Pakistan were dealt a major blow hours before the second T20I when their supremely in-form batsman Fakhar Zaman was ruled out due to what was described as a “leg allergy”. Fortunately, they had a pretty much like-for-like replacement in the form of Sharjeel Khan but unfortunately, the stocky opener could not deliver a like-for-like performance.
The increasingly reliable Mohammad Rizwan was uncharacteristically out on the first ball of the match, which when coupled with Sharjeel’s short stay at the crease, created a flimsy foundation for the rest of batters. The match was lost there and then, although the lower order also contributed its part in the team’s downfall.
Fakhar’s conditions did not seem serious but it still remains to be seen if he can shake it off and make the playing eleven on Wednesday.
Another call will have to be taken on Mohammad Hasnain, who was picked over Haris Rauf in the second T20I but did not set the world on fire by any means, leaking 25 runs in his two overs in exchange for just a single wicket.
Pakistan have had a long and successful history of volunteering as launching pad for the careers of little-known players. The tourists’ generosity was once again on full display when they turned George Linde into a match-winner. The left-arm spinner was given three top-order wickets, gifted as many catches, and if that wasn’t enough, he also had a cameo with the bat in the run chase, scoring an unbeaten 20 off 10 to take home a deserved man-of-the-match award.
Pakistan have so far played five international matches on this tour: three ODIs and two T20Is. Of all the most lopsided game was the second T20I of Monday.
The nature of the defeat was such that it has every chance of propelling the confidence of the depleted hosts and forcing the stronger tourists into a meltdown that is always around the corner with them.
The Proteas will likely stick with the winning combination amid calls for the inclusion of the talented Kyle Verreynne, who misses out mysteriously despite an impressive showing against Pakistan in the 3rd ODI defeat.
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