South Africa's latest bid to trump a format that has largely proved a stumbling block brings two matches against opposition a mere one place inferior in the ICC T20I rankings.

Last year's World Twenty20 exit, against this month's rivals incidentally, was the final straw - and a swift change in personnel has since ensued, with mixed results. AB de Villiers' recent remark that he is yet to find an appropriate tempo in the shortest version of game perhaps speaks for the bulk of the team too.

What started against New Zealand earlier this year, though must now be continued against Pakistan, with the uncapped Kyle Abbott brought into a fold also featuring the inexperienced Quinton de Kock, Aaron Phangiso, Henry Davids and Chris Morris.

These are the men, along with Farhaan Behardien and the like, and under the fresh captaincy of Faf du Plessis that have been earmarked to take the Proteas forward. Fittingly, only two of the regular Test players - du Plessis and de Villiers - are in the T20I squad this time.

Abbott's inclusion, meanwhile, is more of a means to keep him in and around the national fold ahead of the Champions Trophy and Tests against Pakistan than a genuine Twenty20 prospect. That job sits with Morris, while Behardien must establish himself as the finisher and de Villiers will enjoy a stint at the top of the order - and keep wicket ahead of de Kock.

Pakistan, well, redemption for an altogether inadequate Test series is theirs for the taking. Sans the services of Misbah-ul-Haq and now under the leadership of Mohammad Hafeez, they're in on the brink of a fresh dawn too.

To go with it comes the blooding of new youngsters in Asad Ali and Zulfiqar Babar - and recalls for Wahab Riaz and Junaid Khan. Robbed of participation in the Tests by injury, Junaid will cherish bowling in South African conditions primed for pace and bounce. Riaz as well.

The Akmal brothers and Shahid Afridi, too, bring a solid look to the squad. A collective effort, rather than individualism, though, will be in high demand in foreign conditions.

Key Men
It's all eyes on Faf du Plessis again, to see if the man chosen to succeed de Villiers is up for it. Du Plessis proved far more comfortable at the helm than his predecessor against New Zealand, but Pakistan will be a considerable stronger test.

Mohammad Hafeez endured an entirely wretched Test series, averaging less than eight across six innings. This weekend, however, will bring a chance at forgiveness in a format he has delighted in in recent past - with bat and ball.

Last Five Head-To-Head Results
2012: World Twenty20: Pakistan won by two wickets in Colombo
2010: Second T20I: South Africa won by six wickets in Abu Dhabi
2010: Second T20I: South Africa won by six wickets in Abu Dhabi
2010: World Twenty20: Pakistan won by 11 runs in St Lucia
2009: World Twenty20: Pakistan won by seven runs in Nottingham

Online betting firm Sky Bet have South Africa at 6/4 and Pakistan at 4/1 in the odds to win the series. Visit Sky Bet for the latest cricket betting.

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South Africa: Faf du Plessis (captain), Kyle Abbott, Farhaan Behardien, Henry Davids, Quinton de Kock, AB de Villiers, Rory Kleinveldt, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Chris Morris, Justin Ontong, Robbie Peterson, Aaron Phangiso, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

Pakistan: Mohammad Hafeez (captain), Nasir Jamshed, Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Irfan, Wahab Riaz, Umar Gul, Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Amin, Zulfiqar Babar, Asad Ali, Junaid Khan.

First T20I: 1 March, Durban
Second T20I: 3 March, Centurion