Rizwan’s maiden T20 ton leads Pakistan to thrilling win over South Africa
Wicket-keeper Batsman Muhammad Rizwan continued to cash in on his rich form as he smashed the South African bowlers at will for his maiden ton in T20s that helped Pakistan register a nervy three runs win in first Twenty20 against South Africa at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium Thursday.
South Africa were well placed in their chase of 170 runs but could reach only 166-6. Pakistan’s spin attack led by leg-spinner Usman Qadir kept the Proteas batsmen under pressure and helped Pakistan to keep the pressure on South Africa.
Needing, 19 runs in last over bowled by Faheem Ashraf, as six from Dwaine Pretorius and then boundary from Bjorn Fortuin left Proteas needing a sixer for victory on the last ball. However, they could manage only two.
Usman was especially brilliant with the ball as his leg-breaks and wrong-uns were almost unplayable for the Proteas batsmen.
South Africa openers did well for their team as they put up 53 runs partnership for the first wicket. Janneman Malan scored 44 runs off 29 balls before he was clean bowled by Usman. He hit eight fours and a six in his innings. Usman also clean bowled next man in Jacques Snyman to reduce South Africa to 61-2 in nine overs. Usman finished his spell of four overs with impressive figures of 2-21.
Opener Reeza Hendricks kept the South Africa chase intact but no other batsman could stick with him to take the team to the line. Hendricks reached his fifty off 38 balls hitting seven boundaries.
Faheem Ashraf removed David Miller for 6 runs while Proteas captain Heinrich Klaasen was caught by Hussain Talat near the boundary roe off a Haris Rauf delivery.
A comic mix up and reluctance led to Hendricks demise in 18th over, courtesy to brilliant work of Rizwan who picked the ball, dived and found Hendricks short of the crease. Hendricks scored 54 off 42 balls.
After two balls, Haris sent Andile Phehlukwayo to back to the pavilion when he was caught on long-on boundary by Haider Ali while trying to go for a big six. He scored 14 runs off 8 balls that included a big six to Shaheen Afridi.
Haris proved quite expensive for Pakistan as his first spell of two overs cost 28 runs. He finished with figures of 2-44 in four overs.
Same was the case with Afridi as Proteas batsmen kept Pakistani pacers to the sword as dew factor played in their favour. He conceded 37 runs in his four-over spell. Faheem finished four overs with figures of 37-1 in three overs.
Left-arm spinner M Nawaz also bowled well as he gave away only 21 runs in his four overs though he remained wicketless.
Earlier, Rizwan scored a maiden T20 hundred to help Pakistan reach 169-6 in 20 overs. No other Pakistani batsmen could impress with the bat as it was only Rizwan’s unbeaten 104 runs that took Pakistan to a respectable total.
Rizwan reached his 50 in 35 balls with a six to Junior Dala in 11 the hour. He hit three sixes to Dala in the 11th hour to speed up the things for Pakistan who could reach 71-3 in at the half-way stage after 10 overs.
Rizwan got a reprieve in 19th over when Junior Dala failed to hold on to a running catch and ball ended in a boundary. He again was dropped in the last over by Snyman when he was on 96 runs.
He hit another sixer to reach the magical three figures, his first hundred in the shortest version of the game. He reached the mark on 64 balls and hit seven sixes and six boundaries in an emphatic unbeaten innings of 104 runs.
Rizwan has become the second Pakistani batsman to hit a T20 hundred after Ahmed Shehzad as well as second Pakistani batsman to hit hundreds in all three formats after Ahmed Shehzad.
He is also the second wicket-keeper in the world to hit tons in all three formats of the game. Earlier, New Zealand’s captain Brendon McCullum has this record to his name.
Pakistan were off to the worst possible start after putting into bat when the lost captain Babar Azam on the second ball of the match courtesy to a brilliant direct hit from Fortuin while trying to take a quick single.
Haider Ali played a little cameo with the bat for his 36-run partnership for the second wicket. He scored 21 runs off 16 balls after hitting three sixes. But his attempt at fourth sixer off a Phehlukwayo delivery fell short when he swung his bat to left towards the deep square and Snyman held on to a stunner as South African debutant took a diving catch while running around the rope.
The next man in, Hussain Talat also could not prolong his stay as he was stumped by Proteas captain and wicketkeeper Klaasen off a Tabrazi Shamsi delivery after scoring 15 runs off 12 balls after hitting two boundaries. Pakistan took 6.3 overs to reach 50 runs mark and reached 100 runs mark in 12.3 overs
Iftikhar Ahmed also followed the suit as he holed out to long-on where Hendricks comfortably took his catch to reduce Pakistan to 99-4 in 12th over. He took eight balls to score 4 runs.
However, Rizwan continued to smash all the bowlers to keep Pakistan afloat in the match. Khushdil Shah was next man in and out after scoring 12 runs off as many balls after hitting a huge six.
Rizwan hit another six to Sipamla in 19th over to take Pakistan to 150 runs mark. Faheem Ashraf scored four runs off five balls while M Nawaz remained unbeaten on three runs.
For South Africa, Phehlukwayo took 2-33, while Lutho Sipamla (1-37), Bjorn Fortuin (1-25) and Tabraiz Shamsi (1-20) took one wicket each as South African captain tried seven bowlers in 20 overs innings.