With a daunting target of 344 set by Sri Lanka, Pakistan’s Rizwan led his team to victory with an exceptional 131*, marking a historic moment in cricket.
Rizwan’s Century: A Special Achievement
Rizwan’s exceptional century was a key factor in the record-breaking chase. He shared that the team was confident about their chances of reaching the hefty target halfway through the innings.
“The feeling of performing for your country in such a manner is indescribable,” Rizwan shared with Simon Doull for the ICC, following his Player of the Match performance.
“The chase was challenging, but our belief in our ability to reach the target kept us positive,” he added.
Key Moments in Pakistan’s Victory
Rizwan identified two pivotal moments that shaped Pakistan’s winning mindset during the match.
The first was when Kusal Mendis’ impressive 122 off 77 balls propelled Sri Lanka to 218 in just 29 overs. His dismissal allowed Pakistan to limit what could have been an overwhelming total.
“We decided that if we could restrict them to 340-350, we would be in a good position. Our bowlers, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, and Haris Rauf, performed exceptionally well to achieve this,” Rizwan explained.
“Kusal and Sadeera (Samarawickrama – Sri Lanka’s other century maker) played brilliantly, but we knew the pitch was in our favor and a target of 350 was achievable,” he added.
Strategic Partnership in the Face of Challenge
The second turning point came when Babar Azam was dismissed for 10, leaving Pakistan at 37/2. Rizwan and Abdullah Shafique (113) decided to focus on building a strong partnership rather than worrying about the run rate.
“We decided to build a deep partnership. We knew that if we could turn the innings into a T20 innings towards the end, we could chase the target,” Rizwan revealed.
The duo put on 176 for the third wicket, setting a solid foundation for a successful chase.
Final Stages of the Chase
With 132 runs still required when Shafique departed, Saud Shakeel and Iftikhar Ahmed played crucial roles in bringing the target within reach and concluding the game with ten balls to spare.
Rizwan’s Health Concerns
Rizwan experienced cramping during his innings, which he humorously referred to as “sometimes cramp, sometimes acting.” He credited the team’s physio, Cliffe Deacon, for providing effective treatment.
Pakistan will be hoping for Rizwan’s continued fitness as they aim to reach the tournament’s final four.
Pakistan’s Strong Position
With two victories under their belt, Pakistan is in a strong position, ranking second in the table behind New Zealand based on net run rate. Their next significant match is against India in Ahmedabad on Saturday.