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Superstar Rizwan guides Pakistan to improbable victory over SA

Mohammad Rizwan was adjudged the man of the match for his incredible, unbeaten knock with the bat

Superstar Rizwan guides Pakistan to improbable victory over SA PHOTO COURTESY: PCB

An unbeaten 74-run knock from superstar Mohammad Rizwan helped Pakistan chase down the massive 189-run target set by South Africa with four wickets to spare in the first Twenty20 International (T20I) between the sides at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Chasing a daunting target of 189 runs, Pakistan lost skipper Babar Azam (14 off 14 balls) early, caught by fielder Lizaad Williams off the bowling of pacer Beuran Hendricks.

Batsman Fakhar Zaman came in next and looked poised to continue his stellar run of form. He was however was undone by spinner Tabraiz Shamsi, caught by fielder Janneman Malan, after scoring 27 runs of 19 balls.

Veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez could not get going either and fell off the bowling of Tabraiz Shamsi, stumped by wicketkeeper Heinrich Klaasen, after scoring just 13 runs off 11 balls.

Explosive batsman Haider Ali made his intention clear from the start and went after South Africa’s bowling attack before missing a straight full toss from Beuran Hendricks and being adjudged LBW after scoring 14 runs off eight balls.

All-rounder Mohammad Nawaz then fell for a golden duck off Hendricks, caught behind by wicketkeeper Heinrich Klaasen, as the required run-rate ballooned up.

All-rounder Faheem Ashraf stepped up for his side with a breezy knock of 30 runs off 14 balls before being bowled by Lizaad Williams in the final over of the chase.

Tailender Hasan Ali then swung his way to nine runs off just three balls to help his side secure an improbable victory.

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Opener Mohammad Rizwan however was the glue that kept the scoreboard ticking as wickets fell on the other end and accelerated in key moments to remain unbeaten at the end after scoring a monumental 74-run knock off 50 balls to help his side secure a five-wicket victory.

Beuran Hendricks was the pick of the bowlers for South Africa after taking three wickets for 32 runs in his allotted overs.

Earlier, Proteas captain Heinrich Klaasen had won the toss and elected to bat first. Openers Janneman Malan and Aiden Markram quickly made their intentions clear by going hard after Pakistan’s premier pacer Shaheen Afridi.

The pacer went for 25 runs in his first two overs while spinner Mohammad Nawaz kept things tight at the other end. The spinner was rewarded for his discipline with the wicket of Malan, who was out LBW, after scoring 24 runs off 16 balls.

Pacer Hasan Ali then removed batsman Wihan Lubbe (four off three balls) as he miscued a slower ball straight into the hands of fielder Shaheen.

Despite the fall of two wickets, the Proteas batsmen continued to go after the bowling attack. Skipper Heinrich Klaasen combined with opener Aiden Markram for a 62-run partnership off just 33 balls to establish a strong foundation for their side.

A returning Nawaz however got rid of Aiden Markram, caught expertly by wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan, after the opener had raced to 51 runs off 32 balls.

Batsman PJ van Biljon then came out to the middle and continued the momentum for his side alongside Klaasen. The two batsmen combined for a 61-run partnership off 37 balls to put their side on track for a massive total.

Klaasen was then removed by all-rounder Faheem Ashraf, caught by fielder Fakhar Zaman, after scoring 50 runs off 28 balls.

With the skipper back in the hut, Pakistan began to tighten the screws with disciplined line and lengths. Biljon soon fell while trying to hit a boundary off the bowling of Shaheen, caught by fielder Nawaz, after scoring 34 runs off 24 balls.

Pacer Haris Rauf then removed batsman George Linde (six off seven balls) through a successful LBW as Pakistan dried up the boundaries towards the end of the innings.

All-rounders Andile Phehlukwayo and Sisanda Magala, nine runs each, then guided their side to a tricky 188-run total in their allotted overs for the loss of six wickets.

Mohammad Nawaz and Hasan Ali picked up two wickets each while Shaheen Shah and Haris Rauf picked up one wicket each for the Men in Green.

Mohammad Rizwan was adjudged the man of the match for his incredible, unbeaten knock with the bat.