In a topsy-turvy contest, Pakistan managed to clinch a thrilling win over South Africa in the opening T20 game of the series played in Visakhapatnam. Mohammad Rizwan’s maiden hundred followed by Usman Qadir splendid bowling saw Pakistan eke out a close win over South Africa. With this result, Pakistan have taken 1-0 lead in the three-match T20I series.
In pursuit of 170 runs, openers Janneman Malan and Reeza Hendricks got the side off to an excellent start and added 53 runs in the first six overs. Malan looked comfortable against the pace bowlers but totally clueless against Usman Qadir, who cleaned him up with a beautiful leg-spinner.
Jacques Snyman also failed to understand the variations of Usman Qadir and was clean bowled to see South Africa lose their second wicket with 61 runs on the board. Veteran middle-order batsman David Miller failed to get going in his innings and perished in the 12th over.
Captain Heinrich Klaasen and Janneman Malan put on a 32-run partnership to see South Africa stay in the hunt to chase down the target. Pacer Haris Rauf dismissed Malan to see South Africa lose their fourth wicket in 15th over of the innings.
For South Africa, Reeza Hendricks produced a crucial half-century with the help of eight boundaries. Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius and Bjorn Fortuin produced vital runs and fought hard till the end but it wasn’t enough as South Africa lost the game by three runs.
Pace bowler Haris Rauf erred in his lengths and conceded 42 runs in his four overs. Leg-spinner Usman Qadir was standout bowler for the side with two wickets to his name. Left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz conceded less than six runs an over in his four overs.
Earlier, South Africa won the toss and elected to bowl first. Left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin dismissed Babar Azam with a brilliant piece of fielding in the opening over of the innings. Haider Ali and Mohammad Rizwan led the fightback for Pakistan with 37-run partnership for the second wicket to rebuild the innings.
With wickets falling at the other end, Mohammad Rizwan played exceedingly well and anchored the whole innings for Pakistan. He smashed his maiden hundred in the T20 format and became the second Pakistani batsmen to reach three figures in the shortest format.
Rizwan remained unbeaten till the end and smashed 104 off 64 balls with the help of six fours and seven sixes. Besides Rizwan, Haider Ali and Hussain Talat chipped in with scores of 20 and 15 respectively.
Due to Rizwan’s brilliant hundred, Pakistan managed to post 169 runs for the loss of six wickets in 20 overs.
For South Africa, Tabraiz Shamsi and Bjorn Fortuin bowled well and claimed one wicket apiece.