Pakistan and South Africa go head to head in the first of two Twenty20 matches in the UAE. The match will be played on Tuesday, Oct 26th at Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi. The series will also see five ODIs and two test matches being played.
Pakistan is emerging from a controversy-hit summer this year, fresh from their loss in both the test and ODI series against England. South Africa on the other hand, has just subjected Zimbabwe to a crushing series defeat, winning all three of their ODI matches and blanking the visitors 2-0 in the Twenty20s .
Pakistan has lost three of its top players - Mohammed Asif, Mohammed Amir and Salman Butt - to spot-fixing allegations while premier bastman Yusuf Mohammed is out due to a hamstring injury. The side will be lead by its limited overs captain Shahid Afridi who hopes his team can overcome the disappointment of the match-fixing scandal and prepare for next year's World Cup in the subcontinent. He also stated that Pakistan's spinners would play a crucial role in their various encounters.
The tour has already been struck by much commotion with several selectors, former players and coach Waqar Younis claiming that the selection committee did not consult them before announcing Pakistan's squad.
South Africa's Twenty20 side will be led by Johan Botha after Graeme Smith withdrew from the Twenty20 captaincy earlier this year. Some encouraging news for the Proteas is that fast bowler Morne Morkel, who was out with an injury, is expected to make a comeback in Tuesday's Twenty20 while middle-order batsman J P Duminy is in paramount form after scoring 96 not out in the Kimberly T20 against Zimbabwe.
The Proteas possess an impressive record against Pakistan in ODIs and Test matches, but were twice beaten by their opponents in the T20 World Championships.
The pitch at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium is known is to be slow which may be a cause of concern for the South African batsmen as they get set to tackle the threat of Pakistan's spinners.