T20 World Cup: Rizwan dominates as Pakistan ease to first victory in Australia

By Sports Desk October 30, 2022

Mohammad Rizwan crafted a fluent 49 as Pakistan eased to their first victory and kept their hopes alive at the T20 World Cup after a six-wicket triumph over the Netherlands.

Babar Azam's side suffered final-over heartbreak against both India and Zimbabwe in Australia, though had little trouble at Optus Stadium after restricting the Netherlands to just 91-9 on Sunday.

Shadab Khan tore through the Dutch batting line-up, with the leg-spinner taking 3-22. Colin Ackermann's 27 from as many balls represented the only Netherlands batter to pass 20 runs.

Despite Babar being run out by Roelof van der Merwe for just four, Rizwan and Fakhar Zaman steadied the ship before the latter fell to Brandon Glover for 20, leaving Pakistan 53-2 from 7.1 overs.

Rizwan survived a review on 39, a decision overturned after Logan van Beek failed to get his hands under a chance from Fred Klaassen's bowling, though the wicket-keeper batter was dismissed soon after.

Paul van Meekeren (1-19) had Rizwan caught behind in the 13th over and Shan Masood (12) followed to Glover (2-22), though Iftikhar Ahmed (six not out) and Shadab (four not out) saw Pakistan over the line with 37 balls to spare.

Spin torments Netherlands

Shadab and Mohammad Wasim (2-15) did the damage as the Netherlands failed to deal with Pakistan's spin bowling.

Mohammad Nawaz went wicketless from his two overs but also conceded just 11 runs as Pakistan limited the Netherlands to a score that ensured no final-over chaos was in store for Babar's side.

Pakistan reliant on other results

Pakistan will have been delighted to see Fakhar, returning from a seven-week absence after a knee injury, bat fluently in the middle order as they picked up victory in a must-win game.

Yet even if Babar's side defeat South Africa and Bangladesh in their remaining Group 2 games, they will need other results to go their way to make the top two, starting with India beating the Proteas later on Sunday.

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    The hosts edged past the Black Caps with one ball remaining in Lucknow, winning by six wickets in a low-scoring thriller to level the three-match T20I series.

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    Pandya, captaining in the absence of white-ball veteran Rohit Sharma, was alongside Suryakumar at the end unbeaten on 15 but expressed his disappointment with the surface at home.

    "I always believed we will finish the game," Pandya said. "It went quite deep, but that is how it is. In these kinds of games, it is important to not panic.

    "Rather than taking risks, we rotated the strike. Having said that, this is a shocker of a pitch. We need to make sure we have better pitches. Even 120 would have been a winning total here.

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    The in-form Suryakumar continues to rise his stock within white-ball cricket, though his 31-ball 26 was a far cry from his usual flamboyance and aggressive shot-making.

    Having blasted 112 and 51 in his two previous T20I appearances against Sri Lanka earlier in January, Suryakumar acknowledged an alternate approach was required on Sunday.

    "A different version of [Suryakumar] today," he said after receiving the Player of the Match award. "Adapting to the situation was very important. After losing [Washington Sundar], I had to make sure I batted until the end.

    "[Sundar's run out] was my mistake, I didn't see where the ball went. Of course, it was a challenging wicket, but you have to be able to adapt.

    "We just needed one hit in the end, and it was very important to calm ourselves down.

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    The hosts won by six wickets at Ekana Stadium but only just managed to reach the low target set by New Zealand during what seemed a poor innings that saw them finish on 99-8.

    It was the first time the Black Caps had failed to reach 100 runs in a T20I against India, though it was not as bad as it first seemed on a difficult pitch.

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    Having managed at least 47 runs in each of his previous three T20Is, Suryakumar is not used to struggling to amass significant totals.

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