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Cricket news - Inexperienced South Africa face uphill battle to level series

Henrich Klaasen-led South African side fought admirably in the first T20I before losing in the final over.

Henrich Klaasen-led South African side fought admirably in the first T20I before losing in the final over.

With the IPL 2021 taking place, some of South Africa's key players - Quinton de Kock, David Miller, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and Anrich Nortje - left for India after the second ODI against Pakistan. Subsequently, Temba Bavuma, South Africa's limited overs skipper, was ruled out with a hamstring problem. Reeza Hendricks also withdrew from the T20I series following the birth of his first child. So, the home side went into the opening T20I versus Pakistan with a host of players missing from action. However, the Henrich Klaasen-led South African side fought admirably before losing in the final over.

Going into the second game at the Wanderers, the South African camp would be pleased with Aiden Markram's brisk, maiden T20I fifty. Beuran Hendricks, who has been around for long, also made an impression taking three wickets while Tabriaz Shamsi took a couple of scalps. Klaasen himself chipped in with an aggressive 50 which pushed South Africa to a good total. South Africa, however, would be concerned about their death overs bowling, with Pakistan scoring 57 runs in the last 29 balls to cross the finishing line. After the second game, Klaasen also admitted in the presser that they need to improve upon their death bowling.

Another cause for concern could be after Klaasen's dismissal, South Africa lost the plot a bit, adding 29 runs off 20 balls. Meanwhile, the touring side would be happy about Mohammad Rizwan returning to form after a couple of low scores in the ODI series. Faheem Ashraf also gave a glimpse of his pyrotechnics with a breezy 30 off 14 balls. In fact, it was his innings that provided the impetus for Pakistan to chase down the target.

On the bowling front, Mohammad Nawaz and Hasan Ali bowled with penetration and were rewarded with wickets. On the other hand, Usman Qadir, who has a fine record in the shortest format of the game, didn't have a good outing returning figures of 0 for 38 in three overs.

When: April 12, South Africa vs Pakistan, 2nd T20I, 2.30 PM local

Where:The Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg

What to expect: The weather is expected to be clear with no real threat of rain through the course of the game. The Wanderers is at a high altitude and the ball is set to travel quicker through the air.

Team News:

South Africa

South Africa might look at playing Kyle Verreynne. Incidentally, the middle order batsman looked in fine touch in the final ODI against Pakistan. Wiaan Mulder's all-round skills could also come into the equation.

Possible XI - Janneman Malan, Aiden Markram, Kyle Verreynne/Wihan Lubbe, Heinrich Klaasen (c, wk), Pite van Biljon, George Linde, Andile Phehlukwayo, Sisanda Magala, Beuran Hendricks, Lizaad Williams, Tabraiz Shasmi

Pakistan

Pakistan could continue with the same side that played in the opening game at the Wanderers. Haris Rauf and Usman Qadir were punished severely in the first match but could get another opportunity.

Possible XI: Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Babar Azam (c), Fakhar Zaman, Mohammed Hafeez, Haider Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Usman Qadir, Haris Rauf.

What they said:

"You have to stick to your guys, along with the guys who are able to change their pace. It (yorkers) needs to be used at the right times and slots, but the good bowlers have a job to do. We just need to start executing" - Henrich Klaasen.