It has largely been one-way traffic since the time Zimbabwe landed on South African shores. Having lost the One-Day International series 3-0, the visitors went down in the first Twenty20 International as well by 34 runs. Now, with the series on the line, Zimbabwe will be keen on putting their best foot forward when they face the hosts in the second T20I in Potchefstroom.
The first bit of good news for them is that their biggest nemesis so far on tour, Imran Tahir will not be there. Having picked up 15 wickets in the four games so far at an average of 7.6, Tahir has been released from the South Africa squad to “give all the bowlers a fair go in the series".
The focus, hence, shifts on Tabraiz Shamsi, who hasn’t looked at his best so far. In the first ODI, Shamsi conceded 72 runs in his 10 overs while in the first T20I as well he went for 43 runs in four overs without picking up a wicket. The left-arm spinner has had quite a stop-start international career so far and with the World Cup just eight months away, South Africa will want more out of him.
Gihahn Cloete and Christiaan Jonker, too having not had a good first outing in the opening T20I, will want to give a good account of themselves in the remaining two games.
The hosts might want to experiment a bit with their bowling attack as well. There is a chance Robert Frylinck might be slotted in. The bowling all-rounder, who has played two T20Is in the past will act as a good foil for the likes of Lungi Ngidi and Junior Dala.
Zimbabwe, on the other hand, have a fair few problems of their to sort out, especially in the batting department. Their top order has collectively failed to fire all through despite the likes Hamilton Masakadza, Brendan Taylor, Tarisai Musakanda, Sean Williams and Peter Moor in the mix. The visitors can do well to take a leaf out of Moor’s book. The batsman smoked 44 in just 21 deliveries in the last game showing the positivity that was so desperately needed in the Zimbabwe setup.
Their bowling though has remained excellent throughout with Kyle Jarvis, Chris Mpofu and Brandon Mavuta keeping Zimbabwe in the game. With the series still alive, the onus will remain on the batsmen to back the bowling.
The surface in Potchefstroom has generally been seamer-friendly and owing to a late start the ball is expected to d a fair bit under lights.
South Africa: Faf du Plessis (c), Junior Dala, Quinton de Kock, Jean-Paul Duminy, Robert Frylinck, Christiaan Jonker, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Dane Paterson, Andile Phehlukwayo, Tabraiz Shamsi, Gihahn Cloete, Rassie van der Dussen
Zimbabwe: Hamilton Masakadza (c), Solomon Mire, Neville Madziva, Brendan Taylor, Sean Williams, Peter Moor, Elton Chigumbura, Tendai Chisoro, Kyle Jarvis, Brandon Mavuta, Chris Mpofu, Chamu Chibhabha, Wellington Masakadza, Tarisai Musakanda, Tendai Chatara