LAHORE - Former champions Pakistan will play warm-up matches against New Zealand and South Africa ahead of 5th edition of International Cricket Council (ICC) World T20 which gets underway in Bangladesh from March 16.

According to the programme released by the ICC, Pakistan will take on New Zealand in first match at Sher-e-Bangla Stadium, Mirpur, Dhaka, on March 17. M Hafeez's Pakistan will then take on South Africa , a team against which they have played quite a few matches recently, in their second warm-up game in Fattullah on March 19.

Flamboyant all-rounder Shahid Afridi, who played an instrumental along with Fawad Alam in steering Pakistan to the Asia Cup final, is likely to miss the warm-up matches due to back injury. Afridi may join the Pakistan squad late and ill not travel with the team. A reliable source in Pakistan Cricket Board was quoted as saying that the team management had been informed that Afridi would not accompany the team which will leave for Bangladesh on Thursday night. "He will not leave with the team on Thursday night as the Board first wanted him to be cleared in a fitness test by the medical panel before he can join the team for the World T20 Cup," the sourcesaid.

Afridi, who was the toast of the nation after powering Pakistan to victories over India and Bangladesh in the Asia Cup, sustained the groin injury in the match against Bangladesh. A 15-member Pakistan squad is due to leave Dhaka on Thursday/Friday to take part in the event. Pakistan will play India in their opening match on March 21 of the World T20 before taking on Australia on March 23, a team from the qualifying group on the March 27 and end the group stages with a clash against defending champs West Indies on April 1.