From our correspondent
LAHORE: Mohammad Rizwan hit a splendid 104 not out to enable Pakistan beat South Africa by three runs after a tough fight in the first T20 game of the three-match series here at Gaddafi Stadium on Thursday.
Rizwan hammered six fours and seven sixes in his 64-ball unfinished knock as Pakistan posted 169-6.
South Africa then were restricted to 166-6. In the final over from Faheem Ashraf South Africa needed 19 runs to win and six off the final ball but Faheem conceded two to gift Pakistan a narrow win.
After being invited to bat Pakistan opened the innings with Rizwan and skipper Babar Azam (0) who got run out. Rizwan stayed at the one end and never came under pressure despite losing partners at the other end by becoming the first Pakistani wicket-keeper to have scored hundred in T20 International by surpassing Sarfraz Ahmad’s 89 not out which he had scored against Scotland in Edinburg in 2018.
Rizwan’s fifty came off 35 balls and his 100 from 63 balls when he hit a glorious six to complete it. He also became the second Pakistani cricketer after Ahmed Shehzad to have scored hundreds in all three formats and the second stumper of the world after Brendon McCullum of New Zealand to score centuries in all three formats.
Haider Ali (21) was seemed in good mood by hitting three sixes from 16 balls but failed to prolong his innings. Hussain Talat made 11-ball 15 with two fours while Khushdil Shah chipped in with run-a-ball 12 with one six.
Andile Phehlukwayo was the pick of the bowlers with 2-33 in four overs. Bjorn Fortuin (1-25), Lutho Sipamla (1-37) and Tabraiz Shamsi (1-20) were the other successful bowlers.
In response, South Africa had a good start with openers Janneman Malan (44) and Reeza Hendricks (54) put on 53 for the opening stand. Malan, who was the first man to get out, bowled by leggie Usman Qadir, struck eight fours and one six from 29 balls. However when the asking run-rate started mounting the Proteas kept losing wickets.
Hendricks was South Africa’s hope but he was smartly run out by stumper Rizwan in the 18th over that titled the game towards Pakistan’s way. He hit eight fours in his 42-ball 54.
In the end some smart batting display from Bjorn Fortuin (17) and Dwaine Pretorius (15) kept the visitors hopes alive until the final delivery was bowled when Faheem defended six runs by giving away only two.
Fortuin hit three fours from nine balls while Pretorius smacked one six and one four in his rapid six-ball 15 not out.
Haris Rauf (2-44 in 4) and Usman Qadir (2-21 in 4) were the most successful bowlers. With Haris being expensive, Usman did a fine job that kept South Africa under pressure.
Faheem Ashraf (1-37) also remained a bit expensive.
Rizwan was declared as man of the match for his glorious hundred. Rizwan also became the first Pakistani batsman to have hit the highest number of sixes in a T20 International following Mohammad Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad who have hit six each. The second game will be held at the same venue on Saturday with the third and final to be conducted on Sunday.
From our correspondent