Babar Azam (Pakistan)
Babar Azam’s contribution is Pakistan’s success in the T20 format is immense. The No.1 T20I batsman is sure to provide the team with good starts more often than not. He scored 1,031 runs in 26 games at an average of 54.26 thus far in his career. Having understood the South African conditions completely by now, he will have a huge role to play in the T20I series.
Head to Head
Matches – 11 | South Africa won – 6 | Pakistan won – 5 | Tied/NR – 0
92 – The runs that Mohammad Hafeez needs to score to complete 2,000 T20I runs.
TV – Sony ESPN and Sony ESPN HD
Live Streaming – Sony LIV
Match Timings – 21:30 IST; 18:00 local