T20I series preview: Pakistan v South Africa

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The two-match T20 International series between Pakistan and South Africa follows on quickly from the one-day series, which the Proteas won with relative ease after a wobble in the second match.

The two-match T20 International series between Pakistan and South Africa follows on quickly from the one-day series, which the Proteas won with relative ease after a wobble in the second match.

While the Proteas did record a four-one win, and their wicketkeepers in AB de Villiers and Quinton de Kock found form with the bat, the Pakistan T20 outfit is actually a much stronger unit than people may realise.

The last time the sides faced each other, earlier this year, Pakistan won the series one-nil, and right now they are second only to Sri Lanka in the T20 rankings. The Proteas, meanwhile, are down in fifth, even behind the West Indies.

On the plus side for the visitors, fast bowler Dale Steyn has declared his intention to stay in the race for the World Twenty20 even next year, and is thus pushing for a place, which will not please the Pakistan batsmen after his form in the ODIs.

Spinner Imran Tahir has also found impressive form against his former countrymen, while Ryan McLaren continues to develop into a formidable short-format all-rounder. And if David Miller fires with the bat, Pakistan will need to be at full focus.

As is often stated, Pakistan are one of the least predictable sides in world cricket, but their T20 form tends to be a bit more stable. They have yet to lose a T20 this year, and have veterans Shoaib Malik and Shahid Afridi to call on.

As for the venue, Pakistan have played 10 T20s in Dubai, and have won six of them, though the last one saw them lose to Australia by a rather large margin. The Saffas, on the other hand, have never played a T20 at the DSC.

<b>Key Men</b><br>For the hosts, we're going to tip skipper <b>Mohammad Hafeez</b> to shine with both bat and ball. He is the Pakistani with the most T20 runs against the Proteas, and has a knack of removing the South Africans' wickets.

The visitors have a number of star players, but following on from his good form in the ODI series, we'll tip <b>Quinton de Kock</b> to continue scoring some runs, as well as do a decent job behind the stumps.

<b>Last Five Head-To-Head Results</b><br>2013: 2nd T20I: Pakistan won by 95 runs in Centurion<br>2013: 1st T20I: Match abandoned in Durban<br>2012: World T20: Pakistan won by two wickets in Colombo<br>2010: 2nd T20I: South Africa won by six wickets in Abu Dhabi<br>2010: 1st T20I: South Africa won by six wickets in Abu Dhabi

<b>Prediction</b><br>Shahid Afridi will come to the party in a big way in the first game, before the Proteas rebound in the second and level the series.

<b>Squads</b><br><i>Pakistan:</i> Mohammad Hafeez, Nasir Jamshed, Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Akmal, Umar Amin, Shahid Afridi, Sohaib Maqsood, Abdul Razzaq, Sohail Tanvir, Mohammad Irfan, Junaid Khan, Saeed Ajmal, Shoaib Malik, Abdur Rehman.

<i>South Africa:</i> Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla, Henry Davids, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, David Wiese.

<b>Fixtures</b><br>First T20I: 13 November in Dubai<br>Second T20I: 15 November in Dubai

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