A mixed bag Proteas outfit came desperately close to toppling Pakistan in the first match of the series but the tourists sport a 1-0 lead coming into the second T20 at the Wanderers.
The home side must win to retain any hope of taking the series outright and salvaging something from Pakistan’s visit.
South Africa vs Pakistan | Monday 12 April | The Wanderers, Johannesburg | 14:30
To Win Match
South Africa 29/20
With a dozen or so top players off to the Indian Premier League, the Proteas have the look of leftovers but did enough in match one to suggest that for most the main course was yet to come.
Aidan Markam has put his hand up for consideration in the format having previously enjoyed more prominence in the ODI and Test teams. He came into the squad as a late replacement alongside Daryn Dupavillon, Wiaan Mulder and Andile Phehlukwayo.
Stand-in skipper Heinrich Klaasen is the Proteas real dangerman and his wicket will be one Pakistan prize.
Phehlukwayo presents a head-scratcher to management as he appears to be unable to replicate his ODI death-bowling form in the shortest format. With six bowlers in the team and part-time spin available from a couple top-order batsmen, the all-rounder doesn’t look well placed to impact the game.
The Proteas will want a better start with the ball whether they bat or bowl first after allowing Pakistan to get away to a fast start as George Linde and Lizaad Williams got spanked about the park in the opening match.
Tabraiz Shamsi made the match a contest with his spell that pulled Pakistan back and he will continue to be a key bowler for the Proteas.
Pakistan have T20 cricket’s golden ticket, an in-form top three, in this case made up of Mohammad Rizwan, Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman.
Rizwan starred in the series opener, initially being the aggressor before playing as the foil to Haider Ali and Faheem Ashraf. Their top order will flourish if the Proteas can’t find a way to put them under pressure.
Mohammad Nawaz did what Linde would fail to do in keeping the Proteas openers in check up front with his left-arm orthodox spin. He will likely be asked to repeat the role in match two.
The highveld can be very unforgiving for a fast bowler who can’t find his length, as Shaheen Afridi discovered while Hasan Ali showed his experience and alongside Nawaz was the pick of the bowlers. For the others, there is some work to be done if they are to maintain their hold over the Proteas.
Verdict: Pakistan 57/100
Experience has no equal in the international game.