Evenly matched Pakistan, South Africa look to gain upper hand

 Evenly matched Pakistan, South Africa look to gain upper hand
CENTURION   -  With South Africa having levelled the series 1-1, both teams will be looking to take the lead when they face each other in the third T20I on Wednesday, 14 April.

The Proteas exhibited their bench strength in the second T20I with George Linde, Lizaad Williams, and Aiden Markram putting on a stellar show in the absence of South Africa’s top guns.

After a narrow defeat in the first match, the hosts came back strongly to ensure a comprehensive six-wicket victory to keep the series alive as they outclassed Pakistan in all three departments.

Both sides have their eyes on this year’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup and are utilising this series to test various permutations and assess their bench strength ahead of the tournament.

Formidable South Africa defeated Pakistan comfortably with a six-wicket win, thanks to all-round performance by George Linde. He finished with impressive bowling figures of 3/23, three catches and a 20* off 10 balls with the bat.

Russia accuses US, NATO of moving troops to its border Pakistan posted the target of 141 with Babar Azam as the lead scorer with 50 runs. The target proved to be well below par as the Proteas chased it down in the 14th over. The batting performance was led by Markram (54 off 30) and captain Heinrich Klaasen, who remained unbeaten on 36.

With the match starting in the afternoon, there shouldn’t be any early moisture. Conditions are expected to be more even irrespective of the teams batting first or second even if the pitch is slightly slower than at the Wanderers. Temperatures have gone up this week, so expect a scorcher at close to 30 degrees.

Pakistan skipper Babar Azam said: “We have a big pool of players and we are trying different compositions and putting batsmen and bowlers into dissimilar positions to see what combination suits us ahead of T20 World Cup. We will go into the third T20I with a positive mindset and carry the momentum into the game to win it for us.”

PM Imran will visit Karachi, Sukkur on April 16 South Africa captain Heinrich Klaasen said: “The message to the team up front is to be positive. If you feel like you want to take the bowler down, it’s your idea and your plan to go for it and that is the way we want to move forward. We want to play aggressive cricket but smart cricket as well.”

SQUADS (PROBABLES)

PAKISTAN: Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Fakhar Zaman, Sharjeel Khan, Babar Azam (capt), Mohammad Hafeez, Haidar Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usman Qadir, Mohammad Hasnain. 

SOUTH AFRICA: Aiden Markram, Janneman Malan, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne, Pite van Biljon, Heinrich Klaasen (capt, wk), George Linde, Andile Phehlukwayo, Sisanda Magala, Beuran Hendricks, Lizaad Williams, Tabraiz Shamsi.

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