Pakistan 'game-changer' Nawaz savours all-rounder role

By: AFP
Published: 12:09 PM, 5 Sep, 2022
Muhammad Nawaz. AFP
Caption: Muhammad Nawaz. AFP
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Mohammad Nawaz wants to be a "proper all-rounder" after his batting blitz set up a thrilling win for Pakistan against arch-rivals India in the Asia Cup Super Four.

Chasing 182 for victory, Pakistan achieved the target with one ball and five wickets to spare in Dubai after Mohammad Rizwan hit 71 and Nawaz made 42.

Nawaz, a left-arm spinner who usually bats at eight but was promoted to number four, joined Rizwan when the score was 63-2 and the two put on a key stand.

The 28-year-old Nawaz smashed six fours and two sixes in his 20-ball knock to put the chase on track.

Nawaz, who returned bowling figures of 1-25 in India's 181-7, also took three catches and was named man of the match.

"To play such an innings in a high-pressure game has definitely given me confidence," Nawaz told reporters after Sunday's victory in the regional T20 tournament which acts as a tune-up for the World Cup in October.

"I have got the opportunity to grow as a player and I will try my best to live up to the rising expectations.

"I will work hard and try to perform better as a proper all-rounder for the Pakistan team."

Nawaz fell in the 16th over and soon Rizwan was out after his second successive half-century.

Khushdil Shah (unbeaten 14) and Asif Ali, who made 16 off eight balls, hauled Pakistan over the line in a tense final over as they avenged their loss to India earlier in the tournament.

"We wanted to take it as deep as we could because the kind of players we have in Khushdil and Asif, even if we need 10-12 runs per over, they can easily get it," Rizwan said.

India's Virat Kohli, who returned to form with 60 off 44 balls to hold the Indian innings together until he got run out in the last over, said Nawaz's knock made the difference.

"They took a chance to promote him and extend his batting stay and if the situation gets difficult they have (recognised) batsmen left," Kohli told reporters.

"So the way he batted it was a game-changing moment, the way I read the game."

The top two teams in the Super Four, which also has Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, will make the Asia Cup final on September 11.

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AFP

Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.