|Pakistan Vs South Africa|
Venue :1st Twenty20 International, Dubai International Cricket Stadium
Pakistan will play South Africa in the first T20I of the two match T20I series at Abu Dhabi. The game will be played on Tuesday, October 26.
Pakistan is the host of the tour by South Africa but because of the security situation back home, Abu Dhabi and Dubai have been the neutral venues chosen to host the entire series. This includes two Test matches and five ODIs as well and will see the Pakistanis trying to win something this year.
Pakistan has had a very bad lead-up to the series. They had an abysmal tour of England where they not only lost all the series that they had played but were also involved in so many controversies that there were rumours that they may be banned from playing cricket. There were match fixing and spot fixing allegations and the side saw three of the cricketers being provisionally suspended by the ICC for the same.
Speaking of their on-field cricket, their issue has been their batting but in this format of the game, they are expected to do well. Younis Khan makes a comeback to the side but it remains to be seen whether the former captain can play in the T20Is or will be directly play the other two formats. Mohammad Yousuf is out due to injury while Shahid Afridi will continue to lead the side despite issues with the Pakistan cricket board. It was said that the Pakistani management that included the captain Afridi and coach Waqar Younis were not happy with the team that they had got but they had had no say in the decision.
South Africa, on the other hand, go into the T20Is with a new captain. Johan Botha has replaced Graeme Smith in the T20Is and will look to command as much respect as Smith did when he was the captain. So far, Botha's initiation has been good enough - in a series against Australia where he was the stand-in captain he had won the series for them, while against Zimbabwe, he led them to a 2-0 win.
However, playing Pakistan on the slow and low wickets of Abu Dhabi could just be a different ball game altogether. South Africa will need to adapt themselves to the tracks which are going to be unlike those back home and things could get interesting. AB de Villiers will be the wicket-keeper.