Rizwan hits maiden T20 century as Pakistan hold off Proteas

By Sports Desk February 11, 2021

Mohammad Rizwan struck a brilliant century before Pakistan held their nerve with the ball to win the Twenty20 series opener against South Africa by three runs.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Rizwan had registered his maiden Test ton against the same opposition last week, with his knock of 115 not out helping the hosts seal a 2-0 sweep in Rawalpindi. 

Promoted up the order to open in the T20 side in Lahore, the right-hander hit six fours and seven of his team's 11 sixes as he finished up unbeaten on 104 out of a total of 169-6.

His 64-ball knock helped Pakistan recover from the early setback of losing Babar Azam to the second ball of their innings, the captain run out without scoring thanks to a stunning direct hit by bowler Bjorn Fortuin at the non-striker's end. 

Yet South Africa's fielding did not live up to the same standards for the remainder of the innings; they dropped Rizwan twice, allowing the him to record only Pakistan's second century in the shortest format. 

Tabraiz Shamsi – who did not feature in the recent Test series due to a back injury – was the pick of the attack with 1-20 for an understrength South Africa, who started promisingly in reply thanks to 44 from Janneman Malan.

Usman Qadir dismissed both Malan and debutant Jacques Snyman as he claimed 2-21, though the visitors were still in with a chance when requiring 48 from the final four overs with six wickets in hand.

Hendricks (54) had overcome a quiet start to reach a valiant half-century, but Rizwan put an end to his innings with a sharp piece of fielding, picking up the ball and then diving into the stumps.

Left needing six from the final delivery, Fortuin was only able to squeeze a full ball from Faheem Ashraf out to deep square leg, meaning the Proteas – led by stand-in captain Heinrich Klaasen – came up just short.

The teams will conclude the three-match series with a double-header this weekend at the same venue.

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  • Proteas cruise past Pakistan total to draw level in T20 series Proteas cruise past Pakistan total to draw level in T20 series

    South Africa levelled the four-match Twenty20 series against Pakistan at 1-1 thanks to a convincing six-wicket win at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.

    The Proteas - minus their Indian Premier League stars - had slipped to defeat in the opening game on Saturday but recovered impressively from that setback, with a disciplined bowling performance restricting their opponents to 140-9.

    Aidan Markram led the reply with 54 from 30 balls and while there was a mid-innings wobble as they slipped to 98-4, the hosts still cruised to their victory target with six overs to spare.

    Stand-in captain Heinrich Klaasen finished up unbeaten on 36, while George Linde was 20 not out from just 10 deliveries to complete a fine all-round performance.

    Mohammad Rizwan had starred in Pakistan's successful run chase at the weekend, making an unbeaten 74, but fell for a first-ball duck this time.

    The recalled Sharjeel Khan – playing his first international game since January 2017 – also departed early for eight, leaving the score at 10-2 in the third over of an innings that simply never gained momentum.

    Skipper Babar Azam made 50 at a run-a-ball rate and Mohammad Hafeez contributed 32, the pair adding 58 for the third wicket.

    However, three wickets apiece for Linde – who opened the bowling with his left-arm spin - and Lizaad Williams restricted Pakistan's final score. Tabraiz Shamsi also played his part with the ball, recording figures of 1-22 from his four overs.

    The two teams meet again in the third T20 at Centurion on Wednesday, with the series concluding at the same venue two days later.


    Rare failure for Rizwan

    Rizwan had posted scores of 74 not out, 42, 51, 104 not out and 89 in his previous five T20 appearances for Pakistan. However, the impressive run of form came to a rapid halt on Monday.

    The wicketkeeper-batsman fell to the first ball of the game, an ambitious attempt to hit Linde over the top only providing catching practice for Markram at mid-off.

    Opening case continues

    Markram made sure South Africa had no issues with the required rate in reply, hitting seven fours and three sixes in a 30-ball knock.

    The opening batsman has hit back-to-back half-centuries in the format now, furthering his case for a spot in the full-strength line-up ahead of the T20 World Cup later in the year.

  • Dhawan and Shaw lead Delhi to dominant victory Dhawan and Shaw lead Delhi to dominant victory

    Brilliant half-centuries openers Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw inspired Delhi Capitals to an opening seven-wicket win over Chennai Super Kings in the India Premier League.

    Chennai were asked to bat when Rishabh Pant won the toss and recovered well from the early losses of Faf du Plessis for nought and Ruturaj Gaikwad to post 188-7, Suresh Raina top scoring with 54.

    But Dhawan (85) and Shaw (72) scythed into what looked like a daunting chase with a stunning stand of 139 for the first wicket and skipper Pant (15 not out) was there to see the Capitals home with eight deliveries to spare.

    Chris Woakes (2-18) and Avesh Khan (2-23) set the tone for Delhi as Chennai slumped to 7-2 and the seamers also returned to fine effect – Avesh persuading veteran captain MS Dhoni to drag on for a duck and Woakes bowling fellow England all-rounder Sam Curran with the final ball of the innings.

    Curran plundered 34 from 15 deliveries, including two sixes off brother Tom (1-40), in a breezy effort alongside Ravindra Jadeja (26 not out), their 51-run partnership capitalising upon a rebuilding job impressively helmed by Raina.

    The India batsman ploughed Marcus Stoinis over for his fourth maximum to reach 50 off 32 balls and he received useful support from Moeen Ali (36) and Ambati Rayudu (23).

    A dire mix-up, during which Jadeja collided with Avesh, saw Raina run out amid a slump of three wickets for 14 runs – a blip that proved costly as Dhawan and Shaw took the Super Kings attack apart.

    They motored at around 10-an-over for the majority of their partnership. Shaw had faced only 38 balls, hitting nine fours and three sixes, by the time he skewed Dwayne Bravo (1-38) to Moeen and there was little remaining doubt about the outcome when Dhawan was trapped lbw by Shardul Thakur (2-53).

  • Rizwan influential again as Pakistan defeat depleted Proteas in record run chase Rizwan influential again as Pakistan defeat depleted Proteas in record run chase

    Mohammad Rizwan was Pakistan's match-winner again as he carried his bat through a record-breaking run chase to beat an undermanned South Africa side by four wickets in the first Twenty20 International.

    Opener Rizwan was the leading run scorer with 197 when these teams met for a three-match series in Pakistan earlier this year, and his outstanding 74 not out suggested he will again have a big role to play across four games in South Africa.

    It was a much-needed contribution after the Proteas - missing a host of stars, including new captain Temba Bavuma - scored a competitive 188-6 at the Wanderers.

    Stand-in skipper Heinrich Klaasen won the toss and elected to bat, and he was stationed at the other end of the wicket as Aiden Markram claimed a first T20I fifty.

    Markram swiftly departed for 51, but Klaasen (50) followed him to the half-century mark before Pakistan belatedly slowed their hosts a little.

    In reply, neither captain Babar Azam (14), caught by debutant Lizaad Williams, nor Fakhar Zaman (27) could provide Rizwan with a steady partner.

    Tabraiz Shamsi (2-29) accounted for both Fakhar and Mohammad Hafeez (13), playing his 100th match in this format, before Beuran Hendricks (3-32) took two wickets in two deliveries, including Haider Ali after 14 off eight.

    That pace was surpassed by Faheem Ashraf (30 off 14), though, and a partnership of 48 with Rizwan had Pakistan needing 11 from the final over.

    Williams (1-39) was handed the ball and had opportunities either side of the dismissal of Faheem, but dismal fielding throughout fittingly concluded the chase - Pakistan's highest in T20Is - with a delivery to spare courtesy of an overthrow.

    Klaasen steps up but fielders fail

    Bavuma added to a long list of absentees, but South Africa's performance with the bat offered few excuses and Klaasen, captain for a fourth time, contributed handily.

    A target of 189, boosted by the skipper's 50 off 28, should really have been beyond Pakistan, too.

    However, Williams - the most prominent of three home debutants - was denied victory in frantic fashion, Faheem dropped before he was bowled and next man in Hasan Ali also escaping prior to the decisive final error.

    Pakistan reliant on Rizwan once more

    Pakistan named an array of batting talent at the top of the order, with skipper Babar opening and Fakhar given his T20 chance at number three following exceptional ODI form.

    But it was Rizwan, Babar's opening partner, who again came to the fore in this format after his team-mates departed.

    Rizwan had 81 more runs than any other batsman in the series earlier this year and is set to play a pivotal role again, although he will hope for more help from Babar in particular over the next three matches.

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