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Pakistan upbeat for decisive dominance against Proteas in T20I series today

Pakistan upbeat for decisive dominance against Proteas in T20I series today
February 13, 2021

LAHORE – Pakistan are upbeat for a decisive dominance against South Africa in the T20I series at Gaddafi Stadium on Saturday.

For Pakistan, all eyes will be on Mohammad Rizwan. He slammed a brilliant 104* in the opener, a knock that defined Pakistan's innings and ultimately proved the difference between the sides.

The rest of their batting line-up crumbled, though. They enjoyed more success with the ball – spinners Usman Qadir and Mohammad Nawaz conceded just 42 runs between them for two wickets. Their pace bowlers were expensive, and the hosts could consider giving a game to Hasan Ali to aid their pursuit of an unassailable lead.

South Africa, ruing the narrow three-run loss in the opening T20I against Pakistan, will be desperate to make amends when they clash again.

Despite being a new-look side led by Henrich Klassen, the Proteas have the potential of taking on a team of Pakistan's calibre. They showed exactly that when putting up a gutsy fightback in the first match and almost secured a victory.

That said, they are not without their troubles. While their batting looks settled at the top with openers Janneman Malan (44) and Reeza Hendricks (54) firing in the first T20I, their middle order failed to capitalise on the solid foundation and perished one after the other. Their bowling looks stable with Tabraiz Shamsi returning 1/20, his tight lines strangling Pakistan's momentum in the middle overs.

The visitors might look to bring in JJ Smuts for the next encounter in place of Jacques Snyman, who did not impress with the bat or the ball.

Remember the last time

Requiring 19 in the final over, South Africa fell just one hit short to hand Pakistan a thrilling win in the first T20I. They started well, dismissing Babar Azam for a duck on the second ball of the match but then allowed Rizwan to stabilise, and the wicketkeeper-batsman ended up hitting his maiden T20I hundred in the match, taking Pakistan to a competitive 169/6.

In response, South Africa began their chase with confidence, the openers putting on a half-century stand. After Malan was out, Hendricks paired with the middle order to keep the Proteas in the hunt. But Haris Rauf turned the match in his team's favour when he dismissed Hendricks and Andile Phehlukwayo within a space of three balls, and turned the pressure back on the visitors.

What they said

Babar Azam, Pakistan captain: "The boys put in a great effort. We gave some runs in the PowerPlay but the spinners brought us back in the game. We feel confident. We are improving on our fielding as well."

Heinrich Klassen, South Africa captain: "I'm a little bit disappointed about the result. I think the lack of batting intensity for four overs there in the middle cost us a little bit. Hopefully we can get things right in the second game. Hopefully, we can take good memories back home." –ICC