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|Faf du Plessis||78||45||6||4||173.33|
|Rassie van der Dussen||0||2||0||0||0.00|
Even though things went awry for Pakistan in the last match of the ODI series, they'll be looking forward to Friday evening when they clash with South Africa in the first T20I of the three-match series at Cape Town. In the last year or so, Pakistan have appeared to be an altogether different team as compared to the two longer formats of the game. South Africa, on the other hand, are still looking to get their combination right for the upcoming ICC World Cup and the T20 series may well happen to be testing grounds for them. Coming from a rather one-sided test series, the ODI series was a breeze of fresh air as the battle swung across the two teams throughout the series. If that is something to go by, the T20I series is going to be even closer.
The Proteas learned from their mistakes as the ODI series marched ahead and eventually finished on a happy note by wrapping up the series with a dominating win in the final ODI. With this series win, South Africa now have won five out the six series they've played since Otis Gibson has taken charge as their coach.
With World Cup not too far, South Africa are likely to rest few of their key players and field a relatively different team in the shortest version of the game. With Hashim Amla not in South Africa's T20 squad, Reeza Hendricks and Quinton de Kock are likely to start the proceedings with the bat for the Saffers.
Skipper Faf du Plessis is once again going to play an important role in the middle-order along with Heinrich Klaasen, Rassie van der Dussen, and David Miller. Klaasen exhibited his skills of handling spins when India toured South Africa and he will be a key man in the Proteas' plan against Shadab Khan and Imad Wasim.
The only place where South Africa lack depth is their bowling. Kagiso Rabada and Dale Steyn are rested for the T20 series and, therefore, Andile Phehlukwayo, Junior Dala, and Chris Morris will shoulder the load of the pace-bowling department. Spin bowling will be taken care of by Tabraiz Shamsi. Overall, the South African side appears to be well-rounded. However, the lack of experience in the quick-bowling department makes them a little prone to cracking under pressure.
Reeza Hendricks, Gihahn Cloete, Faf du Plessis, RVD Dussen, David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen, Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Morris, B Hendricks, Junior Dala, Tabraiz Shamsi.
There's definitely something, if not a love affair, between the shortest format of the game and Pakistan. In the recent history, Pakistan have done exceedingly well in the T20s regardless of how they've done in the series preceding or succeeding it. Such has been their dominance in this version of the game, that they've climbed to the top spot in the ICC Men's T20I Rankings.
In the year 2018, Pakistan had a staggering record. Out of the 19 matches, they played, only twice did they fail to emerge victorious. Although a couple of their series wins were against the lower ranked teams, there were some noteworthy wins including the whitewashes over the Kiwis and the Kangaroos.
Pakistan are coming into the series with a streak of nine wins behind their back. Their bowling has played an integral role in most, if not all, of those nine wins. Usman Shinwari did well for Melbourne Renegades in Big Bash League as was brilliant in South African conditions a few days ago. Against the batting lineup which is not known for its spin playing abilities, Shadab Khan and Imad Wasim will play a key role.
Overall, Pakistan haven't made many changes to their T20 lineup as compared to the one that played in the ODI series. Barring a couple of changes, we are likely to see them field a similar side and if their bowlers can do the same sort of damage they did in the T20s last year, Pakistan will be a tough side to beat.
F Zaman, Babar Azam, Hussain Talat, Mohammad Rizwan, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, SI Wasim, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Usman Khan.
ICC Cricket World Cup is just months away and teams will be looking to get as much match practice as possible before the marquee tournament. South Africa, however, have decided to rest a couple of their bowlers and understandably so, considering the workload those bowlers have had. Pakistan seem to be happy going in with the squad they fielding in the ODI series. After a terrific last year, Pakistan will be confident of getting their T20I campaign off to a flying start in 2019. South Africa are playing in familiar conditions and even though a few of their bowlers didn't play in the ODI series, they've plenty of experience of playing in Mzansi Super League, South Africa's domestic T20 competition. With a settled batting lineup and a decent-enough bowling attack experienced at playing in these conditions, the Proteas are better placed to win the upcoming game.
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