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South Africa

South Africa leave out Tahir as Zimbabwe look to bounce back

SA v Zim, 2nd T20I, preview

South Africa, 1-0 up in the three-match Twenty20 International series, have left out star leg-spinner Imran Tahir so as to give the others – mainly Tabraiz Shamsi – a chance.

South Africa v Zimbabwe
2nd T20I
Senwes Park, Potchefstroom
Tuesday, 9 October, 06:00 PM local time, 04:00 PM GMT

It’s been one-way traffic since Zimbabwe reached South Africa, even though the low scores in the one-day internationals did suggest competitive clashes. South Africa won the ODIs by five wickets, 120 runs and four wickets, and then won the first T20I by 34 runs as Tahir ran amok.

Tahir, in fact, has been a thorn in Zimbabwe’s side right through the series. He was the top bowler with 10 wickets in the ODIs, and won the Player of the Series award, and then picked up 5/23 in the T20I.

Clearly, South Africa don’t need to see what he can do any more, and have shifted their focus to the other key spinner in the side: Shamsi.

Shamsi’s has been a stop-start international career, and four wickets in seven T20Is at an average of 52 is poorer than his team expect of him. Most recently, he went wicketless in the final ODI and the first T20I. In fact, the 72 runs Shamsi conceded in his 10 overs in the ODI in Paarl were the most by a South African against Zimbabwe.

Tabraiz Shamsi has a chance to impress the team management
Tabraiz Shamsi has a chance to impress the team management

With big ICC events coming up, South Africa will want to see how Shamsi goes. Similarly, Gihahn Cloete and Christiaan Jonker, newcomers who didn’t have too good a time in the first game, will try to make the most of another opportunity. Rassie van der Dussen, who scored a half-century in the first T20I, will also hope to build on his reputation.

If South Africa are in a mood to experiment, they can also look at Robbie Frylinck, the fast-bowling all-rounder who has played two T20Is in the past, and stick with the likes of Junior Dala.

Zimbabwe have more to worry about than South Africa, and their problems, chiefly, lie in the batting department. They could have been much more competitive in the three ODIs, and the first T20I, had their batsmen done more to support the bowlers.

It hasn’t happened so far despite a strong line-up: Chamu Chibhabha, Hamilton Masakadza, Brendan Taylor, Tarisai Musakanda, Sean Williams, Peter Moor and Elton Chigumbura, the top seven in the last game, are definitely capable of scoring more than 126 – Moor, really, was the only one to show fight, scoring 44 in 21 balls.

If the batsmen lift their game and take Zimbabwe around the 150-160 region, this could get exciting.

Key players

Tabraiz Shamsi (South Africa): For someone who is quite a regular in T20 leagues around the world and has played 96 games in the format over the years, the left-arm wrist-spinner hasn’t quite made a mark internationally yet. Tahir will likely remain South Africa’s first-choice spinner for the foreseeable future, but it’s a chance for Shamsi to make a statement, one he mustn’t let go of.

Brendan Taylor (Zimbabwe): He is certainly Zimbabwe’s best batsman, and was in scintillating form earlier in the year in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 at home. But, against South Africa, he has been below his best. With the series still alive, it might just be the stage for him to come roaring back.

Brendan Taylor will hope to rediscover his touch
Brendan Taylor will hope to rediscover his touch


It should be a pleasant day in Potchefstroom, and if the stray clouds don’t have too much of a say, there should be runs on offer for the batsmen.


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

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