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Friday, February 26, 2021

Pakistan, South Africa women T20I series starts on Friday

DURBAN : Pakistan women’s national cricket team will face South Africa in a three-match T20I series, which will be played at Durban’s Kingsmead Cricket Stadium from Friday. This will be the national side’s first international T20I format assignment since the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia last year.

Pakistan have played eight T20Is in South Africa to date and faced South Africa in six of them. The tourists have won two – all in the last tour in 2019 – and lost four.

Nida Dar was the leading run-getter (192 runs) and highest wicket-taker (five wickets) when Pakistan toured South Africa in 2019.

In the recently concluded three-match ODI series, the 34-year-old scored back-to-back half-centuries in the first two matches and finished as the third best batter with 124 runs. Aliya Riaz topped the batting charts as she scored 136 runs – which included her career-best 81 in the second ODI. The all-rounder enjoys a healthy 71.50 batting average against South Africa in T20Is – the third best for the batters, who have scored more than 100 runs in the format against them.

Pakistan captain Javeria Khan says her side is well equipped to challenge the hosts in their conditions. “It is a new series and presents us an opportunity to bounce back on the tour,” she told PCB Digital. “We have some exciting cricketers in our ranks who can leave a mark and they are eager to make the most of this series.

“All-rounders Nida Dar and Aliya Riaz have been in good form and their ability to hit the ball hard and contribute with the ball in the crucial middle overs provides good balance to the side. Diana Baig, who is on her first tour of South Africa, turned out to be the most successful bowler in the ODI series, which is a good sign for us and the presence of Aiman Anwar provides depth to our pace bowling department.

“We have impressive spinners in Anam Amin, Nashra Sandhu and Sadia Iqbal and I have no doubts that these players will raise their hands when the situation demands from them.”

In the recently concluded ODI series, Pakistan lost to the hosts by the margins of three runs, 13 runs and 32 runs and Javeria is hopeful that her side will learn from the mistakes. We played good cricket in chunks but squandered opportunities to grab the game. We needed our batters to provide us solid starts, which was not the case, and we unfortunately also let go of crucial chances while fielding.

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