Goalkeeper-beater Mohammad Rizwan beat a first T20 century with seven sixes as Pakistan beat South Africa by three points in the Twenty20 international opener on Thursday.
Rizwan’s undefeated 104 on 64 balls anchored the home side at 169-6 after Heinrich Klaasen won the draw and chose to play. In the process, Rizwan became the second Pakistani to score a hundred in all three formats.
An inexperienced South Africa, without its frontline T20 regulars including skipper Quinton de Kock, battled with Reeza Hendricks in 54 and Janneman Malan in 44 on 29 balls before being limited to 166-6.
“The credit goes to the spinners, in particular Usman Qadir, who bought two fast wickets,” said Pakistani skipper Babar Azam.
Qadir (2-21) picked up his two wickets in his first two overs, including Malan who was defeated by scum, and Rizwan missed Hendricks in the 18th to make things difficult for the lower order.
Needing 19 off the last pass, Bjorn Fortuin (17 not out) and Dwaine Pretorius (15 not out) brought the target down to 6 from the last ball, but Faheem Ashraf only conceded two points to give Pakistan a lead. of 1-0 in the three-match series.
“I’m a little disappointed,” Klaasen said. “The lack of batting intensity for four overs there in the middle took a toll on us. The intensity needs to increase in the middle (overs) and we’ll see if we can do it in the second game.
Previously, Rizwan wore his trial form in the shortest format and dominated both pace and left wrist spinner Tabraiz Shamsi. Rizwan scored a century in Rawalpindi last Sunday as Pakistan beat South Africa by 95 points to win the series 2-0.
He continued his sublime form despite an early setback in Pakistan when Babar was beautifully missed by left arm spinner Fortuin in the first.
Fortuin quickly ran to his right on his follow-up and threw the ball with his right hand to the non-attacking end to leave the Pakistani captain well short of his crease.
But Rizwan dominated with his draws, practices and sweeps. He lifted his half century of 35 balls when he hit designer Junior Dala for three sixes in an over.
Rizwan has been released twice in the last two overs. Dala couldn’t keep a chance in the depths offered by Rizwan on 89 and Jacques Snyman, playing his first international Twenty20, let the batsman down on 96.
Rizwan, who also hit six fours, outscored Andile Phehlukwayo (2-33) for his seventh six on midwicket to complete the hundred in the final over.
The seven sixes were also a Pakistan record in a Twenty20 international, overtaking Mohammad Hafeez and Shehzad’s six sixes in one set.
Malan got off to a good start by crushing fast bowler Haris Rauf for four limits in an over, but Pakistan hit by Qadir and Rauf came back to scoop 2-44.
The second and third games will be played at the same location over the weekend.