Pakistan posted a challenging total of 185/9 with the help of brilliant fifties from Shadab Khan and Iftikhar Ahmed after losing quick wickets against South Africa in the Super-12 encounter at the ongoing T20 World Cup on Thursday.
Shadab scored a blazing fifty off just 20 balls to help Pakistan recover from the early setback by Protea pacers. Iftikhar also scored 51 playing the role of anchor to help his team end with a decent score.
Opting to bat first, the Pakistani inning started on a bad note as they lost key batter Mohammad Rizwan to an inswinging delivery from Wayne Parnell in the first over.
Fakhar Zaman’s replacement Mohammad Haris was dealt a blow on the head by Parnell as he had his tail up after dismissing Rizwan in the over earlier. However, Haris came back strongly in the second over to smack Kagiso Rabad for back-to-back sixes, while also hitting him for a four in the same over.
The batter looked threatening as he smashed Parnell for another boundary in the next over. Meanwhile Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam struggled to find the middle of the bat and looked to bind his time at the wicket.
Haris continued his aggressive approach and scooped Anrich Nortje above the wicketkeeper’s head for a six in the fifth over. However, the pacer had the last laugh as he got rid of him on the very next ball, trapping him leg before wicket, in front of the stumps.
The right-hander played a blitzing cameo to push Pakistan’s net run rate before he was dismissed for 28 off 11 balls.
Pakistan’s captain’s inning was cut short by Lungi Ngidi, as he ended the scratchy inning of the batter in the sixth over reducing the team to 42/3 at the end of the powerplay.
The men in green were dealt another blow as Nortje sent Shan Masood packing in the seventh over, pushing Pakistan on the back foot.
An important fifth-wicket partnership between Mohammad Nawaz and Iftikhar Ahmed helped the Pakistan inning, as both batters looked comfortable at the crease and took the team beyond the 10-over mark at 68/4.
Iftikhar looked in great nick and looked the most comfortable of all batters as he smashed Kagiso Rabada for two boundaries in the 10th over.
Left-hander Nawaz looked to take the attack to the bowlers after having spent time at the wicket and attacked Ngidi in the 12th over, smashing him for two boundaries. The batter put his foot on the accelerator as he took Tabraiz Shamsi to the cleaners, smashing him for a massive six and a four in the 13th over.
However, Shamsi prevailed and came out on top as he dismissed Nawaz on the last over of the 13th over.
Iftikhar continued his merry way and smashed Parnell for a six to bring up his team’s hundred in the 14th over.
All-rounder Shadab Khan, who had just walked out to bat, took a liking to Shamsi and scored a six and a boundary of the bowler in the 15th over.
The ace all-rounder then decimated the Protea bowlers as he sent the ball flying around the ground frequently, providing a much-required boost to the Pakistani inning.
He went on to score a fifty off just 20 balls in the 19th over, with Iftikhar also bringing up his half-century in the same over. The batting duo bludgeoned the South African bowlers as they stitched an 82-run partnership off just 35 balls, helping resurrect the Pakistani inning.
Pakistani lower order scored 117 runs in the last 10 overs, helping the team post a challenging total for the South African team, as they ended with 185/9 in their 20 overs.
Brief Score: Pakistan 185/9 (Shadab Khan 52, Iftikhar Ahmed 51; Anrich Nortje 4-41) vs South Africa (ANI)