One of the strongest cricketing nations of Asia is all set to welcome the proteas in what promises to be an exciting season of cricket. The tour is scheduled to consist of two tests and three T20I series spanned to take place from the 26th January to the 14th of February.
The tour kickstarts with the longest format. Team Pakistan will lock horns with South Africa at the National Stadium in Karachi.
The series is also a very important one for both teams in terms of the ICC Test world championship ranking. The hosts were served a humiliating white-wash by the Kiwis and that has pushed the Pakistanis down to 6th place in the table and they will have to switch their recovery mode on.
The Proteas on the other side come on back a thumping 2-0 win over Sri Lanka. South Africans made easy work of the Lankans in both the matches and they would hoping they can replicate the same performance.
The last time the two teams met in a bilateral series was back in 2018-2019. Pakistanis would want to leave that series behind them as it was once again a hammering 3-0 whitewash. But things have changed, their new skipper Babar Azam will be leading the team for the first time in tests, and also given the conditions are in their favor, Pakistan would be hoping they can outclass Quinton de Kock and Co.
Can Babar Azam and Co. stamp authority from game one? Or will it the South Africans who once again kickstart things with a victory?
Match Toss Time: 09:30 Local (10:00 IST)
Match Start Time: 10:00 Local (10:30 IST)
Match Venue: National Stadium, Karachi
The conditions are ideal for cricket as clear skies are expected throughout the course of five days. The temperature is expected to be hovering in the 22-16 degree Celsius range and the humidity at the peak is likely to touch 29 percent. The low temperature and humidity are very much in favor of the players.
The pitch is expected to provide a lot of assistance for the spinners. Surprisingly, the venue has been used only once in the decade and that match did go in favor of the hosts. The pitch though has been in use for the domestic matches and from what we saw in the PSL we do know that the spinners will dictate the proceedings.
The team winning the toss should be looking to bat first as batting in the fourth innings can be a daunting task.
Babar Azam will lead Pakistan for the first team in the longest format. He has been a wonderful job in leading the side and his batting has been top-notch. He has been given a tough task in choosing the playing Xl as they have included 6 uncapped players in the side. With Azhar Ali in the side along with Babar Azam, the batting line-up looks solid for them.
Given the conditions are ideal for spinners. Sajid Khan is certain to make his debut along with the batting sensation- Imran Butt.
South Africa on the other side has strengthened their spin attack by including Tabraiz Shamsi, Keshav Maharaj, and George Linde. In addition to their strong spin attack, they would also feel pumped up with the return of their spearhead Kagiso Rabada. The team looks well balanced as they have Faf du Plessis and Dean Algar at the top, both the batsmen have been in tremendous form in recent times.
Probable Playing Xl
Pakistan (PAK): Abid Ali, Imran Butt, Babar Azam (C), Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Mohammad Rizwan (WK), Faheem Ashraf, Sajid Khan, Yasir Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Hasan Ali
South Africa (RSA): Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, Faf du Plessis, Quinton de Kock (C & WK), Temba Bavuma, Wiaan Mulder, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje/Lutho Sipamla, Tabraiz Shamsi
PAK vs SA Fantasy Team
Mohammad Rizwan, Quinton de Kock, Babar Azam, Azhar Ali, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Faheem Ashraf, Wiaan Mulder, Yasir Shah, Anrich Nortje, Lutho Sipamla/ Tabraiz Shamsi
Captain Picks: Faf du Plessis (RSA), Faheem Ashraf (PAK)
Vice-captain Picks: Babar Azam (PAK), Dean Algar (RSA)
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