Pakistan vs South Africa – ICC World T20 – Match Preview
The two inform teams of the tournament, Pakistan and South Africa meet in their opening Super Eight fixture in a bid to draw first blood in the ongoing ICC World T20; with the match scheduled to be played at the R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo, today, September 28, 2012.
After a lifeless group stage, the tournament sprung into action last night following some entertaining round of matches involving Sri Lanka- New Zealand and England-West Indies. More is expected in days to come and the today’s fixtures also provide plenty of excitement with all four unbeaten teams’ ready to battle each other in the group of death.
An early victory for any side will surely ease out their passage to the semi-finals but to term any side as favourite remains a tough-call, owing to the wealth of talent on display from either rank.
Pakistan go into the tie on the back of two well-fought wins against New Zealand and Bangladesh, while the Proteas thumped Zimbabwe in their opening game before winning a considerably shortened game against the hosts.
On the balance of it, there is little to choose between the two sides. The Men in Green, who are known for their unpredictability have had a consistent run, where their usually under fire batters have displayed ruthlessness. The Proteas have a balanced side, and contain players for all seasons, ranging from the explosive Richard Levi to the conventional styled Hashim Amla, along with the brutal, yet level-headed approach of AB de Villiers.
Their respective bowling departments further stand out – the Men in Green will again rely on their trio of spinners to inflict bulk of the damage, despite Mohammad Hafeez banking on his seamers to come good. The Proteas will be spearheaded by Dale Steyn, who then has able backups in the Morkel brothers, along with spin duo of Johan Botha and Robin Peterson.
The lineups for both sides therefore, need little tinkering. Pakistan played the same combination in both their wins, but will be concerned with the performances of their fast bowlers. That could lead to the inclusion of either Abdul Razzaq or Mohammad Sami, with Sohail Tanvir’s place most likely under threat.
The Proteas omitted Peterson from the seven-over shoot-out and included an additional batter in the shape of Faf du Plessis. However, they are expected to play two spinners, which will provide their bowling a fair balance (depending that the upcoming match is also not a reduced one).
Interestingly, both sides have not met each other in almost two years, which suggests for an intriguing battle between bat and ball. In 5 T20I meetings, South Africa is leading on head-to-head by 3-2.
The pitch at Colombo will hold the sub-continent’s tradition of aiding spinners, and will make stroke play difficult. A chance of rain could lead to another reduced affair.
Pakistan (probable) : 1 Mohammad Hafeez (capt), 2 Imran Nazir, 3 Nasir Jamshed, 4 Kamran Akmal (wk), 5 Umar Akmal, 6 Shoaib Malik, 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Yasir Arafat, 9 Sohail Tanvir/ Abdul Razzaq 10 Umar Gul, 11 Saeed Ajmal
South Africa (probable): 1 Richard Levi, 2 Hashim Amla, 3 Jacques Kallis, 4 AB de Villiers (capt & wk), 5 JP Duminy, 6 Farhaan Behardien, 7 Albie Morkel 8 Johan Botha 9 Robin Peterson 10 Morne Morkel, 11 Dale Steyn