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South Africa vs Pakistan 1st T20I Preview: Pakistan look to make the most of momentum and hamstrung Proteas

South Africa vs Pakistan
South Africa vs Pakistan

South Africa will take the field with practically their second XI after five of their players have departed for the IPL and several others are injured or unavailable.

LIVE - South Africa vs Pakistan 2021 - 1st T20I

Head to head

After an action-packed ODI series which Pakistan won 2-1, the visitors will like to make it two in two. The record in the shortest format of international cricket is quite even stevens as far as the head to head between the two teams is concerned. Pakistan have won 8 matches while South Africa have won 9.

In the T20Is played in South Africa, Pakistan have won 3 while South Africa have won 4. The last time the two teams faced each other in the format was just a couple of months ago when Pakistan beat South Africa 2-1 at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.

Top performers in Pakistan T20Is

Mohd Rizwan was the top scorer for Pakistan in the series while David Miller made the most runs for South Africa. As is the case in most departments, Miller won't be available in the T20I series.

In terms of bowling, Tabraiz Shamsi picked up 6 wickets from 3 matches. Pretorius also took 3 but the medium pacer has been ruled out of the series due to a rib injury. Usman Qadir and Mohammad Nawaz were the top wicket takers for Pakistan with 4 and 3 wickets respectively.

South Africa's long list of absentees

After Quinton de Kock, David Miller, Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi flew to India to participate in the IPL, South Africa have been hit by multiple injuries.

Temba Bavuma injured his hamstring in the third ODI against Pakistan. Wicketkeeper Heinrich Klaasen will now lead South Africa as he did on the team's recent tour of Pakistan. Reeza Hendricks has also pulled out of the series following the birth of his first child.

Pretorius has not yet recovered from his rib injury and remains unavailable. Rassie van der Dussen is part of the squad after having suffered quadriceps strain in the ODIs but is unlikely to play.

With so many absentees, South Africa have had to draught in a number of replacements. Aiden Markram, who was part of the ODIs, has been added to the T20 squad as well. Same is the case with Wiaan Mulder, Andile Phehlukwayo and Daryn Dupavillon.

How is SA XI shaping up

In the absence of all three of Quinton de Kock, Temba Bavuma and Reeza Hendricks, South Africa are likely to open with Janneman Malan and Aiden Markram, with Kyle Verreynne at number 3. Pite van Biljon, skipper Heinrich Klaasen and Wiaan Mulder will form SA's middle order.

South Africa has been hit hard on the bowling front. All of their leading pacers Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi are not available for selection. This leaves the team with no choice but to pick Andile Phehlukwayo, Daryn Dupavillon, Beuran Hendricks, Tabraiz Shamsi and one of Bjorn Fortuin or George Linde as their bowlers.

Fakhar likely to open with Rizwan, Babar at 3

Sharjeel Khan would have been hopeful of his T20I return but with Fakhar Zaman coming back to form, that appears to be unlikely at the moment. Not only Sharjeel, it looks like Haider Ali may have to miss out as well.

Mohammad Rizwan will open the batting for Pakistan after cracking a century in the first T20I against South Africa in Lahore. With Rizwan and Zaman at the top, Babar Azam will come in at number 3. Mohd Hafeez has been in red hot form of late and will bat at number 4.

Asif Ali is likely to get the nod over Haider Ali due to his explosive ability in the middle order, with Faheem Ashraf and Mohammed Nawaz being the bowling all rounders. Pakistan's pace bowling attack will comprise Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf.

Usman Qadir has been quite impressive of late for Pakistan in T20Is and will be the team's leading spinner in the absence of the injured Shadab Khan. 

Here's the probable playing XI of both teams:

Pakistan - Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Hafeez, Asif Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Nawaz, Hasan Ali, Usman Qadir, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf

South Africa - Janneman Malan, Aiden Markram, Kyle Verreynne, Pite van Biljon, Heinrich Klaasen (c & wk), Wiaan Mulder, Andile Phehlukwayo, Bjorn Fortuin/George Linde, Daryn Dupavillon, Beuran Hendricks, Tabraiz Shamsi 

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