Pak v SA, Super Eights, Group 2, World Twenty20, Colombo September 27, 2012

Serious business starts for Pakistan and South Africa


Match facts

September 28, 2012
Start time 1530 local (1000 GMT)

Big Picture

What appears to be the tougher of the two Super Eight groups gets underway with a repeat of the 2009 World T20 semi-final, a match that is remembered as one the most thrilling, in a format where almost anything can be labelled so. Historically, these two make good opponents: the unpredictability of Pakistan against the sometimes uber-predictability of South Africa. But things have changed.

Pakistan still implode at times but tend to bring some of their best games to major tournaments. They have also tempered their fiery side with reason and both have been on display in equal measure in the group stage and even before that, in series against Australia and Sri Lanka. Combined, those two contrasting styles could result in a Pakistan side that consistently performs as well as they have done of late.

They defended a decent total against a determined New Zealand line-up and then turned on the heat when they hunted down Bangladesh's score ruthlessly. Importantly, their top three all have runs to their name and each of the bowlers, particularly Saeed Ajmal, have seen success.

South Africa also take confidence into this round. They have had one all-too-easy encounter (against Zimbabwe) and one severely reduced match (a seven-over-a-side shootout against Sri Lanka) and managed not to get carried away by the former or spooked by the latter. Their philosophy when playing major tournaments appears to have changed. AB de Villiers spoke about not needing to win every game but building to a crescendo but South Africa have so far won and built at the same time.

Having been on tour since the beginning of July, Gary Kirsten has stressed the importance of being fresh to his men. They had two days off in Bentota before they resumed training, which was describe as "lengthy and intensive" by the coaching staff. Surprisingly, they do not have a certain starting line-up as they try to keep an aura of mystery about them in their bid for ICC silverware.

Form guide

(completed matches, most recent first)
South Africa WWLWW
Pakistan WWLTW

Watch out for

South Africa will not have fond memories of playing against Shahid Afridi after he was solely responsible for stopping their march at the 2009 event. Afridi was a one-man act as he destroyed a Graeme Smith-led side that had not lost a single match in the lead-up to the semi-finals with both bat and ball. He is a man for a big occasion and even though the contest is not a knockout, to make a statement of intent against one of the favourites may be just the stage for Afridi to perform as he did on that day.

Power is the quality that most batsmen want to be able to use to score runs in the shortest format, but Hashim Amla has chosen a different route. Small adaptations to his game have allowed him to keep the class and still become the world's top-ranked ODI batsman. Flanked by the strength of the Richard Levi and the experience of Jacques Kallis, Amla is the calm in the South African batting line-up, something they will need as the tournament goes on.

Team news

Pakistan played the same XI in both their group matches and with two good results should keep the same team.

Pakistan : 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, 10 Umar Gul, 11 Saeed Ajmal

South Africa also won both their matches, although they fielded different XIs, with the change being in the batting line-up. Faf du Plessis was given an opportunity to bat at No. 3 against Sri Lanka and scored 13 in a reduced game. He is the likeliest to be left out as South Africa opt for two spinners on a pitch that should take more turn than was on offer in Hambantota.

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

Pitch and conditions

Albie Morkel expects a more typically sub-continental surface in Colombo compared with what he called "home conditions," in Hambantota. The pitch is said to be much slower, with little in it for the quicks. A 60% chance of rain should lessen as the afternoon grows longer but the chance of another shortened match remains.

Stats and trivia

  • Three of the top four wicket-takers in World T20 are all from Pakistan. Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal and Umar Gul are on 29, 27 and 27 wickets respectively.
  • South Africa and Pakistan have played against each other in five T20s, twice in World T20s. South Africa have a better head-to-head record, winning three of the five played overall.


"The beauty of our batting line-up is that we have a lot of variety and different sets of batting skills in our line-up. Guys can use their feet, guys can sweep, guys can reverse sweep; so we have some very good options in our line-up."
South Africa assistant coach Russell Domingo says the team have got all the bases covered to counter the threat of Saeed Ajmal

"We are blessed with some of the greats in T20s, especially Ajmal and Afridi. This is our main strength even though we also rely on our fast bowlers."
Mohammad Hafeez knows which department is Pakistan's strongest

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on September 28, 2012, 10:40 GMT

    OK - scratch my previous comment. It's not just Albie who struggles against spin - it's virtually all of the Proteas in this game. Dare I say the rope is already around the Saffa's necks :)? I am a Saffa, so I can have some fun with the choker tag. I'm hoping the Proteas can at least make a decent fight of it but the Pakistan spinners are doing a great job at this stage.

  • Dummy4 on September 28, 2012, 10:02 GMT

    Pakistan have a solid team with big match temperament. This is SA's first real test of the contest. The game against Sri Lanka would have been, but for the 7 over a side farce. May the best side win and hopefully we get an exciting match. Levi needs to prove he can consistently perform, glad they replaced Faf who has lost some confidence and hopefully Hashim can work his magic. Not sure Albie is good for this tournament because he seems to struggle against spin.

  • Muhammad Jamal on September 28, 2012, 9:23 GMT

    I am sure if Pakistan will do one change and that is Abdul Razzaq instead of Sohail Tanvir. They have better chances for winning this game. Best of Luck Pakistan!!!!!

  • Dummy4 on September 28, 2012, 9:21 GMT

    South Africa has always a nervous break down against Pakistan. They will be in mental pressure against Pakistan because they are bad in playing spinners and medium pacers, another thing is that they are addicted of playing on bouncy wickets but here they will have to down on their knees to play a shot :D

  • Dinesh on September 28, 2012, 8:45 GMT

    Nasir Jamshed & AB will be the key factor in this match.

  • Dummy4 on September 28, 2012, 8:37 GMT

    Side with better flelding will win

  • Dummy4 on September 28, 2012, 8:11 GMT

    Pakistan has revamped its batting line up , which was a problem been indicated before in this tournment. Batsmen like Hafeez, nasir Jamshed , kamran akmal ,umer akmal and shoaib malik , they have performed very well in this tournment . saeed ajmal has bamboozling spin , what ever SA batsmen has capability and capacity? it will be a problem for them. SO go greens ... Best of luck for Pak .

  • Harris on September 28, 2012, 8:09 GMT

    Green Army from Pakistan to roll over the chokers once again.

  • Saleem on September 28, 2012, 7:29 GMT

    Make no mistake is TOP DRAW and it'll take a herculean effort ( fm Pakistan ) to derail the juggernaut !! Pakistan's best chance is to "dent" the morale of S.A. early on by getting AMLA B4 HE SETTLES & then target A.B.! Ajmal, Afridi and Hafeez will have to dismantle the efficient S.A. Batting ! Pak MUST play their EXPLOSIVE batsmen Kamran, Nazir, Jamshed, Umar, Afridi first up/top order ( They should play/use most of the overs ), Hafeez & Malik should bat lower down ! Kamran, Nazir, Jamshed, Umar, Afridi should go all out to decimate the on-song S.A. pace attack. Aggressive onslaught in PP + early exchanges will dent the S.A. morale and they (SA) will CHOCK.

  • Dummy4 on September 28, 2012, 7:24 GMT

    the difference b/w these two sides is their fast bowling n fielding. except this,every thing is in balance. so SA will win the game in my opinion. play raza instead of tanvir. Cheers!!!!

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