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Miller to lead South Africa in remaining Twenty20s as Pakistan eye comeback

JOHANNESBURG: South African captain Faf du Plessis has been rested for the last two Twenty20 Internationals against Pakistan. Middle-order batsman David Miller has been appointed as the stand-in captain ahead of the second T20 International here at the Wanderers on Sunday.

The Proteas hold a 1-0 lead following their six-run win in the opening match at Newlands, Cape Town on Friday.

South Africa’s national selection panel convener, Linda Zondi, explained the decision to replace Du Plessis with Miller. “Giving David a leadership role is another way that we are broadening our leadership resources within our respective squads.

David has a wealth of experience and is a well-respected figure within the Proteas environment. The last two matches will be an opportunity for us to grow potential leaders for the future,” Zondi said.

Earlier, Quinton de Kock, was ruled out of the remaining T20 Internationals after he sustained a groin injury during the fifth One-day International on Wednesday.

A replacement has been called up in the form of Janneman Malan, who plays for the Cape Cobras.

Malan has been effective in T20 Internationals, playing valuable knocks for the Cape Cobras and the Cape Town Blitz in the much recent Mzansi Super League, in which he tallied 305 runs with two half-centuries in Blitz’s road to the final. He recently scored 67 and 168 in a first-class game against Warriors at Port Elizabeth.

“Janneman was one of the standout players during the Mzansi Super League and has been putting in the runs consistently at franchise level,” Zondi said.

“He is an exciting young prospect, this is a great opportunity for us to continue blooding players at international level.”

Prior to the narrow T20 loss at Newlands, top-ranked Pakistan had recorded nine consecutive victories in T20 Internationals. And Shoaib Malik, the stand-in captain in place of suspended Sarfraz Ahmed, and his men must be looking to return to winning ways after Pakistan lost the preceding ODI series to Proteas 3-2.

The tourists will be encouraged by their bowlers’ performance in the death overs. In Cape Town, they took five quick wickets to restrict South Africa’s middle order which was set to take the game away from Pakistan whose left-arm quick Usman Shinwari (3-31) will be raring to go again in Johannesburg.

Pakistan, however, will be aware of the need for their batsmen to convert their smaller scores into bigger knocks. Babar Azam, Hussain Talat and Malik had starts in the first T20 but failed to go on and finish the job.

Veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez, who was ruled out of the first game with a hamstring problem, is set to return in Johannesburg.

Malik might also consider bringing in one of Shaheen Shah Afridi and Mohammad Amir to infuse more pace into the attack.

The third and final T20 International will be staged in Centurion on Feb 6.

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