Pakistan registered a four-wicket win over South Africa to go 1-0 up in the four-match T20I series, with opening batsman Mohammad Rizwan starring with an unbeaten 74 off 50 balls.
Rizwan stitched three crucial partnerships with Babar Azam (41), Fakhar Zaman (45) and Faheem Ashraf (48) during the 189-run chase to guide Pakistan to a thrilling win in the series opener at The Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg.
Rizwan’s gritty knock was laced with nine fours and two sixes. Faheem (30), Fakhar (27) and Babar (14) added some useful runs and gave the support that Rizwan was looking at to pull off Pakistan’s highest successful run chase in T20Is.
Earlier, after opting to bat first, South Africa captain Heinrich Klaasen led from the front with 50 off 28 balls while opener Aiden Markram smashed 32-ball 51. Pite van Biljon (34 off 24) also made a useful contribution down the order, but the overall total put up by the hosts wasn’t enough to restrict Pakistan from reaching the finish line.
“It was a bit tricky track in the second innings. But the way the skipper and I started in the Powerplay, it was good. Fakhar’s ODI innings was on my mind today while playing on how to play on this surface by taking some time early on.
“International cricket is always about pressure. Message was also coming from dugout and keep going. We like that we have good batsmen in the lower order too,” Rizwan said after winning the ‘Player of the Match’ award.
Here’s how Twitter reacted to Pakistan’s win:
Congratulations boys on winning the first T20I of the series. Highest ever T20I chase for Pakistan. Well played @iMRizwanPak, great contribution by @iFaheemAshraf and well finished by @RealHa55an. Keep fighting till the end. Supporting my team on every ball. #PakistanZindabad
— Shadab Khan (@76Shadabkhan) April 10, 2021
#pakvsSa Rizwon it! Great knock and a great chase.
— Ramiz Raja (@iramizraja) April 10, 2021
@iMRizwanPak Top knock again 👏👏👏. MashALLAH
— Salman Butt (@im_SalmanButt) April 10, 2021
I think in 2035, we will turn on the television to see a series between South Africa and Pakistan and Mohammad Rizwan will still be batting. #SAvPAK
— Firdose Moonda (@FirdoseM) April 10, 2021
Outstanding chase, top knock by @iMRizwanPak and quick cameo by @iFaheemAshraf and @RealHa55an helped us get through. It couldn’t have been possible without the great job done by the bowlers in the end of our innings. #PakvRSA
— Azhar Mahmood (@AzharMahmood11) April 10, 2021
— Ahmad Shahzad 🇵🇰 (@iamAhmadshahzad) April 10, 2021
— Mir Hamza (@mirhamza_k) April 10, 2021
— Wahab Riaz (@WahabViki) April 10, 2021
What a win, well played team Pakistan. Brilliant knock by Rizwan. Faheem’s batting was special.
— Faizan Lakhani (@faizanlakhani) April 10, 2021
What a player @iMRizwanPak is,carried the bat till the end,can adapt in all three formats,real fighter,good cameo by @iFaheemAshraf but it was the bowlers in the middle that pulled things back for Pakistan as it looked like SA will make 220 at one point. #savpak
— zainab abbas (@ZAbbasOfficial) April 10, 2021
Mohammad Rizwan in last five T20Is is averaging 112.00 and striking at 148.01.
— Mazher Arshad (@MazherArshad) April 10, 2021
Muhammad Rizwan in last 10 innings in T20s
— Abidullah (@577_abidullah) April 10, 2021
Mohammad Rizwan again played a wonderful knock. Talk about consistency 👏🏼
— S Hussain (@sabee_7) April 10, 2021
— Usama speaks Cricket 🏏 (@LeoUsamaa) April 10, 2021