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Pakistan hopes to carry test form into T20s against SAfrica

Pakistan aims to capitalize on its 2-0 victory in the test series against South Africa when it takes on the Proteas in the three-match Twenty20 series that begins on Thursday.

“The result of test series will have an impact on the Twenty20 series,” Pakistan bowling coach Waqar Younis told reporters during a virtual press conference in Lahore on Wednesday.

“I can’t predict the ultimate result of the T20 series, but you will definitely see good results.”

Pakistan beat South Africa in a test series for the first time in 18 years with two emphatic victories at Karachi and Rawalpindi. Fast bowler Hasan Ali grabbed a 10-wicket haul in Pakistan’s 95-run win in the second test as the Proteas lost their last seven wickets for only 33 runs in the second innings and were bowled out for 274.

Waqar was the bowling coach when a second-string Sri Lanka routed Pakistan 3-0 at Lahore in 2019. The result saw Sarfaraz Ahmed being stripped of the captaincy and Babar Azam was chosen as the white-ball skipper before eventually being named as all format captain after Pakistan lost the test series in England last year.

This time around, Waqar is not underestimating the second-string South Africa without its T20 regulars -- captain Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, Rassie van der Dussen, Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi.

They were all part of the Proteas’ test squad in Pakistan but flew home as South Africa planned to prepare for the three-test series against Australia, which was postponed.

The South Africa Twenty20 squad was en route to Pakistan when Australia pulled out of the series and eventually it was too late for the Proteas to keep some of the members of test squad in Pakistan.

Hasan, who returned to international cricket in the test series against South Africa after two years due to injuries, is part of Pakistan’s Twenty20 squad with Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf to give Pakistan a formidable pace attack.

Pakistan had to leave out Mohammad Hafeez after he couldn’t join the team’s bio-secure bubble in Lahore by the Feb. 3 deadline.

Hafeez scored 415 runs in T20 internationals last year, but was busy playing in a T10 League in the United Arab Emirates and it left selectors with no choice other than to leave out the most experienced player for the home series.

Legspinner Usman Qadir, who was named man of the series in Pakistan’s home Twenty20 series against Zimbabwe last year, and uncapped leggie Zahid Mahmood are Pakistan’s slow bowling options.

South Africa, led by Heinrich Klaasen, has only David Miller in its lineup with some experience of playing in Pakistan. Miller toured Pakistan in 2017 with a World XI side which played three-match Twenty20 series with du Plessis as its skipper.

There are three uncapped players fast bowler Okuhle Cele, wicketkeeper-batsman Ryan Rickelton and batsman Jacques Snyman as South Africa look to form a pool of players before the Twenty20 World Cup later this year.

“We are by no means a second-string T20 squad and we are looking to win,” Klaasen had said on Tuesday. “South Africa has got loads of talent, which people sometimes don’t see because we only have six franchises.”

Squads:

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

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

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