Pakistan will face a tough challenge
by Asher Wilson

Scorecard:Pakistan v South Africa
Event:ICC World Twenty20 2012/13

DateLine: 28th September 2012


Pakistan vs South Africa
ICC World T20 Super Eight
Match Preview


The two inform teams of the tournament, Pakistan and South Africa meet in their opening Super Eight fixture in a bid to draw first blood in the ongoing ICC World T20. The match is scheduled to be played at the R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo, today, September 28, 2012.


After almost a lifeless group stage, the tournament sprung into action last night following an entertaining round of matches involving Sri Lanka - New Zealand and England - West Indies. More is expected in the days to come and today’s fixtures will also provide plenty of excitement with all four unbeaten teams ready to battle each other in the 'group of death'.


An early victory for any side will surely ease out their passage to the semi-finals but to term any side as a favorite remains a tough call, owing to the wealth of talent on display.


Pakistan will face a tough challenge when they go up against the inform and dangerous South Africa in their opening Super 8s encounter. The Proteas who were undefeated in the league stage with convincing wins over Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka, will be looking to extend their winning streak while Pakistan too will be looking to do the same, having entered the Super 8s with wins over New Zealand and Bangladesh.


While the South African team is made up of numerous proven-quality players, Pakistan are no less in terms of talent in the line up. The likes of Imran Nazir, Nasir Jamshed and Umar Akmal have shown that they can be valuable assets with the bat while Asad Shafiq and Kamran Akmal are also quite capable. Quality all-rounders too are aplenty in the Pakistan side with skipper Mohammad Hafeez leading that way while the presence of Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Abdul Razzaq and Yasir Arafat gives the captain a lot of options. The pace line-up of Pakistan is also quite impressive with the likes of Umar Gul, Sohail Tanvir and Mohammad Sami. If all these players live up to their reputation, overcoming South Africa will not be as tough as it may seem at first sight.


Pakistan made it undefeated to the Super 8s stage but did suffer a couple of scares. They managed to overcome New Zealand by a narrow margin in their opening match. In their next match, they faced quite a challenge when Bangladesh posted an imposing total. But Pakistan managed to get through comfortably in the end thanks to the efforts of the top three batsmen. What will worry Pakistan though, is that the lower order did not quite click against New Zealand while the pace bowlers have not been doing well at all. The spinners have kept down the scoring rate but Gul and Tanvir have both given away lots of runs which is sure to bother the skipper. Hafeez will be hoping that his pacers stick to a disciplined line and also expects the batsmen to concentrate 100 percent as going up against a top-quality side requires all the players to perfoorm at their best.


If Pakistan are the side to beat in this tournament so far, South Africa have looked as good if not better than any other side in the tournament. The only matter of concern for the AB de Villier's led side is their lack of match practice before this game. They weren’t tested much in the group stages as their match against hosts Sri Lanka was curtailed to just 7 overs a side. They should be up for this game though as there is no real respite for them given the toughness of the group leading into the semi finals.


Powerful Richard Levi is expected to play a similar role to that of Imran Nazir, looking to be the enforcer in the powerplay stages. He might open with the ever reliable Hashim Amla, whose brief will be to hold the innings together along with Jacques Kallis who will come in at No.3. Skipper and trump card AB de Villiers will come in at No.4 a vital position and look to finish the innings off along with the talented left-hander JP Duminy at No.5. The older of the Morkel brothers, Albie will come in as the big hitting No.6 ahead of the rookie lower middle order batsman from the western province, Farhaan Behardien and off spinning all-rounder and former captain Johan Botha, who is capable of adding solidity and depth to the batting set up. Robin Peterson is another in a long list of all-rounders for the team from the rainbow nation and is likely to slot in at No.9 and bowl useful left arm orthodox. The ominous fast bowling pair of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel will then round off a tremendously balanced outfit.


Pakistan (From): Mohammad Hafeez (c), Imran Nazir, Nasir Jamshed, Kamran Akmal(w), Umar Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi, Yasir Arafat, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Asad Shafiq, Abdul Razzaq, Mohammad Sami, Raza Hasan


South Africa (From): Richard Levi, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers(w/c), Jean-Paul Duminy, Albie Morkel, Farhaan Behardien, Jacques Kallis, Johan Botha, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Justin Ontong, Robin Peterson, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Wayne Parnell


Pitch: The wicket at the Premadasa has shown signs of some turn in the last match between India and England. This should encourage the Pakistani team but there have been big scores made here before which could make for an exciting clash.

(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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