Pakistan seek return to T20 glory days

Afp, Lahore

11 February, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Pakistan are hoping to turn their Twenty20 fortunes around when they take on a depleted South Africa in a three-match series starting in Lahore on Thursday.

The hosts have won just one of their last eight Twenty20 series, with victory coming against lowly Zimbabwe.

But they are seeking a return to the form that saw them win 11 series in a row from September 2016 to November 2018, lifting them to the top of the world rankings. Pakistan's spirits are riding high after beating South Africa by 95 runs in Rawalpindi on Monday to take the two-match Test series 2-0 -- their first win over South Africa since 2003. South Africa will be without regular skipper Quinton de Kock, as well as established stars such as Faf du Plessis, Rassie van der Dussen, Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi.

Still, Pakistan's bowling coach Waqar Younis refused to take the new-look South Africa side lightly. "They are an international team and we need to play to our potential to finish a perfect season," he said. Pakistan have left out senior batsman Mohammad Hafeez because of his commitments to the T-10 league in Abu Dhabi. He has been in supreme form recently, scoring 415 runs in 10 matches with an average of 83.00 and a strike rate of 152.57 -- the most by any player last year.

South Africa will be led by wicketkeeper-batsman Heinrich Klaasen, who hopes his newcomers will grab their opportunity.