Cricket news - New-look South Africa out to save series

South Africa have never lost a T20I series to Pakistan.

South Africa have never lost a T20I series to Pakistan.

After a year of almost no cricket, there's suddenly plenty of it now. Just as Pakistan and South Africa took a day's break from all the hectic T20 action, another series between the sides stands confirmed. For now, the two teams are back at it in Lahore for the second T20I on February 13 (Friday), which comes with plenty of context. South Africa have never lost a T20I series to Pakistan and if the first game is anything to go by, this "second-string" opposition has only good things to offer.

Thursday was an important game for the visitors, who are here without most of their first-choice players and needed to do well for their own sake. And so they did, taking Pakistan to the last over until going down by three runs in a thrilling finish. It had taken Mohammad Rizwan's maiden T20I hundred earlier to get Pakistan to a par total of 169.

South Africa would like to improve on their game in the middle overs. They looked without too many options against Usman Qadir's spin, the legbreak bowler conceding only 21 runs in his four overs in addition to picking two wickets. The bowler spoke about his plans to bowl "slow" even when he was hampered by dew. South Africa would like to emulate that and have an opposition ripe for that. Pakistan, too, stumbled in their middle overs only to be rescued by Rizwan.

Babar, opening the batting with Rizwan, made zero the other day and would be hungry to make a point after a quiet Test series by his standards.

When: Pakistan v South Africa, 2nd T20I, 6:00pm local

Where: Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore

What to expect: Tabraiz Shamsi extracted plenty of turn in the first game and there should be more of it in Lahore for the second. Though generally, Lahore tends to roll out flat decks.

Teams:

Pakistan: Hasan Ali is coming from an exhilarating Test series and might get a chance if the team management feels he's had enough time to put his feet up.

Squad: Babar Azam (c), Aamer Yamin, Amad Butt, Asif Ali, Danish Aziz, Faheem Ashraf, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Afridi, Usman Qadir, Zafar Gohar, Zahid Mehmood

South Africa: The visitors handed a debut to Jacques Snyman in the first game. They should stick to the same combination.

Squad: Heinrich Klaasen (c), Nandre Burger, Okuhle Cele, Junior Dala, Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, George Linde, Janneman Malan, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Ryan Rickleton, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lutho Sipamla, Jon-Jon Smuts, Pite van Biljon, Glenton Stuurman, Jacques Snyman.

What they said:

It is pleasing to see we are playing good cricket, but it's frustrating and disappointing by our standards. We know exactly what we want and what we need to do to be a successful team: Heinrich Klaasen