APP77-110221 LAHORE: February 11 – A view of first Twenty-20 match between Pakistan and South African teams played at Gaddafi Cricket Stadium. APP photo by Rana Imran

LAHORE, Feb 11 (APP): Pakistan powered by enterprising unbeaten 104 by Wicketkeeper batsman Muhammad Rizwan beat South Africa by 3 runs in the first T20 international to take 1-0 lead in three match series here on Thursday night at Gadaffi stadium.

Master blaster Rizwan smashed seven towering sixes and six fours off 64 balls to set up home teams innings total of 169 for 6 in allotted overs. Pakistan restricted the touring side to 166 for 6 in 20 overs en route to a nail biting win in front of empty stadium as authorities did not allow the spectators in the stadium due due to COVID-19 protocols.

Pakistan aided by Muhammad Rizwan’s entertaining maiden T20I century posted a decent total.

Rizwan, With this century, Rizwan became the second Pakistani batsman who scored a hundred in the T20Is as Ahmed Shahzad was the first Pakistani batsman, who scored T20I century (111*) against Bangladesh during the World T20 in March 2014.

Rizwan’s brilliant knock was the only key contribution for the hosts as he didn’t receive much help from his teammates, however, with the promising Haider Ali brilliantly caught on the midwicket boundary by debutant Jacques Snyman just when he was threatening to cut loose. Only three of Pakistan batsmen – Haider Ali (21), Hussain Talat (15) and Khushdil Shah (12) – managed to cross the double figures.

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Rizwan began carefully, striking his first 30 in as many balls on a slow, dry pitch, but changed gears in the 12th over, striking paceman Junior Dala for three sixes as he sped to his 50 in 35 balls. David Miller also brought off a fine catch on the long-on boundary to dismiss Faheem Ashraf as Pakistan relied almost exclusively on Rizwan to build momentum.

The visitors’ fielding standards suddenly plunged in the closing overs, however, as Rizwan was first dropped by Junior Dala at long-on before Snyman missed him in the covers in the last over. Rizwan celebrated his fortune by then clobbering Andile Phehlukwayo over cow corner for his seventh six to reach three figures. Andile Phehlukwayo bagged two wickets for 33 runs in his four overs while Bjorn Fortuin and Tabraiz Shamsi managed to take one wicket each conceding 25 and 20 runs respectively.

South Africa started their run chase in great style and completed their fifty runs total in the sixth over. When the visitors were well set and looking to chase the target quite comfortable, Usman Qadir was the bowler, who provided much-needed breakthrough to the hosts. Qadir sent packing opener Janneman Malan, when he was playing at his individual score of 44 runs, which he gathered in 29 balls with the help of 8 fours and 1 six. Qadir continued his brilliant bowling and also took the wicket of Jacques Synman (2) in the ninth over at the total of 2-61.

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Faheem Ashraf then took the scalp of danger man David Miller (6) at a total of 83-3 in 11.6 overs. Captain Heinrich Klaasen then steadied their innings along with opener Reeza Hendricks, who contributed 32 runs for the fourth wicket partnership. Captain Klaasen was then sent packing by Haris Rauf at his individual score of 12. Another danger man Reeza Hendricks was the next batsman, who was run out by Mohammad Rizwan at a score of 54 runs.

South Africa fought back well with their tail enders in the last overs, where they brought their side close to achieving the target. In the last over of Faheem Ashraf, the visiting side needed 19 runs to win. They kept on punishing Faheem and on the very last ball, the Proteas needed 6 runs for victory. Bjorn Fortuin was the batsman, who tried to hit six but could gather only two runs, thus South Africa lost the match by 3 runs.