Virat Kohli will not press the panic button after Pakistan defeated his India side in a 10-wicket thumping at the T20 World Cup.

India had lost just one of their last eight T20I meetings with Pakistan while they had collected five successive T20 World Cup wins but Azam's side prevailed in their Super 12 Group 2 opener.

Kohli's 57 – his 29th half-century in the format in which he is the leading run scorer in history (3,216) – guided India to 151-7.

However, India had lost all eight games defending 160 or lower and that trend continued Sunday.

Babar Azam and Mohammed Rizwan combined for a 152-run opening stand, the highest opening partnership against India and the second-highest in the history of the competition, to see Pakistan to a maiden victory over India in the competition.

Yet despite conceding Pakistan outclassed his side, Kohli insisted India would not begin to worry in the early stages of the tournament.

"We did not execute the things that we wanted to but credit is certainly due – they outplayed us today," Kohli said at the post-match presentation.

"When you lose three early it's very difficult to come back, especially when you know the dew is coming. They were very professional with the bat as well. 

"Hitting through the line was not as easy in the first half as it seemed in the Pakistan innings, so when you know the conditions can change, you need 10-20 extra runs. 

"But some quality bowling from Pakistan didn't let us get off the blocks. We're certainly not a team that presses the panic button, it's the start of the tournament, not the end."

Meanwhile, Azam – who is the leading scorer in the last three years of T20I cricket with 1,241 runs – credited Shaheen Afridi's excellent opening bowling spell in which he managed 3-31, while also praising his opening partner Rizwan.

"We executed our plans well and the early wickets were very helpful," Azam said after Kohli had spoken. 

"Shaheen's wickets gave us a lot of confidence and the spinners dominated as well. The plan with Rizwan is always to keep it simple. We tried to get deep in the crease and from about the 8th over the dew came in and the ball came on nicely. 

"This is just the start, we have the confidence to build on now. It will remain match by match for us. 

"The pressure on us wasn't that much - we weren't thinking of the record against India at all. I only wanted to back all our players who've been preparing well. 

"When you play tournaments before a big World Cup, it helps and our players came in with a lot of confidence because of that."

Babar Azam and Mohammed Rizwan both scored half-centuries as Pakistan recorded their first ever T20 World Cup win over India with a 10-wicket triumph.

India had lost just one of their last eight T20I meetings with Pakistan while they had collected five successive T20 World Cup wins – the joint longest streak in the competition.

But Shaheen Afridi (3-31) gave his country early hope as he struck twice to remove both Rohit Sharma for a first-ball duck and KL Rahul (three), with Hasan Ali (2-44) dismissing Suryakumar Yadav (11) to leave India 36-3 at the end of the powerplay.

However, captain Virat Kohli (57) – who has scored the most runs in men's T20I history (3,216) - responded emphatically as he registered his 29th half-century in the format to lift his side to 151-7 at the end of their 20-over allocation.

Kohli's side had lost all eight T20Is in which they posted a first-innings total under 160 since 2018 and that trend looked set to continue as Azam (68 not out) and Rizwan (79 not out) enjoyed a century opening stand inside 13 overs.

The openers motored on as they managed the highest opening partnership ever against India, Azam taking 40 balls to reach his half-century and Rizwan taking one delivery more before the former sealed victory with 13 balls to spare in their first Super 12 Group 2 game.

India's openers struggle

Rohit, who has hit the second-most sixes in the history of the competition (133), offered India experience at the top of the order but his tournament got off to the worst start as he was removed lbw for a golden duck.

His opening partner, Rahul, did not last much longer as the Punjab Kings captain disappointed following warm-up scores of 51 and 39 after his blistering 98 not out in his final IPL 2021 game.

Magical Azam continues remarkable form

In the last three years, no one has scored more T20I runs than Azam's 1,241. Kohli is second on the list, with 1,050.

The Pakistan leader produced a captain's knock to see his side over the line in a famous victory, perfectly kick-starting their World Cup campaign as he smashed six fours and two maximums for his 68.

Virat Kohli says Hardik Pandya can make a big impact for India as a specialist batsman in the T20 World Cup as "you cannot create overnight" what the India all-rounder brings at number six.

Pandya continues to be troubled by a long-standing back injury but will be in the India side for their first match of the World Cup against fierce rivals Pakistan at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday.

India captain Kohli is backing Pandya to deliver with the bat for the tournament favourites despite his lack of runs in the Indian Premier League.

Kohli said: "Honestly, I feel that Hardik presently with his physical condition is getting better in terms of being prepared to bowl at least two overs for us at a certain stage in this tournament.

"We strongly feel that we can make the most of the opportunity at hand until the time he starts bowling, we've considered a couple of other options to chip in for an over or two.

"So, we're not bothered about that at all. What he brings at that number six spot is something you cannot create overnight."

Pakistan have lost all five of their T20 World Cup matches against India - including the final in the inaugural edition of the tournament in 2007.

Yet Babar Azam's side are on an 11-match T20 winning streak in the United Arab Emirates and the skipper says they can get the better of their biggest rivals in their Super 12 Group 2 opener.

Babar said: "We have forgotten what happened in the past and we are trying to focus on the future. We want to use our ability and confidence on the day of the match so that we can get a better result.

"Records are meant to be broken. The matches between Pakistan and India are always full of intensity so we need to perform well in all three departments of the game.

"The boys are excited to play the World Cup and we have a crucial match on Sunday. A winning impact is necessary and then we will go match by match."

Babar Azam’s half-century for Pakistan helped condemn West Indies to a seven-wicket loss in their first warm-up match in Dubai on Monday.

After a COVID-19 enforced postponement, the T20 World Cup will finally get underway on Sunday.

Initially scheduled to take place in Australia last year, and then India following the postponement, the competition will now take place in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

A first round featuring eight teams, including debutants Namibia and Papua New Guinea as well as 2014 champions Sri Lanka (who have reached three T20 World Cup finals, more than any other side), gets the tournament up and running, with four teams progressing into the Super 12 stage.

The West Indies are aiming to defend their title, having edged out England in the 2016 edition. Eoin Morgan's team, who have the world's top T20 batsman in their ranks, are sure to be one of the main challengers for the Windies' crown.

Virat Kohli's India are among the favourites, while Pakistan will be hoping captain Babar Azam delivers. Australia and New Zealand (the most economic side when it came to bowling in 2016) cannot be discounted either, with South Africa also improving in recent years.

It promises to be a thrilling tournament and, with the help of Opta, Stats Perform looks at some of the key data points heading into the tournament.

 

Gayle on the record trail

The Windies have won two of the last three T20 World Cups, triumphing in 2016 and 2012 either side of Sri Lanka's success, and they remain the only team to have won the tournament on multiple occasions. Key to their sustained success has been Chris Gayle, who at 42, is still the face of the sport in the Caribbean.

He is just 80 runs away from becoming the second player to score 1,000 runs at the T20 World Cup. In fact, he needs only 97 runs to surpass Mahela Jayawardene's record tally of 1,016. Gayle already holds one competition record, for the number of sixes (60), while he averages 40 across 26 innings at the tournament, with a brilliant strike rate of 146.7.

New Zealand great Brendon McCullum (123) is the only player to have a higher T20 World Cup score than Gayle's 117, and you would not bet against the Windies talisman claiming that record either.

Gayle will have able support from the likes of Kieron Pollard (1,378 T20 runs), Dwayne Bravo (1,229) and Lendl Simmons (1,508), not to mention Nicholas Pooran.

Despite batting in the middle order, Pooran hit the second-highest number of sixes in this year's Caribbean Premier League (25). He also has form in the middle east, having struck 350 runs at a rate of 170 in the most recent edition of the Indian Premier League.

 

Malan and Livingstone to lead England

The Windies' first opponents in the Super 12 phase will be England, who will be out for revenge. They had a batting strike rate of 148 in 2016, the best of any team, but still fell short. Yet while the West Indies are now ninth in the ICC's T20I rankings, Morgan's men sit top of the pile.

Dawid Malan is the star batsman. He is ranked number one in the world in T20Is, with a rating of 841, way clear of second-placed Babar (819). Over 30 innings, he has amassed 1,123 runs at an average of 43.2 and a strike rate of 139.3.

Morgan, not shy of a big innings himself, is also able to call on Liam Livingstone, who has made a fantastic start to his T20I career. 

From seven innings, Livingstone has hit 206 runs with a strike rate of 167.5. His high score of 103 is the joint-highest in England's squad, level with Malan (103 not out).

As was the case at the 2019 World Cup, England's batting depth is exceptional, though they are shorn of Ben Stokes, who always seems to deliver when it matters most.

 

Kohli's last shot

Not too far behind Malan in the ICC's T20I batsman rankings is India star Kohli, who is stepping down as the captain in the shortest format of the game following the World Cup.

Winners of the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007, India have only reached one other final, back in 2014. Kohli was named player of the tournament, top-scoring with 319 runs, and as he prepares to bow out as captain, he will be determined to cap off his tenure on a high.

No player has made more half-centuries in the competition than the 32-year-old (level with Gayle on nine), though Kohli is yet to log a century.

Kohli's hopes may well rest on the shoulders of Rohit Sharma. The opener debuted with an unbeaten half-century back in 2007 and has made 111 T20I appearances, behind only Shoaib Malik (116) and Mohammed Hafeez (113).

Only Martin Guptill (147) has struck more sixes than Sharma (133) in the format, while over the last five years, India have won every time the batsman has scored 50+ runs.

 

Captain fantastic

Shahid Afridi has taken the most wickets of any player in T20 World Cup history (39). Indeed, Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan has taken the most wickets at the tournament of any player set to participate in this edition (30), which shows the void Pakistan are having to fill following Afridi's retirement.

They do, however, possess a supreme batsman in the form of captain Babar. 

Since his T20I bow in 2016, Babar has tallied up 2,204 runs. His average of 46.9 puts him third on the all-time T20I list (20+ innings), behind Kohli (52.7) and his fellow opener Mohammad Rizwan (48.4), who provides another string to Pakistan's bow.

Babar, who has only managed one century to date (122 from 59 balls against South Africa earlier this year) was the fastest player to 2,000 T20I runs (52 innings) beating Kohli's previous best of 56, and an enticing encounter between the sub-continental rivals takes place on October 24.

Half-centuries from Babar Azam and Fawad Alam wrested the early initiative from the West Indies and put Pakistan in a position of strength at the end of the first day of the second Betway Test at Sabina Park on Friday.

The first Test between Pakistan and West Indies hangs in the balance after Babar Azam made a crucial half-century either side of a rain delay on day three in Jamaica.

Pakistan appeared to be in the ascendancy early on Saturday when they quickly knocked off the final two wickets to limit West Indies' first-innings lead to 36, all out for 253.

But the tourists were 65-4 after Jayden Seales struck twice in the 26th over, suddenly struggling and just 29 in front.

Crucially, Babar and Mohammad Rizwan (30) then put on 56 for the fifth wicket, which belatedly arrived when play resumed following a break for the weather.

Captain Babar remained and he had 54* at stumps, still unbeaten with Pakistan on 160-5, 124 ahead.

Seales unsettles Pakistan

Teenage pace bowler Seales threatened to really upset Pakistan in a stunning over. After taking 3-70 in the first innings, the 19-year-old struck with the first ball of a new spell, drawing an edge from Abid Ali (34), and then added another as Fawad Alam was caught behind for a three-ball duck.

Rizwan and rain slow Windies

That Seales burst left Pakistan reeling, four down and scarcely leading. But Rizwan arrived for a vital turn with the bat, contributing to a partnership with Babar that reached 52 before an early tea was called due to the rain. He did not last much longer, but Rizwan allowed Babar to settle again.

Pakistan posted a record total before staving off a historic Liam Livingstone onslaught as they won a high-scoring opener in the T20I series against England.

Captain Babar Azam led the way with 85 while opening partner Mohammad Rizwan contributed 63 to help Pakistan – swept 3-0 in the recent one-dayers when facing makeshift opponents – reach an imposing 232-6 in Nottingham.

An innings that struggled for early momentum would finish with a flurry of boundaries, including 152 runs coming from the final 10 overs.

England, who had seen returning skipper Eoin Morgan win the toss and opt to bowl first, lost wickets early and often in the powerplay overs to hamper their reply.

Livingstone, however, kept his team in the race, hitting a maiden international century in stunning fashion. He reached the milestone from a mere 42 balls, making it the fastest ton for England in the shortest format.

Yet with his side's hopes resting firmly on his shoulders, the right-hander fell immediately after reaching three figures with a ninth six, caught in the deep for 103 off the bowling of Shadab Khan when trying to repeat the trick.

The innings finished up at 201, Shaheen Shah Afridi (3-30) taking the final wicket with four balls to spare as Pakistan triumphed by 31 runs.

Amid the carnage in just the third T20I England have played at Trent Bridge, Mohammad Hasnain returned impressive figures of 1-28 from four overs. Shadab was far more expensive, going for 52 runs during his allocation, but he did crucially claim three wickets.


Openers lay the platform

Babar and Rizwan put on 150 despite getting off to a sedate start. Indeed, Pakistan failed to register a six in the first half of their innings yet finished up hitting 12 maximums, England's bowlers unable to stem the sudden flow of runs.

Fakhar Zaman (26) and Mohammad Hafeez (24) hit three apiece during late cameos, while debutant Azam Khan smacked a four from his first ball in international cricket during the final over.

Livingstone makes expedition into record books

Coming in at number five with his team 48-3, Livingstone set about the Pakistan bowlers instantly in the face of a tall order. He reached his half-century from 17 balls – England's previous record for that landmark had been 21 deliveries – and just kept on going, despite receiving limited support.

Jason Roy had made 32 in a hurry at the top of the order, but this was a one-man show for a team welcoming back several regulars following a coronavirus outbreak that had stopped them being involved in the one-dayers.

England completed a clean sweep of their ODI series with Pakistan as Ben Stokes' team mounted a record run chase at Edgbaston.

Set a target of 332 to win, England went into their innings knowing they would have to beat the previous record chase in an ODI in Birmingham by over 50 runs in order to seal a 3-0 series triumph.

Babar Azam's superb 158 had guided Pakistan into a commanding position, but James Vince's maiden ODI century and an impressive 77 from Lewis Gregory inspired the England side in front of a typically vociferous crowd.

And, on the eve of the two-year anniversary of England's World Cup triumph, Brydon Carse – who earlier took a five-wicket haul on his third ODI appearance – delivered the final blow to secure a three-wicket win for Stokes' second-string team.

England's hopes looked glum after Babar's sublime innings. The Pakistan captain came in after four overs, with Fakhar Zaman having fallen to Saqib Mahmood (3-60).

The skipper combined for a 92-run stand with Imam-ul-Haq (56) – bowled out by a magnificent Matt Parkinson delivery – before then mounting a third-wicket partnership worth 179 with Mohammad Rizwan, who plundered 74 off 58 balls.

Carse finally ended Babar's stand in the final over, with the paceman completing his haul two balls later by dismissing Shaheen Afridi for a duck.

Phil Salt followed his 60 at Lord's in emphatic fashion, hitting 16 runs off the first over to give England a fantastic start, though fellow opener Dawid Malan lasted just two deliveries.

Salt's snappy innings came to an end with England at 53-2, but that brought Vince to the crease.

Zak Crawley (39) and Stokes (32) offered support, but their dismissals were followed by England slumping to 165-5, meaning Vince had to provide some impetus.

With Gregory, Vince – who hit 11 boundaries – helped to put on a partnership of 129; by the time he clipped a Haris Rauf ball to mid-off to be out for 102, England needed 38 to win.

Gregory followed Vince to the pavilion soon after, but Craig Overton (18 not out) paved the way for Carse to cap a fine day with a boundary down the ground.

 

VINCE STAKES HIS CLAIM

For so long a nearly man of England's international set-up, Hampshire's Vince has taken his chance in this series.

He scored 56 at Lord's and finally got over the hurdle of a first international limited-overs hundred, to surely put himself right in the selectors' thoughts for England's next ODI series.

BABAR'S EFFORTS LET DOWN BY POOR FIELDING

An ODI career-best from Babar should have been enough to propel his team to victory, yet Pakistan let themselves down in the field.

Three huge chances went down, and their sloppiness was perhaps summed up best by Gregory's dismissal – Shadab Khan left arguing, albeit jovially, with his captain after having to take a catch which really should have been the wicketkeeper's.

The sides meet in a three-match Twenty20 series next, starting on Friday, and Pakistan must improve if they are to restore some pride.

Pakistan will be aiming to extend their winning run in Test cricket when they take on Zimbabwe in the second and final match of the series, which starts on Friday.

Babar Azam's side crushed their hosts by an innings at the Harare Sports Club in the previous meeting, making it three victories on the spin in the format.

Another success at the same venue will see Pakistan achieve their best Test-win streak since managing five consecutive triumphs between December 2011 and February 2012.

Zimbabwe, in contrast, have not prevailed on home soil since September 2013, recording two draws and eight defeats since that last success over Pakistan.

Their problems in the opener stemmed from a lack of runs; bowled out for 176 first time around, they managed just 134 in the second innings.

No home player registered a half-century as Pakistan pace bowler Hasan Ali finished with nine wickets in the match to help his team charge over the line inside three days.

Pakistan could even afford for skipper Babar to get a first-ball duck as they piled up 426 in their one and only innings, Fawad Alam leading the way with 140 as he showed Zimbabwe how to play on a sluggish pitch, batting for nearly five hours in total.

The all-rounder's century was his third in five Tests, having made 102 against New Zealand last December and then 109 in the first Test with South Africa in Karachi in January.

Prince Masvaure did not bat for Zimbabwe in their second innings due to a thumb injury that rules him out of contention. However, captain Sean Williams could be fit to return to action, while Craig Ervine and Wesley Madhevere may also be back to bolster the home team's line-up.

 

Hasan on the rise

Pace bowler Hasan claimed career-best figures of 5-36 in Zimbabwe's second innings, his third five-wicket haul in Test cricket in 2021. Indeed, he has taken 21 scalps at an average of just 15.5 in the format this calendar year.

His reward is a move up to 20th in the ICC Test rankings for bowlers, having only been recalled to the XI earlier this year for the home series with South Africa after a two-year spell out in the cold.

Taylor-made milestone in sight

Zimbabwe's stand-in captain Brendan Taylor admitted his team failed to capitalise on the opportunity to bat first after winning the toss in the opener, bundled out inside two sessions.

He will hope to contribute more himself, particularly with a landmark in sight. Taylor is 66 away from becoming only the third man to post 1,000 Test runs at Harare Sports Club, a feat only previously achieved by Andy and Grant Flower.

Key match facts

- Zimbabwe have managed to record one multi-game Test series victory over Pakistan (D1, L5); after going 0-1 down in this two-game series, they cannot improve upon that record this time around.
- Pakistan have won five of the past six Tests between the nations, while Zimbabwe have gone six without success at Harare Sports Club (D1, L5).
- Zimbabwe managed to catch nine of their 10 opportunities in the field during the series opener, while Pakistan dropped four catches and only recorded a 60 per cent success rate (6/10).
- Donald Tiripano was responsible for eight of the 10 runs scored from reverse sweeps in the first Test; he has logged more runs from that stroke than any other batsman in Tests during 2021 (35).
- Zimbabwe bowled 14 full tosses in their one innings in the series opener, almost three times the number Pakistan logged in their two attempts (five).

Babar Azam became the fastest player to reach 2,000 Twenty20 runs in international cricket as he helped Pakistan secure a series-clinching victory over Zimbabwe on Sunday.

Captain Babar made 52 but it was Mohammad Rizwan's unbeaten 91 that powered Pakistan to 165-3 in the third and final game at the Harare Sports Club.

That total proved beyond Zimbabwe, though Wesley Madhevere (59) had the hosts in contention. They were 102-1 at one stage in reply, only to lose three wickets for eight runs to scupper their hopes.

Tadiwanashe Marumani departed for 35 to trigger the mini collapse and, despite 20 from Brendan Taylor, the innings fell away in the closing stages, finishing up at 141-7 to lose by 24 runs.

Hasan Ali was the star performer for Pakistan with the ball, taking career-best figures of 4-18, as the tourists bounced back after a first ever loss to Zimbabwe in the format on Friday.

With his side bowled out for 99 when chasing in the previous game, Babar opted to bat first after winning the toss. Sharjeel Khan fell for 18 in the powerplay but the skipper combined with opener Rizwan to put on a crucial second-wicket stand worth 126.

The partnership eventually came to an end when Babar was caught in the deep in the final over, with Fakhar Zaman then falling immediately in similar fashion as he registered a first-ball duck.

Luke Jongwe benefited from the late double to finish with figures of 3-37, giving him nine wickets in the series at an average of 8.77. He had claimed 4-18 in his team's victory but the hosts were unable to pull off a repeat result.

The two nations now switch their focus to Test cricket. A two-match series begins in Harare on Thursday.


Rizwan gets maximum rewards

As was the case in the opening fixture, the home team appeared in a strong position in a run chase, only to falter as the finishing line drew into sight. Madhevere hit seven of his team's 16 fours, yet they did not manage a solitary six between them.

Indeed, Rizwan was the only player to clear the boundary rope in the match, doing so three times as he registered a fourth unbeaten half-century in his past seven T20 games.

Captain fantastic in fine form

The ever-consistent Babar has now managed 50 or more on 11 occasions in T20 cricket for Pakistan since the start of 2019, a fine run of form that has helped him reach a notable personal milestone.

He made it to the 2,000-run mark in 52 innings - four fewer than India skipper Virat Kohli. His career average in the format now stands at a hugely impressive 47.32.

Babar Azam starred with a magnificent 122 as Pakistan made light work of a target of 203-5 to thrash South Africa by nine wickets in the third T20I.

Captain Babar and Mohammad Rizwan (73 not out) combined in a remarkable opening stand of 197 off 17.4 overs, making light work of an imposing total posted by the Proteas, similarly thanks to 108 compiled at the top of the order by Janneman Malan and Aiden Markram, who scored 55 and 63 respectively.

Both openers fell to Mohammad Nawaz (2-38) – crucial blows before Babar and Rizwan took centre stage to give Pakistan a 2-1 lead in the five-match series.

Earlier on Wednesday, Babar usurped Virat Kohli at the top of the ODI batting rankings and he celebrated with his maiden ton in the shorted international format.

He reached the landmark off 49 deliveries, with Rizwan playing a relative anchor role, even though his 47-ball knock also progressed at a rapid rate

Babar just failed to see things through, caught behind when trying to ramp a bouncer outside off stump from Lizaad Williams (1-34), but Fakhar Zaman underscored Pakistan's dominance by hitting the next two deliveries for four to seal victory with two overs to spare.

It seemed utterly improbable to imagine South Africa being on the wrong side of such an emphatic result when Malan and Markram got to work.

Markram now has three successive T20I half-centuries, while Malan reached his 50 for the first time in the format.

However, after he spooned Nawaz to short third man with the score 143-3 after 14.1 overs, South Africa struggled to regain momentum, even though brisk knocks from George Linde (22) and Rassie van der Dussen (34 not out) looked to have given them plenty to defend. Babar and Rizwan had other ideas.

Babar brilliance to the fore once more

A century in the first ODI and a 94 in the third helped Babar to overhaul Kohli and he continued to make hay. Over the course of a mesmerising 59-ball stay, he hammered 15 fours and four sixes as he and Rizwan bent the Proteas attack to their will.

No tonic for Hendricks

It was hard going for all of South Africa's bowlers but left-arm seamer Beuran Hendricks will want to forget this one in a hurry. He sent down four overs at the cost of 55, without reward. Hendricks bowled three dot balls and was smoked for as many sixes.

Pakistan's Babar Azam has risen above Virat Kohli to take top spot in the ODI batting rankings.

After a fine showing in the recent series victory over South Africa, Babar replaced his India rival at the summit with 865 points to Kohli's 857.

Babar scored 103 in the opening fixture against the Proteas and closed the three-match showdown with a fine 94, earning the player of the match award.

"This is another milestone in my career, which will now require even more hard work and absolute consistency with the bat in order for me to hold on to the ranking for an extended period of time, like Sir Vivian Richards from January 1984 to October 1988 and Virat Kohli for 1,258 days," said Babar, who is sixth in the Test rankings and third in the T20I format.

"I have also previously topped the T20I rankings, but the ultimate ambition and goal is to lead the Test rankings, which are the real testament and reward to a batsman's calibre, reputation and skills.

"I understand to achieve this objective, I will not only have to perform consistently, but more importantly, against the top sides.

"I am looking forward to this challenge and remain confident I will be able to accomplish this target with the support of my team-mates and coaching staff."

Babar has played 80 ODIs, scoring 3,808 runs at an average of 56.83, a strike rate of 88.7, and with a highest score of 125 not out.

South Africa levelled the four-match Twenty20 series against Pakistan at 1-1 thanks to a convincing six-wicket win at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.

The Proteas - minus their Indian Premier League stars - had slipped to defeat in the opening game on Saturday but recovered impressively from that setback, with a disciplined bowling performance restricting their opponents to 140-9.

Aidan Markram led the reply with 54 from 30 balls and while there was a mid-innings wobble as they slipped to 98-4, the hosts still cruised to their victory target with six overs to spare.

Stand-in captain Heinrich Klaasen finished up unbeaten on 36, while George Linde was 20 not out from just 10 deliveries to complete a fine all-round performance.

Mohammad Rizwan had starred in Pakistan's successful run chase at the weekend, making an unbeaten 74, but fell for a first-ball duck this time.

The recalled Sharjeel Khan – playing his first international game since January 2017 – also departed early for eight, leaving the score at 10-2 in the third over of an innings that simply never gained momentum.

Skipper Babar Azam made 50 at a run-a-ball rate and Mohammad Hafeez contributed 32, the pair adding 58 for the third wicket.

However, three wickets apiece for Linde – who opened the bowling with his left-arm spin - and Lizaad Williams restricted Pakistan's final score. Tabraiz Shamsi also played his part with the ball, recording figures of 1-22 from his four overs.

The two teams meet again in the third T20 at Centurion on Wednesday, with the series concluding at the same venue two days later.


Rare failure for Rizwan

Rizwan had posted scores of 74 not out, 42, 51, 104 not out and 89 in his previous five T20 appearances for Pakistan. However, the impressive run of form came to a rapid halt on Monday.

The wicketkeeper-batsman fell to the first ball of the game, an ambitious attempt to hit Linde over the top only providing catching practice for Markram at mid-off.

Opening case continues

Markram made sure South Africa had no issues with the required rate in reply, hitting seven fours and three sixes in a 30-ball knock.

The opening batsman has hit back-to-back half-centuries in the format now, furthering his case for a spot in the full-strength line-up ahead of the T20 World Cup later in the year.

Temba Bavuma starts life as South Africa's new captain in white-ball cricket with an ODI series against Pakistan on home soil.

Bavuma has been handed the job through to the 2023 Cricket World Cup, replacing Quinton de Kock after the wicketkeeper-batsman had been leading the Proteas in all three formats on a temporary basis.

Twenty20 cricket may well be of greater importance for international teams right now in terms of planning - there is a World Cup in the shortest format to come later this year on Indian soil, plus another in Australia in 2022 - but the new reign begins with three 50-over fixtures.

Centurion hosts two of the one-dayers, including Friday's opener, with a fixture at the Wanderers in Johannesburg sandwiched in between.

South Africa lost in both the Test and T20 formats on their tour to Pakistan earlier this year, albeit they had an inexperienced squad on duty for the latter. Heinrich Klaasen was placed in charge as many of his compatriots departed to prepare to face Australia at home, only for those games to be cancelled.

The unexpected gap in the schedule has allowed South Africa to make changes with a focus on the long-term future – Dean Elgar is now the Test skipper – and there are some fresh faces in the one-day squad, with all-rounder Wihan Lubbe and fast bowler Lizaad Williams selected.

Aiden Markram and Wiaan Mulder have been recalled, while those players who will be involved in this year's Indian Premier League will be released early from international duty. With so many departing, opportunities will come for some of the less experienced individuals in the squad.

Pakistan sit just behind their hosts in sixth place in the International Cricket Council's team rankings, but go into the series having lost just one of their last nine ODI games, the solitary defeat coming in a Super Over against Zimbabwe in November 2020.

However, South Africa have won eight of their last 10 outings at Supersport Park - venue for the first and third games - and have a 4-2 record there when Pakistan are the visitors.

Both nations will be eager to pick up points in the World Cup Super League, particularly the Proteas as they prepare for ODI duty for the first time in over a year.

The uncapped Saud Shakeel was initially named in Pakistan's squad but has been ruled out with a leg injury, though fellow rookie Danish Aziz is expected to get a chance in the middle order after impressing in domestic action.


Bavuma takes centre stage

Bavuma will be the 16th captain for South Africa in one-day cricket; he has scored 335 runs and averages 55.8 in the format. However, this will be his first ODI appearance against Pakistan and, with players such as De Kock, David Miller, Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje among those bound for the IPL soon, the new skipper will hope to lead from the front.

Babar Lord's it over Proteas

Pakistan captain Babar Azam averages 65.7 in ODI action since the start of 2019, boasting a strike rate of 93.8 while scoring four centuries during that period. The right-handed batsman made 69 as his side won when the nations met during the 2019 Cricket World Cup at Lord's. However, neither made it beyond the round-robin stage of that tournament.

Key series facts

- South Africa and Pakistan have alternated between victory and loss in their last four ODI matches against each other; the last time they met was during the 2019 World Cup, when the Proteas lost by 49 runs.  

- South Africa have won their last three ODI matches (all against Australia); the last time the Proteas won more consecutive matches in the format was between January and March 2019 (six matches).

- Pakistan have a catch success rate of 72 per cent in ODIs since the start of 2019, the lowest share of any Test-playing nation in that time; they have dropped 40 of the 144 chances presented to them.

- South Africa have lost only one of the nine men's multi-game bilateral ODI series played against Pakistan (W8). However, the solitary defeat was at home when Pakistan toured in 2013.

- Fakhar Zaman (currently 47 innings) needs 40 to reach 2,000 runs in ODIs (1,960 runs); if he gets there in this game, he will be the third fastest to reach the milestone for Pakistan (Zaheer Abbas and Babar Azam).

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