JOHANNESBURG: Mohammad Rizwan once again proved to be a solid match-winner for Pakistan as he single-handedly led Pakistan to a four-wicket victory against South Africa in the T20I series opener here at The Wanderers on Saturday.
The right-handed opener stood till the end to hand Pakistan a 1-0 lead in the four-matches T20I series. Earlier, Aiden Markram and Heinrich Klaasen led their team from the front as South Africa posted 188-6 in 20 overs. At one stage, South Africa looked like they will cross the 200-run mark as they were scoring runs at a run rate of over 10 but Pakistani bowlers made a comeback with a couple of breakthroughs to hold the hosts before 200. South Africa started their inning with Janneman Malan’s firepower as the right-handed batsman smashed two fours and as many sixes to score 24 runs. Second opener Markram didn’t look back after losing his partner and played a confidence-gaining knock.
He struck 51 runs laced with eight boundaries and a six while he managed to support his skipper Klaasen quite well as they put up 62 runs together. Klaasen walked back after scoring 50 runs with the help of four maximums and two boundaries. Pite van Biljon contributed 34 runs with the help of two boundaries. For Pakistan, Mohammad Nawaz and Hasan Ali bagged two wickets each while Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf shared a wicket apiece.
In reply, Pakistan got a steady start from openers Babar Azam and Rizwan who scored 41 runs together before the skipper threw his wicket on the offside. Fakhar Zaman raced the inning with Rizwan by smashing a six and four boundaries but couldn’t hole for long and departed after scoring 27 off 19 balls. Rizwan stayed there for long and remained unbeaten on 74 off 50 balls laced with nine boundaries and two sixes. Faheem, in the end, played a cameo of 30 runs off 14 balls spread over four boundaries and a six. Hasan Ali scored winning runs for Pakistan as they now lead the T20I series by 1-0. Beuran Hendricks bagged three wickets while Lizaad Williams took two wickets. Tabraiz Shamsi managed to get one for South Africa.