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By Sohail Ali

LAHORE, Feb 12 (APP): Pumped up by their nail biting three runs victory in the first T20I, Pakistan cricket team will be aiming to take 2-0 lead when they take on South Africa in the second T20I tomorrow (Saturday) here at Gaddafi Stadium at 6:00 pm (PST).

The Test series triumph as well as the victory in the first T20I has surely boosted the morale of Pakistan team and players, who will be more eager to excel against Proteas in the second T02I, aiming at taking unassailable 2-0 lead. Muhammad Rizwan was the star in both Test series as well as in the first T20I, and hopefully, he will further deliver against the visiting side.

South Africa finished the first T20I just one hit away from a win, this was all just because of failure of their middle order. If the Proteas can take their game to the next level, the team has a good chance of registering victories in the remaining T20Is. The tourists were off to good start in the first T20I with Babar Azam run-out for a duck on the second ball of the match. But Rizwan kept one side intact and helped his side post a decent total of 169 runs.

Haider Ali played a few shots and accompanied Rizwan, but he failed to prolong his innings and add some valuable runs in his team’s total. Hussain Talat looked good but he couldn’t play well the spin of Tabraiz Shamsi, who was the pick of South Africa bowlers and gave away just 20 runs from his four overs while picking up one wicket.

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Apart from Shamsi, Andile Phehlukwayo bowled well for South Africa and finished with figures of 2-33.

Pakistan cricket captain Babar Azam showered praise on wicketkeeper batsman, Muhammad Rizwan for his century (104) and termed his innings the key factor for home teams three run win over South Africa in the first T20 international here on Thursday night. “Rizwan demonstrated his batting skills in a great way and played an impressive knock which helped the team to build a good total,” he said.

Babar said Rizwan played according to the game plan to end Pakistan team’s innings on a good note taking it from start to end. “Rizwan played superbly and aided the fellow colleagues and cracked sixes and boundaries which helped us to get a good total.”
Babar said bowlers gave runs more than expectations in the power play but in the end fast bowlers bowled well and took the control of the match in the last four overs. “Rizwan put up an outstanding performance and I greet him on scoring a fine century at home ground,” said the skipper.

He pointed that that team was helped by spinners, especially Usman Qadir, son of legendary late spinner Abdul Qadir, who took two important wickets to breakthrough South Africa innings at a stage when its batsmen were on control of run hunt. “I would say it was collective team effort which led us to a success and I look forward to similar performance in the coming two back to back games,” he asserted.

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Home captain said team excelled in fielding as well and demonstrated a higher brand of quality fielding through foggy conditions made it difficult at times to keep eye on the ball. “Our team fought well and earned a victory,” he said.

South African captain Heinrich Klaasen expressed his disappointment over the result of the match and his team’s defeat in the first game. “In the end, it became a good game but we could not win it, before Pakistan spinner Usman Qadir took important wickets to disturb the run chase,” he said and added that his team would be making a good comeback in the next two games.

SQUADS (From):
Pakistan: Babar Azam (c), Aamer Yamin, Amad Butt, Asif Ali, Danish Aziz, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Afridi, Usman Qadir, Zafar Gohar, Zahid Mehmood, Faheem Ashraf, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed.

South Africa: Heinrich Klaasen (captain), Nandre Burger, Okuhle Cele, Junior Dala, Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, George Linde, Janneman Malan, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Ryan Rickleton, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lutho Sipamla, Jon-Jon Smuts, Jacques Snyman, Glenton Stuurman, Pite van Biljon.