Pakistan are all set to tour South Africa for a white-ball series comprising of 3 ODIs followed by 4 T20Is startionrom April 2. The series will be played across two venues – SuperSport Park, Centurion, and The Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. The hosts have named some fresh faces in their squad while the visitors have added the experienced duo of Mohammad Hafeez and Shadab Khan. While Shadab Khan missed out on the home series against South Africa earlier in February due to a thigh injury; Hafeez could not play since he was a part of the Abu Dhabi T10 League.
The 4-match T20I series between Pakistan and South Africa will act as a dress rehearsal for the ICC T20 World Cup scheduled to be held in India later this year. Both teams will look to test a few players before zeroing down on their best combination. Given the importance of all-rounders in any T20 set-up, the series will be a perfect opportunity for some of the all-rounders to prove their versatility and book their tickets for the multi-national event.
In this article, we look at three key all-rounders who can make a big difference in the upcoming T20I series.
3. Dwaine Pretorius - South Africa
The South African all-rounder’s confidence will be sky high after a good show on the recent tour of Pakistan a couple of months ago. Pretorius picked 6 wickets from 3 T20Is and was the joint highest wicket-taker in the series. Over six feet tall, the right-armer will relish bowling on bouncy South African wickets and will look to trouble the Pakistan batters. The 32-year-old is also a clever exponent of slower balls and is known to vary his pace and deceive the batsmen with his guile. Pretorius also possesses a reputation for using the long handle and has a whooping career strike-rate of over 165 in T20Is.
2. Faheem Ashraf - Pakistan
Faheem Ashraf has been the perfect link to Pakistan's batting and bowling unit over the last few months. Faheem's ability to score at a brisk rate, coming down the order while also chipping in with his medium-paced bowling has enabled Pakistan to use him as an all-round option at number 7. The southpaw recently slammed a breathtaking cameo of 30 off just 12 balls in 2nd T20I against South Africa at home, with his side tattering at 97-5 at the 16th over mark. The 27-year-old has also been equally noteworthy with his bowling and was the most economical bowler in Pakistan’s latest tour of New Zealand, where he picked 3/20 in the final T20I helping his side clinch victory. Faheem Ashraf will hope to put on an impressive show in the forthcoming series in the Rainbow Nation.
1. Mohammad Hafeez - Pakistan
The 40-year-old veteran is back in the T20I set-up for Pakistan after missing the previous home series against South Africa. Hafeez was in stellar form in the PSL this year, scoring 181 runs from just four matches before the tournament was postponed. The right-hander was the top run-getter for Pakistan in the series against New Zealand with 140 runs across three games at an impressive strike-rate of 160. Hafeez is also an asset with his handy off-spin and has a career economy of under seven runs an over. Mohammad Hafeez will feature in his 100th T20I in the upcoming series and is set to become only the second player in history to play the most number of matches for Pakistan.