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Match Preview – Pakistan vs South Africa, South Africa in Pakistan 2020/21, 1st T20I

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After an entertaining Test series where the 2-0 scoreline belied the competitiveness of the cricket, Pakistan and South Africa move on to the shortest format. This is a series both sides will cherish for very different reasons. For Pakistan, it serves as an appetiser to a five-week-long bonanza of T20 cricket in the shape of the PSL which starts later this month, and will mark, for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic began, the presence of crowds for a cricket match. The visitors, on the other hand, can put their heart and soul into these three matches, not knowing when they play next, following Cricket Australia’s controversial decision to call off their tour to South Africa citing Covid-19 concerns.

Pakistan have to be the clear favourites simply because of the youthful, inexperienced side South Africa line up with. Initially selected because they wanted to keep their senior players rested for the now-cancelled Australia tour, South Africa opted to stick with that fresh-faced side, a far cry from the team that ended Pakistan’s record-breaking 11 T20I series-winning streak two years ago.

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