CAPE TOWN – Pakistan missed out on honours in the one-day international series by a margin of 3-2, after South Africa edged them out in the fifth and final game.
They will be raring to turn things around in the Twenty20 Internationals which starts at Newlands on Friday (start 6pm).
Pakistan are at the summit of the ICC T20I Team Rankings and will want to assert their supremacy in the format after missing out on the ODI series by a whisker.
They have an explosive opening combination in Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam, then comes the experience of Mohammad Hafeez and skipper Shoaib Malik in the middle order.
If Pakistan's batting order is strong, their bowling unit is steel. Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir and Shaheen Afridi form a formidable pace attack, while Shadab Khan fills the spin-bowling position. Hafeez, with 54 wickets in 67 innings, is Pakistan's leading wicket-taker among active cricketers and brings in a utilitarian off-spin option.
Pakistan, a juggernaut in the shortest format of the game, have triumphed in 11 T20I series on the trot. Their last defeat in a bilateral T20I series came against New Zealand back in January 2016.
The visitors, however, will miss their regular skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed, who is serving a four-match ban after breaching ICC's anti-racism code.
A disciplined combined bowling effort, a blitz from Quinton de Kock, and a cool pair of half-centuries from Faf du Plessis and Rassie van der Dussen were enough to seal the series for South Africa in the fifth ODI against Pakistan.
South Africa, meanwhile, will want to bring the momentum from the ODI series into the T20Is. Opener Quinton de Kock, middle-order batsman Rassie van der Dussen and skipper Faf du Plessis were on song in the ODIs.
Andile Phehlukwayo, with eight wickets in five games, was the highest wicket-taker of the series. He will lead the pace attack – comprising Junior Dala, Chris Morris and uncapped Lutho Sipamla – in the absence of the rested Kagiso Rabada and Dale Steyn.
South Africa will offer opportunities to their fringe players and newcomers, after opting to rest the regulars ahead of a busy summer schedule: they host Sri Lanka for a full tour before flying to England and Wales for ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
While the conditions might be cloudy earlier in the day, the skies will be clear at the time of the toss.
The surface in Cape Town is skiddy and not easy to bat on, which showed in the final ODI. Pakistan could make just 240 in the first innings and South Africa took 40 overs to chase it down.
The squads are:
Asif Ali, Babar Azam, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Hasan Ali, Hussain Talat, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hafeez, Sahibzada Farhan, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Shoaib Malik (c), Usman Khan, Mohammad Rizwan
Faf du Plessis (c), Gihahn Cloete, Junior Dala, Quinton de Kock, Beuran Hendricks, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Chris Morris, Willem Mulder, Andile Phehlukwayo, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen, Lutho Sipamla
African News Agency (ANA)