DHAKA - South Africa's Twenty20 captain Faf du Plessis on Saturday welcomed the new cricket rule which allows free hits after all kinds of no-balls in limited-over games. The new rule will come in effect Sunday when South Africa play Bangladesh in the first of the two Twenty20 internationals at Dhaka's Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.

Besides the no-ball rule, the International Cricket Council last month approved several changes in one-day and Twenty20 formats, including restrictions on batting powerplay and field placements. Only the free-hit rule will apply in the Twenty20 game. Previously a free-hit was given only after a no-ball that resulted from foot fault.

Du Plessis said the rule would discourage bowlers from throwing down beamers which he believed could change the games completely in the crucial last overs. "I think it's a good rule," Du Plessis said at a news conference in Dhaka on the eve of the game. "Games (are) won and lost when guys bowl beamers. Obviously when that rules comes in, it will make a huge difference," he said.

Du Plessis said he was happy to kick off the Bangladesh tour with Twenty20 matches that mark the start of a long season for South Africa leading up to ICC World Twenty20 in India in March 2016. Before the World Twenty20, the Proteas will host New Zealand and England followed by an away series in India.

"It's nice from a captain's point of view that the Twenty20 is more important this year," said Du Plessis. "Last year... the focus was on ODI cricket. It's nice this year (that) all the big players are available for the games." Du Plessis's counterpart Mashrafe Mortaza said Bangladesh was not thinking ahead too much but focusing on the challenges at hand. "Frankly, we are not thinking about World Twenty20 yet, not at least before these two matches," he said.

"There is plenty of time left for the (World T20) tournament. I don't see any reason for us to think about World Twenty20 before playing these matches." Mortaza said Bangladesh's Twenty20 win over former world champions Pakistan in April had boosted the home side's confidence. "We have got just one option, which is to play them (South Africa) with confidence. If we fear them, better we stay at home," he said. The second and final Twenty20 will be held on Tuesday at the same ground.