Temba Bavuma has been ruled out of South Africa’s T20 series opener against Australia this Friday with a hamstring strain.
Bavuma sustained the injury while fielding against England at SuperSport Park on Sunday and will requite seven to 10 days rest. He will remain with the South African squad with a view to playing as early as this Sunday, in Port Elizabeth.
Bavuma’s diagnosis means that South Africa will go into the match one of the aspects of their game that worked best against England – their opening pair. Bavuma shared stands of 92, 48 and 84 with Quinton de Kock and started South Africa’s innings with intent.
With no replacement named in the squad, it is unclear who will join de Kock at the top of the order. Jon-Jon Smutshas some experience in the role, having opened in his first eight T20I innings, while Faf du Plessis has spent the last two IPL seasons at the top of the Chennai Super Kings order. Rassie van der Dussen, Heinrich Klaasen and the uncapped Pite van Biljon are alternative options.
Du Plessis, who stepped down from the captaincy on Monday, makes a return to the squad along with Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje after being rested from the England white-ball matches as South Africa look to continue experimenting with combinations ahead of the T20 World Cup later this year.
AB de Villiers, who is set to make a comeback at the event, is not involved in these matches but could play for South Africa after the IPL.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent
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