South Africa vs Pakistan 2018-19, 1st T20I: Preview and Predicted Playing XI
Head-to-Head Overall: Both nations have gone head-to-head in 11 T20I fixtures, with the Proteas heading the head-to-head scoreline at 6-5.
Head-to-Head in South Africa: In case of fixtures being hosted by the Proteas, the honours are shared at 2-2. They faced just once at the Newlands back in November 2013, with the visitors edging out the hosts by six runs to seal the game and series 2-1.
After an ordinary performance in ODI, the visitors will aim to end their poor run in the Africa tour in the preferred format. Despite losing in the longer format, Pakistan's exceptional record in T20I certainly makes them the favourites. The visitors have lost just four out of 34 T20I fixtures played after the ICC T20 World Cup 2016, and haven't faced a defeat in their last nine fixtures.
Imam-ul-Haq was Pakistan's top run scorer during the ODI series and smashed two fifties and a century in five games. Mohammad Hafeez topped the batting charts during the previous T20I series against New Zealand and both these batsmen will be expected to play an identical role in this series. Babar Azam, who scored 195 runs during the ODI series, has been their most persistent batsman in all formats, and was their second best scorer during the Kiwi clash, which is why one may not underestimate his abilities.
Except these three, the visitors will also bank on the likes of experienced Shoaib Malik and talented Fakhar Zaman to put their best efforts and guide them towards a decent score.
Shaheen Afridi snared six wickets in the ODI series and he will be eager to replicate it in the T20 series as well. Shadab Khan and Umad Wasim picked up four wickets in the previous series against Kiwis. Meanwhile, Mohammad Amir, who is set to make a comeback in T20, will also be eager to make things tough for the opponents and it'll be upto these three to rattle down the Proteas early on.
Expected Playing XI
Shoaib Malik (C), Mohammad Rizwan, Faheem Ashraf, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Shaheen Afridi, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Asif Ali and Mohammad Hafeez.
On the other side, the Proteas have been on a roller coaster ride after WT20 2016, Since then, they have witnessed 16 T20I fixtures and out of them they have won nine and lost seven. They will, however, take some confidence from the ODI series against the same opponents and will aim to stop the Pakistani juggernaut in the upcoming series.
Rassie van der Dussen had a dream debut in the ODI series and smashed three fifties to lead the Proteas' batting charts with 241 runs. Meanwhile he has been in good form in the shortest format as well and was the leading runscorer in the recently-concluded Mzansi Super League with 469 runs, and the batsman is expected to pose a major threat to the Pakistan bowlers.
Meanwhile they boast of a strong batting unit in Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla, skipper Faf du Plessis and David Miller. All of them are capable of playing big knocks and it will be essential for them to come out with their best and help the team post a challenging total against the world no. 1 T20I side.
Andile Phehlukwayo and Kagiso Rabada played a key role in South Africa's ODI win over Pakistan. They shared 13 wickets between them with Andile leading the wicket charts having picked up eight wickets in five games. Both of them will once again lead the bowling brigade and will be expected to unnerve the opponents with their pace.
Expected Playing XI
Faf du Plessis (C), David Miller, Beuran Hendricks, Quinton de Kock, Rassie van der Dussen, Reeza Hendricks, Gihahn Cloete, Andile Phehlukwayo, Junior Dala, Lutho Sipamla and Tabraiz Shamsi.