Venue: Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore
Date: Thursday, February 11th 2021
- Pakistan – 0.45
- South Africa – 1.80
Pakistan will be hugely motivated by the fact that they easily whitewashed South Africa 2-0 during their Test series with comprehensive wins in Karachi and Rawalpindi over the past few weeks. In those matches, Proteas’ batsmen suffered familiar collapses with Aiden Markram and Temba Bavuma the only batters who impressed with 227 and 162 in their completed four innings. On the other hand, Pakistan seamer Hasan Ali was the most destructive as he ended the series as their best bowler with 12 scalps to be followed by spinners Nauman Ali and Yasir Shah who ended with eight wickets each. It is a new format with mostly new players and it remains to be seen if Pakistan will continue with their momentum on home conditions. Or will the Proteas finally stand their authority with both bat and ball over the three matches which starts on Thursday and return home with victory in this format.
The Pakistani T20 team is not too different to the one that won the Test series Babar Azam continuing to captain the side that also includes familiar faces like Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Rizwan and Shaheen Afridi. When they announced their squad recently, notable omissions from the squad were veterans Shadab Khan and Imad Wasim. Shadab had led the side in their T20 series against New Zealand where they lost 2-1. They included four uncapped players in the side in the form of left-arm spinner Zafar Gohar, all-rounder Danish Aziz, leg-spinner Zahid Mehmood and bowling all-rounder Amad Butt while Hasan Ali, Asif Ali and Aamer Yamin were recalled.
For the Proteas, they will be led by Titans wicketkeeper/batsman Heinrich Klaasen as they did not want to change their original plans of the Test squad returning home in order to undergo a Covid-19 quarantine period to prepare for the home series against Australia which has since been postponed. The 18-man T20 squad includes all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius, left-arm spin bowlers Tabraiz Shamsi and George Linde as well as fast bowler Lutho Sipamla who were part of the Test series. Batsmen Ryan Rickleton and Jacques Snyman and fast bowlers Okhule Cele and Nandre Burger have been called up to a national squad for the first time. Fast bowler Glenton Stuurman, who missed a recent Test series against Sri Lanka because of injury, has another opportunity to earn his first international cap.
How the conditions are going to play out in Lahore is not known at this stage but the hosts remains firm favourites to win this T20 series because they are familiar with the conditions and they are on a high after winning the Test series. Skipper Azam and his top order of Mohammad Rizwan, Asif Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Haider Ali and Aamer Yamin are going to be key to get the much-needed runs. With ball in hand, Shaheen Afridi, Usman Qadir, Zafar Gohar, Zahid Mahmood and Mohammad Hasnain will be tasked with troubling the South African batsmen.
For South African, Heinrich Klaasen, Reeza Hendricks, Janneman Malan, David Miller, Jon-Jon Smuts, Andile Phehlukwayo and Ryan Rickleton will be tasked with getting runs. Junior Dala, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lutho Sipamla and George Linde will be tasked with getting the wickets.