Mohammad Rizwan prays after scoring a century during the first Twenty20 match at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in Lahore on Thursday. AFP
Gulf Today Report
In-form wicketkeeper batsman Mohammad Rizwan’s maiden hundred helped Pakistan edge out South Africa by three runs in a thrilling last over finish in their first Twenty20 international in Lahore on Thursday.
South Africa need 19 runs to win off the last over, but medium pacer Faheem Ashraf held his nerves to keep the visitors down to 166-6 while Bjorn Fortuin (17 not out) and Dwaine Pretorius (15 not out) could manage only 15.
Mohammad Rizwan (L) and teammate Haider Ali (C) run between the wickets. AFP
Rizwan’s cracking 64-ball 104 not out had six boundaries and seven sixes -- most sixes by a Pakistan batsman in a Twenty20 international — to lift the hosts to 169-6. He then ran out the tourists’ top-scorer Reeza Hendricks (54) in the 18th over to anchor the win.
Reeza Hendricks jumps to save his run out by Mohammad Rizwan while teammate Haris Rauf watches. AP
Hendricks and Janneman Malan (44) had given the visitors a solid 53-run start by the seventh over before leg-spinner Usman Qadir took two overs in successive overs to derail South Africa.
South Africa’s most experienced batsmen David Miller (six) and skipper Heinrich Klaasen (12) also failed to lift the tempo. Hendricks’s fifth Twenty20 international fifty had eight boundaries off 42 balls while Malan hit eight boundaries and a six off just 29 balls.
Earlier South Africa won the toss and elected to field first against the hosts. Pakistan suffered an early loss when their talisman Babar Azam was run out by Bjorn Fortuin on the second ball of the match for a duck.
The hosts struggled to find their footing, losing Haider Ali at the start of the sixth over when he was caught out by Jacques Snyman off Andile Phehlukwayo's ball.
Haider was replaced by Hussain Talat at the pitch who tried to swiftly pick up runs, hitting two consecutive fours and scoring 15 runs off nine balls.
He lost his wicket in the 10th over, leaving Pakistan struggling to build momentum.
Mohammad Rizwan brought much-needed stability for the hosts, hitting three sixes in one over to complete his half-century, his second in T20Is.
Babar Azam tosses at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in Lahore. AFP
For Pakistan, Qadir took 2-21 and fast bowler Haris Rauf finished with 2-44. It was Rizwan all through Pakistan’s 20 overs of batting. Rizwan, who scored his maiden Test hundred in Pakistan’s second Test win in Rawalpindi earlier this week, added 68 for the second wicket with Haider Ali who made 21.
It lifted Pakistan — sent in to bat — from a disastrous start which saw skipper and top batsman Babar Azam run out off the second ball of the match for nought. Azam hit a drive off spinner Fortuin and ran for single but the bowler threw the stump at the non-striker end with a direct throw.
Hussain Talat (R) leaves the pitch after his dismissal. AFP
Rizwan held the innings at one end, changing gears in the 11th over when he hit three sixes off pacer Junior Dala to reach his fifty.
On his way to hundred he was dropped twice on 83 and 96 but he smashed medium pacer Andile Phehlukwayo over the deep mid-wicket boundary for his seventh six to complete hundred off 63 balls.
Rizwan is the only second Pakistan batsmen to score a Twenty20 international century behind Ahmed Shehzad who achieved the feat in Dhaka against Bangladesh in the World Cup seven years ago.
Phehlukwayo was the best South Africa bowler with 2-33. The remaining two matches will be played on Saturday and Sunday, also in Lahore.
Pakistan: Babar Azam (captain), Haider Ali, Khushdil Shah, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Rizwan, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Usman Qadir
South Africa: Heinrich Klaasen (captain), Junior Dala, Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, Janneman Malan, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lutho Sipamla, Jacques Synman
Umpires: Aleem Dar and Ahsan Raza (PAK)
Tv umpire: Shozab Raza (PAK)
Match referee: Mohammad Javed Malik (PAK)
The 31-year-old took 5-17 in his four lethal overs as Pakistan — sent in to bat — rode on a 41-ball 51 by wicketkeeper batsman Mohammad Rizwan on a slow Gaddafi stadium pitch. Faheem Ashraf hit a fiery 12-ball 30 not out.
Tail-ender Hasan Ali finished with a seven-ball 20 not out as Pakistan overhauled a 165-run target in 18.4 overs to win the series 2-1, South Africa's first T20I series defeat in Asia. South Africa had previously won five and drawn one T20I series in Asia.
Babar Azam hit a sensational 122 from 59 balls to lead Pakistan to 205-1 for a resounding nine-wicket win over South Africa and a 2-1 lead in their Twenty20 series on Wednesday.
I am not going to make excuses. We've still got to try and win with whichever players we put on the park but it has been tough. There have been a lot of positives. With the opportunities that have been given, a couple of guys have come through with flying colours," he said
The Emirati, who scored 70 points (24, 23, 23) in the first three rounds on Sunday, secured 47 points (23, 23) in the final two rounds to end the competition with 117 points.
Disappointment of first round exit turned into joy for Argentine fencer Maria Belen Perez Maurice at the Tokyo Olympics on Monday as the athlete said yes to a marriage offer from coach and her long-time partner.
Tears of joy ran down Nishiya's cheeks as she realised she had become the country's youngest ever gold medal winner.