Preview, PAK vs RSA: Pakistan hold advantage over World Number One
By CricLens Staff Report on September 27th, 2012

South Africa may have been Number One team of this format but when they square up against Pakistan on Friday they will have some history and team, more suited to the conditions, to beat. In two of their previous clashes in World Twenty20s, Pakistan ended up as the victorious – one was Semi Final other effectively a knock-out match too in 2009 and 2010.

Pakistan have come into Super Eight Round fighting their way, they have defended a target and also chased one, what was the highest ever T20 chase in Sri Lanka. Contrary to that South Africa eased their way in a fashion that they were through to the next round just after beating Zimbabwe, which also turned their next match (reduced to 7 overs) against Sri Lanka into dead-rubber, and their batsmen haven’t been properly tested yet particularly against the spinners, which are likely to boast an elaborated threat on the Premadasa’s wicket.

The Premadas’s wicket has shown to be different from those in Hambantota and Pallekele and, if the match between England and India is anything to go by, the wicket is likely to assist spin (Pakistan’s strength). It is also being said that as the tournament goes ahead, more matches are played, it [the Premadasa] will offer more turn to the spinners.

On both the previous occasions in the World Twenty20s when South Africans were beaten by Pakistan, they looked hapless against spinners. In Semi Final 2009, Shahid Afridi and Saeed Ajmal had a combine spell of 8 overs (3 wickets for 39 runs) while in Super Eight Match in 2010 the same duo had 8 overs (4 wickets for 47 runs). This time around they will have to face another spinner in Mohammad Hafeez, who now regularly bowls 4 overs.

Though unlikely but provided South Africa’s struggle against spinners and Colombo likely to assists the turners, Pakistan might contemplate on bringing in 4th specialist spinner, Raza Hassan ,by replacing a seamer such as Sohail Tanvir or Yasir Arafat. Or they can use Shoaib Malik for few overs. Barring Hashim Amla, it is hard to think of a South African batsman whose technique can counter the spin attack as versatile as Ajmal, Hafeez and Afridi. And by countering it is meant to score runs against them at a good rate.

Pakistan seamers however have remained highly disappointed so far even Umar Gul, the leading wicket taker in World T20 2007 and 2009, has been hammered like a club bowler. That apparently is their foremost vulnerability in this event.

One department of both the teams have not been fully trialed yet in this tournament, their batting middle-order. Pakistan’s top three have had such a formidable show so far that in both of their matches the middle-order was not tasted fully. Pakistan may need to tweak the order a bit in case they lose early wickets, they may need to a bring  a batsman of accumulating skills up the order to forestall a collapse. Asad Shafiq looks fitting for this job but since he is unlikely to make into playing XI Shoaib Malik may fit the bill. South Africa’s middle-order concern remains with Faf du Plessis who is yet to announce himself in Twenty20 ‘internationals.’

Pakistan batsmen will also have to watch out for Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn, who would tempt them with short-pitch deliveries, and this time Nazir and Hafeez won’t get those at the pace of Bangladesh bowlers. And it is not that Pakistan batsmen would not get troubled by spin. They will have to avert the danger of Johan Botha and Robin Peterson, who was their leading wicket-taker in last year’s World Cup in the Subcontinent and may get a game tomorrow at spin-friendly conditions. Pakistan batsmen did show some signs of trouble against spinners in warm-up matches.

Going by the tournament’s history, the pitch conditions, and fact that they play tomorrow on back of 4 wins out of their last five Twenty20 internationals, Pakistan would start as favourites.

Stats and Trivia

- South Africa have won 3 out of five Twenty20 Internationals against Pakistan, the two they lost were in World T20s.

- In all the 5 matches, Pakistan batted first.

- With 116 Runs, Shahid Afridi is the most successful batsman in both the teams while facing each other. Graeme Smith has 145, but he is not in the tournament.

- It took Shahid Afridi 22 matches to score his first Twenty20 fifty, and it came against South Africa in Semi Final of World T20 2009.

- Pakistan have most number of wins (36) in Twenty20 Internationals, next are South Africa with 32.

2 Responses to “Preview, PAK vs RSA: Pakistan hold advantage over World Number One”

  1. Aleem Basraa says:

    At last a very good site to read articles in a Pakistani flavour
    Keep up the good work

  2. nasir says:

    great mazher bhi..supup

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