South Africa v Pakistan, 2nd Twenty20, Centurion March 2, 2013

Pakistan look for victory in comfort zone

Match Facts

March 3, 2013
Start time 1430 local (1230 GMT)

Big Picture

After the first T20 was washed out in Durban, the T20 trophy is up for grabs with just one match to be played. Unlike in the Tests, the gulf between the two teams hardly exists and Pakistan may have an upper hand in this format given their record and a new line-up for the new series.

A win for Pakistan will be a much-needed confidence enhancer after the Test-series whitewash and before the five ODIs which will conclude the tour. They have featured in two finals and two semi-finals in the four T20 World Cups but still need to overcome inconsistency and poor form on the current tour.

Experience in their T20 side and a win percentage of 59% in 66 matches might turn out as the ingredients they need for the winning recipe. With the addition of their limited-overs expert, Shahid Afridi, in the dressing room, Pakistan will be itching to taste success on this tour and give Gary Kirsten a headache before the ODI series, for which they will have a different captain.

Beating Pakistan in this format won't be as easy for South Africa as it was in the three Tests, as they have a new permanent captain, have rested Dale Steyn, Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis, and are without an injured JP Duminy - their highest T20 run-scorer in 2012. Faf du Plessis showed his leadership skills with a 2-1 series win against New Zealand in December, but Pakistan are a different kettle of fish, especially with the bowling attack they possess. South Africa also do not enjoy the supremacy in this format as they do in the Tests, ranked No. 5, only one point ahead of Pakistan.

Form guide

(Completed matches, most recent first)

South Africa: WLWLL
Pakistan: LWLWL

In the spotlight

Shahid Afridi averages 17.25 in South Africa in T20s with the ball and has 12 wickets from eight matches. The pitches may help his zippy legspin which in turn may help revive Pakistan's and his own fortunes as he has only five wickets in his last seven domestic limited-overs matches. If the Afridi of the World T20 2007 (played in South Africa) plays as the Afridi in 2013 on the same grounds, South Africa may not have answers to his bowling which can turn and sting like vipers.

A 33-year old Henry Davids made his international debut against New Zealand less than three months ago and scored two fifties in three matches and topped the run-scoring charts in the series with 143 runs. The test for him will be tougher and more challenging against the likes of Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Irfan and others who do not like the sight of batsmen scoring runs against them.

Team news

South Africa have left out Richard Levi, which means Davids will have a new opening partner in AB de Villiers. In the absence of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, newbie Kyle Abbott may get a chance in the XI and Chris Morris may get to bat for the first time in T20s.

South Africa: (probable) 1 AB de Villiers (wk), 2 Henry Davids, 3 Faf du Plessis (capt), 4 Justin Ontong, 5 David Miller, 6 Farhaan Behardien, 7 Chris Morris, 8 Robin Peterson, 9 and 10 Rory Kleinveldt/Kyle Abbott/Ryan McLaren, 11 Lonwabo Tsotsobe

The only change Pakistan have made in their squad from the T20s in India is the inclusion of Wahab Riaz in place of Sohail Tanvir. Riaz was not a part of the Test squad but claims to be fitter now and collected 21 wickets (including a hat-trick) in four first-class matches at an average of 12.90 in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.

Pakistan: (probable) 1 Nasir Jamshed, 2 Ahmed Shehzad, 3 Mohammed Hafeez (capt), 4 Umar Akmal, 5 Shoaib Malik, 6 Kamran Akmal (wk), 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Umar Gul, 9 Wahab Riaz/Junaid Khan, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Mohammed Irfan

Stats and Trivia

  • Pakistan have won five out of the eight T20s they have played in South Africa, their best record in any country after Canada.
  • Out of the 60 Pakistan wickets in the Tests, 35 were taken by Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander together, but they aren't playing in the T20 series.


"The foundations are being laid so that we can try and do something special and emulate the Test side's performances with a new group of players."
South Africa T20 coach Russell Domingo on his not-so-experienced T20 side.

Vishal Dikshit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo