IF South Africa are to have a successful start to their Super Eight campaign in Colombo today they need to do something they have never done at the ICC World Twenty20 before – beat Pakistan.
Unpredictable at the best of times, this is one event the Pakistanis tend to turn up for. They have the most appearances in finals at the tournament, having won in 2009 and finished second in 2007 – and one can sense it is an event that gets their juices flowing.
The Proteas have faced Pakistan twice in the World T20, losing in both 2009 and 2010.
Outside of the tournament, SA have beaten Pakistan in all three of their other clashes.
But it is in crunch tournament matches where South Africa have come up short in the past. They have only made the semifinal stage of this tournament once, in 2009, where they lost to, you have guessed it, Pakistan.
To progress past the Super Eight, South Africa will have to win at least two of three matches against Pakistan, Australia (Sunday) and India (Tuesday).
After impressive group stage victories over Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka, captain AB de Villiers knows the importance of hitting the ground running today. He also realises the Proteas have under-achieved against Pakistan.
"In the World T20 in England, the one we lost, there was one of those poor games," De Villiers said yesterday.
"We bowled them out for around 145, I guess, and we just weren't up to it with the bat. I think [Shahid] Afridi bowled an unbelievable spell and got a few key wickets up front.
"But from there on we probably still should have won but never really pushed on. When the pressure moments presented themselves we weren't up for it."
South Africa's main emphasis with coach Gary Kirsten at the helm has been all about winning the big moments.
The team believes if they triumph in the one or two important moments they can win the battle.
"I just believe it's all about those pressure situations. We all know when they come around. It's one or two overs in a T20 game, and when they come you have just got to be up to it and be better than the opposition.
"That's what it's going to come down to [today] again."
South Africa are likely to make one change for today's match, bringing back left-arm spinner Robin Peterson for Faf du Plessis.
"Two spinners looks like the way forward, but we're still going to decide," De Villiers said.
South Africa will be pleased that their gun-man Richard Levi got among the runs in the group victory over Sri Lanka and they will be looking to him and Hashim Amla to get stuck into Pakistan seamer Umar Gul from the outset.
Although Gul is a threat, the Proteas' main focus will be on the spin of Afridi, Mohammad Hafeez and, the best of them all, Saeed Ajmal. If the Proteas are able to stifle that trio, the rest is likely to take care of itself.
South Africa's main weapon is the three-pronged seam attack of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Jacques Kallis.
All three have hit their areas in the lead-up to this clash, a fact acknowledged by Pakistan captain Hafeez.
"South Africa rely on their pace attack and we know that. There is no doubt they have one of the best attacks in the world at the moment with Steyn and Morne Morkel.
"Every team has different strengths and we are ready to take them on," Hafeez said.
South Africa's match today will be followed by an intriguing clash between India and Australia
řIn yesterday's matches, Sri Lanka beat New Zealand in a Super over (13/1 to 8/1) after the teams were tied on 174 runs each, and West Indies (179/5) beat England (164/4) by 15 runs.