Pakistan vs South Africa 3rd T20I Preview: Chance for inexperienced Proteas to do the improbable
With the series poised at 1-1, South Africa have a good chance of lifting the trophy on Sunday if they play their cards right.
LIVE - Pakistan vs South Africa 2021 - 3rd T20I
South Africa showing bench strength
The Proteas, after suffering a narrow defeat in the first T20I, came back strongly in the second match to win by 6 wickets and now have an equal chance of beating Pakistan in a T20I series in their own conditions, which will be a big confidence booster for the team going forward.
It will also prove their bench strength in the lead-up to the T20 World Cup which is set to be played towards the end of this year.
Pakistan lose way in the middle
Like in the series opener, Pakistan did not have a great start in the 2nd T20I and lost captain and opener Babar Azam early. This time, he was dismissed on the 8th ball of the match. Haider Ali then tried to accelerate with a couple of scintillating boundaries but was caught in the deep. Hussain Talat tried an expansive reverse sweep and was caught in the 30-yard circle.
This left middle order batsmen Iftikhar Ahmed and Khushdil Shah, both capable of using the long handle well, to rebuild. However, the rebuilding perhaps went for too long as Pakistan lost their way in the middle overs.
Apart from Faheem Ashraf, the Pakistan batsmen were not able to amp up the scoring in the slog overs. Ashraf was brilliant for the side and struck an unbeaten 30 off just 12 deliveries, striking 2 fours and 2 sixes while scoring his runs at a strike rate of 250. Had it not been for the heroics of the all-rounder, Pakistan would not even have managed 140.
The Pretorius show
Dwaine Pretorius had a field day. The all-rounder, who bowled just 2 overs in the first T20I, was right on point. With some help on offer, he picked up five wickets in 4 overs while conceding just 17 runs at an economy rate of 4.20.
JJ Smuts, who was brought into the side, also did a fine job of conceding just 20 runs from his 4 overs. It is strange that the all-rounder gets left out of the playing XI that often. Tabraiz Shamsi, like in the last match, was brilliant with figures of 4-0-16-1.
Hendricks, van Biljon ace the chase
South Africa did not get off to a great start with Janneman Malan and JJ Smuts getting dismissed within the first three overs. Both the dismissals were caused by Shaheen Shah Afridi who found some purchase in Lahore.
However, Reeza Hendricks and the incoming Pite van Biljon then built a solid 50+ partnership which set South Africa on course for a breezy win. David Miller showed glimpses of his classic self with an unbeaten 25 off 19 deliveries which included a typical six towards the sight screen.
Skipper Heinrich Klaasen also played a quick hand of 17 off 9 balls as South Africa emphatically chased down the target in the 17th over to win by 6 wickets.
Usman Qadir threat neutralised?
The match was always going to be decided by how the South African batsmen fared against the Pakistan spinners. While Mohammad Nawaz did his job with figures of 4-0-27-1, Usman Qadir, who was Pakistan's trump card in the last match, had an off-day.
Qadir conceded 43 runs from his 4 overs and picked up just one wicket, while going at an economy rate of over 10, which could not provide Pakistan any control in the middle overs.
Asif and Hasan to play?
Haris Rauf was very expensive and gave away 26 runs from his two overs on the back of another ordinary performance in the first T20I. The team is likely to bring in Hasan Ali in place of Rauf for the decider.
With Iftikhar Ahmed not doing well in the first two matches and his place already under scrutiny at the beginning of the series, Pakistan are likely to try out Asif Ali who is in a similar mould and has had great performances in domestic cricket of late.
Here's the probable playing XI of both teams:
Pakistan - Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Babar Azam (c), Haider Ali, Hussain Talat, Asif Ali, Khushdil Shah, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Nawaz, Usman Qadir, Shaheen Afridi, Hasan Ali
South Africa - Janneman Malan, Reeza Hendricks, JJ Smuts, David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen (c & wk), Pite van Biljon, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Glenton Stuurman, Lutho Sipamla, Tabraiz Shamsi
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