Pakistan T20 player ratings v South Africa as Imad Wasim and Babar Azam impress

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A fine display by Imad Wasim in all three clashes.

It was a tough and chastening tour of South Africa to say the least for Pakistan who tasted series defeats across all three formats against the formidable hosts.

Despite the defeats in the ODI and Test series, the Men in Green did manage to end the tour on a high with a fine 27-run victory in the final T20 against the Proteas.

No1 ranked Pakistan gave a much better account of themselves in the T20 series where they ran the hosts close in the first two matches before finally sealing a win in the dead-rubber clash.

At the end of the T20 series, we look at how Pakistan’s players fared across the three matches.

Babar Azam – 8

The Pakistan stalwart continues to look better with each passing series and gave an excellent account of himself with an average of over 50 across the three clashes.

Fakhar Zaman – 4

A series and tour to forget for the explosive opener who was dismissed for scores of four, 14 and 17 in the three matches. He was woefully out of form in the Test and ODI clashes as well.

A tour to forget for the left-handed dasher.

A tour to forget for the left-handed dasher.

Hussain Talat – 7

The Pakistan youngster looked good with the bat in the defeats in the first and second T20s with scores of 40 and 55. However, his strike-rate left plenty to be desired at times.

Shoaib Malik – 6

Standing in as skipper for Sarfraz Ahmed, the Pakistan veteran started the series with a battling 49 in the first T20 but could not carry that momentum in the remaining two games.

Asif Ali – 5

The middle-order batsman failed to come to the party in the first and second ODIs but scored a vital 20-ball 25 in the final match of the series.

Imad Wasim – 8

The spinning all-rounder continues to grown from strength to strength since his return to the international fold and was extremely economical with the ball in the series while picking up three wickets.

Faheem Ashraf – 5

The Pakistan all-rounder was expensive with the ball in the first T20 before being dropped for the second. He was brought in for the final match and was expensive once again although he managed to grab two wickets.

Mohammad Rizwan – 5

With Sarfraz missing, it was an opportunity for Rizwan to stake his claim for the wicketkeeping role. He failed to get going in the first T20 but did redeem himself partially with a 26-run knock in the last clash.

Hasan Ali – 5

The Pakistan pacer looked bright in the opening T20 with figures of 1-34 but then conceded 48 runs in the second match before being dropped for the final clash.

Shadab Khan – 7

After going wicket-less in the first and second T20s, Shadab showed his all-round prowess with a match-winning effort in the third match. The 20-year-old leg-spinner continues to blossom into an excellent all-rounder in the making.

Shadab's stock continues to rise.

Shadab’s stock continues to rise.

Usman Shinwari – 6

The left-arm pacer was the pick of Pakistan’s bowlers in the first T20 with returns of 3-31 but he was taken for a whopping 63 runs including 29 in a single over in the second match. No surprise then that he was dropped for the final T20.

Shaheen Afridi – 7

The teenage pacer played no part in the first match of the series but showed why he has such a promising future with figures of 1-27 and 1-23 in the two games to follow.

Mohammad Amir – 8

The Pakistan pacer did not feature in the first or second T20s but returned with match-winning figures of 3-27 in the last game to help the visitors end the tour on a high note.

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Stakes high as Rohit Sharma's India aim to keep T20 series alive against New Zealand

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The series is on the line for Rohit Sharma and India.

After being crushed comprehensively in the first T20 in Wellington, India will hope Auckland brings about a change in fortune when they take on hosts New Zealand in the second match of the series on Friday.

The hosts were unrelenting in the first T20 as they thoroughly outclassed the visitors by 80 runs and will be itching to clinch the series with another victory in Auckland.

As the two teams get ready for the high-stakes second T20, we take a look at what the key talking points are.

INDIA GRAPPLE WITH TEAM COMBINATION

India’s playing XI in the series opener was as unbalanced as they come with the visitors opting to go with three wicketkeepers and as many all-rounders in the clash. The result was their heaviest T20 defeat in terms of runs and stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma has plenty of tinkering to do if India are to turn the tide.

While the three wicketkeepers – MS Dhoni, Dinesh Karthik and Rishabh Pant – should keep their places for the second T20, the tourists will be tempted to drop at least one all-rounder from the trio of Hardik Pandya, Vijay Shankar and Krunal Pandya.

Bolstering of the batting department is needed and that could see young Shubman Gill make his way into the playing XI for Friday. Another change India could make is to bring in wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav after leaving him out of the series opener.

Changes are also expected in the fast-bowling department with Khaleel Ahmed proving expensive in Wellington.

India could bring in Shubman Gill to bolster the batting.

India could bring in Shubman Gill to bolster the batting.

KIWIS AIM TO KEEP T20 JUGGERNAUT GOING

They were comprehensively put in the shade by India in the ODI series but the Kiwis have looked like a completely different beast in the T20 series.

The 80-run win in Wellington means that New Zealand have now won seven out of their nine T20 clashes against the Indians. Kane Williamson and his men seem to have all their bases covered in the playing department and as such, they will be desperate to avenge their ODI humiliation with a series-clinching win on Friday.

The Kiwis will be wary of India’s comeback powers given how strongly they bounced back from their eight-wicket defeat in the fourth ODI and will need to ensure they do not take their foot off the pedal this time.

The only change Williamson will be tempted to make on Friday is to bring in James Neesham after leaving out the all-rounder for the series opener.

Kiwis will want to keep the winning momentum going.

The Kiwis will want to keep the winning momentum going.

ROHIT POISED FOR BIG INNINGS

The visitors will be hoping for a much bigger contribution from their stand-in skipper Rohit when they take the field.

The opening batsman was looking in excellent form in the ODI series with scores of 87 and 62 in the second and third games respectively, but he has since gone completely off the boil.

The right-hander has not even managed to gain any starts in the three matches since, aggregating a paltry total of just 10 runs. Rohit’s prowess in the limited-overs formats needs no introduction with the India man being one of the most in-form players over the past three years.

With a record four T20I tons to his name, the Kiwis will be wary of a Rohit resurgence in the remainder of the series. The 31-year-old always finds a way to bounce back into form and it remains to be seen if he can the do the same on Friday.

Rohit has been subdued in his last three innings.

Rohit has been subdued in his last three innings.

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Gayle returns as Windies announce squad for first two ODIs against England

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Gayel returns to the ODI fold for the hosts.

West Indies will welcome back Chris Gayle to the international fold when take on England in the upcoming five-match ODI series.

Having not played any ODIs since July 2018, Gayle was included in West Indies 14-man squad for the opening two clashes against England.

The Windies stalwart did not play any part on his team’s tour of India and Bangladesh last year after making himself unavailable. The left-hander had instead opted to play in the Afghanistan Premier League and T10 League held in the UAE.

Along with Gayle, Evin Lewis too makes a return to the ODI fold for the first two matches. Lewis had withdrawn from Windies’ tour of India last year and had played only the T20 leg in the clashes against Bangladesh.

While Gayle and Lewis have been recalled, hard-hitting batsman Nicholas Pooran has been handed his maiden ODI call-up after impressing in the eight T20s he has played so far.

Fast bowled Shannon Gabriel has not been included in the squad along with veteran Marlon Samuels who is currently undergoing treatment for a knee injury.

“As we continue our Cricket World Cup preparations, the upcoming series against the top ranked ODI side is a great opportunity for us to gauge where we are as a team,” Windies chairman of selectors Courtney Browne stated.

“We welcome the return of Chris Gayle who missed the last two series and Ashley Nurse from injury. We are pleased to introduce Nicholas Pooran to the ODI cricket for the first time. He is clearly a young player with undoubted talent and we believe he can add value to our middle order.

“Shannon Gabriel remains very much in our World Cup plans but with a heavy workload expected in the Test series he will be considered for selection later in the ODI series.”

West Indies and England are currently due to meet in the third and final Test of the series which begins at St. Lucia on Saturday. The hosts have already captured the series after taking an unassailable 2-0 lead with two crushing wins.

The first ODI between the two sides will take place at Bridgetown in Barbados on February 20.

WEST INDIES 14-MAN SQUAD FOR FIRST AND SECOND ODIS

Jason Holder (c), Fabian Allen, Devendra Bishoo, Darren Bravo, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Evin Lewis, Ashley Nurse, Keemo Paul, Nicholas Pooran, Rovman Powell, Kemar Roach, Oshane Thomas.

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