South Africa v Pakistan, 1st T20, Johannesburg November 19, 2013

Tougher tests await Pakistan in SA


Match facts

Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Start time 1800 local (1600GMT) 

Big Picture

The South African half of the four-match Twenty20 home and away series between these two teams has arrived but the promise it could have been accompanied with, has not. Pakistan were outplayed in the UAE, in both matches, although the result of the second's suggested it was much closer than it really was. 

Batting collapses at the top and tail of their innings have left Pakistan with plenty of repair work to do. They spent two days after their arrival in South Africa training at the Wanderers but decided to take the day before the match off. Still, they've had more preparation time than South Africa, who only regrouped on Tuesday. 

South Africa could afford to take the extra day off. They don't have many areas of concern with a batting order that is settling into its roles and bowlers firing even in conditions that are unfamiliar to them. Their main conundrum ahead of the match has been caused by a case of too much choice and they will have to decide who to leave out. 

While the hosts will aim for consolidation of the gains they have made in the shortest format with an eye on the No. 1 ranking, the visiting team will focus on rectifying their mistakes, the weather could have other plans. Rain is forecast throughout Wednesday for Johannesburg. 

Form guide

(Last five completed games, most recent first)
Pakistan LLWWW
South Africa WWLWW

In the spotlight

Pakistan's batting has been their Achilles' Heel throughout the series against South Africa and it's not going to get any easier for them. The conditions and the opponent's attack on their home turf will mean Pakistan's line-up have to brace themselves against the short ball. The Wanderers track will facilitate good bounce and carry, Dale Steyn and co will be baying for blood and Nasir Jamshed, Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Hafeez will have to have made swift improvements to play the pull shot. All three have been susceptible to getting out when it's banged in short and will have to ensure they are better equipped for what could be a barrage in South Africa.

Team news

With Mohammad Irfan ruled out of the tour, Pakistan will have to look for other quick options. Junaid Khan and Sohail Tanvir will do the bulk of the seam-bowling duties and they will have to make a decision on whether to include Anwar Ali - who also offers a bit with the bat down the order - or hand Bilawal Bhatti, who has only played 10 T20 games domestically, a debut. 

Shoaib Malik will not be able to bolster the middle order after he was ruled out of the series with a finger injury. That will open the door for either Umar Amin or Asad Shafiq. There's not too much else Pakistan can do. Hafeez will likely not fancy opening against Steyn which may give Nasir Jamshed another opportunity. Abdul Razzaq has also been ruled out of the series with a hamstring niggle. 

Pakistan: (likely) 1 Nasir Jamshed, 2 Ahmed Shehzad, 3 Mohammad Hafeez (capt), 4 Sohaib Maqsood 5 Asad Shafiq/Umar Amin, 6 Umar Akmal (wk), 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Sohail Tanvir, 9 Saeed Ajmal, 10 Junaid Khan, 11 Bilawal Bhatti/Anwar Ali 

With an unchanged squad, South Africa will use this as another opportunity to try different combinations. If they choose to retain Henry Davids, he should bat higher up the order than he did in Dubai. Hashim Amla may be rested as a result. JP Duminy could slot back into the middle order but it may be difficult to make room for Morne Morkel unless one of Wayne Parnell or Lonwabo Tsotsobe sits out. On surfaces that are unlikely to offer much to the spinners, South Africa my opt for the holding spinner in Aaron Phangiso. 

South Africa: (likely) 1 Henry Davids/Hashim Amla 2 Quinton de Kock (wk) 3 Faf du Plessis (capt), 4 AB de Villiers, 5 JP Duminy 6 David Miller, 7 Ryan McLaren, 8 Wayne Parnell/Morne Morkel, 9 Dale Steyn, 10 Lonwabo Tsotsobe 11 Imran Tahir/Aaron Phangiso

Stats and trivia

  • Despite a lean patch in Tests and ODIs, Faf du Plessis is the sixth-highest run-scorer in T20s this year, 76 runs behind the leader, Ahmed Shehzad. 

  • The Wanderers has a reputation for bounce and carry but has also provided some of the best surfaces for batsmen. It has a fairly even record in T20s with the team batting first winning nine of the 20 matches played here.


    "When team management decided to rest a couple of the senior players, it provided opportunities and I think that a lot of the players have responded positively to that."
    Ryan McLaren believes the absence of the likes of Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis and the rotation of bowlers has helped South Africa explore its depth. 

    "We are just resting."
    Moin Khan, Pakistan's team manager gave a simple answer for Pakistan's decision to take Tuesday off.

    Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on November 20, 2013, 16:55 GMT

    Unbelievable, they still have Umar Amin in there - especially for a T20. He has done really nothing. Sorry to say the Pak team are not professionals. They can talk as much talent and technique. The players don't learn how to field, the bowlers cannot bat at all, the batsmen have no mental capacity and the selectors choose players like Umar Amin .. they try their best to lose from all angles.

  • mudasar on November 20, 2013, 16:52 GMT

    i think its just an intentionally razzak and malik was dropped ,,,,, pakistan selecting committe is not good and players co ordination is not good thats y tody pakistan seeing the face of failure.....

  • gurinder on November 20, 2013, 16:36 GMT

    poor selection by pak coach . why are new youngsters not played in worthless t20 before odis. expecting big win for sa who are still on their way to top 3 in t20. but still out of top 4 in odis . may the best team win. pak needs to win this match as they were just beaten 4-1 in home series.

  • Dummy4 on November 20, 2013, 16:22 GMT

    Inshaa'Allah Pakistan will bounce back in two T2o's and will become number 1 in the ranking, best of Luck.

  • mudasar on November 20, 2013, 16:15 GMT

    hi pakistani selectors my question is y dont u select imran nazir one of the good scoring batsmen during first 10 overs.....

  • Dummy4 on November 20, 2013, 16:15 GMT

    Okay, so I am confused, why are they letting Shahid Afridi play? He was really good (and lucky) when he was young. His bowling is still descent, but we need young all rounders like Hammad Azam, I know he hasn't performed much, but he needs to be motivated. He can be a really good all rounder for Pakistan. But, we really need to get rid of Shahid Afridi, seriously....

  • Android on November 20, 2013, 16:03 GMT

    unlucky that v dont have Razzaq n Malik today

  • Dummy4 on November 20, 2013, 15:31 GMT

    I hope this time they give chance to Anwer Ali instead of Sohail Tanveer, Sohail Tanveer has been tested for more than 5 years and everyone knows he has never performed neither in bowling nor in batting, so the selector should stop selecting him and give chance to some young legs

  • love on November 20, 2013, 15:01 GMT

    I think,it will be better if Pak use Hafeez as a specialist bowler which he is more than capable of and who can bat a bit but not in top order.He should come down the order and try some 25 balls 30 which should be enough.

  • Dummy4 on November 20, 2013, 15:00 GMT

    mediocre batting selection For one day matches and mediocre selections in general. Considering Mohammad Irfan is not playing you better get on your knees and start praying to God for loosing with grace.