Red-hot Rizwan leads Pakistan to a T20 victory over South Africa

JOHANNESBURG, (Reuters) – Opener Mohammad Rizwan slammed an unbeaten half-century to lead Pakistan to a four-wicket victory at a nail biting over an inexperienced South Africa in the first Twenty20 International at The Wanderers on Saturday.

South Africa, which had no seven of its top players, either injured or released to compete in the Indian Premier League, won the toss and elected to bat, posting 188 for six in their 20 overs on outstanding wicket.

Rizwan scored 74 from 50 balls in Pakistan’s reply as the visitors benefited from the relentless home bowling attack and met their target with one ball remaining.

This is their highest successful run in T20 cricket, beating the 187 they managed in a win over Australia in 2018.

The diligent Rizwan was assisted over the line by Faheem Ashraf (30 of 14 balls) as the pair added 48 in 24 balls for the sixth wicket, turning the match firmly in favor of the visitors.

South Africa’s total got a half-century boost to opener Aiden Markram (51 of 32 balls) and stand-in captain Heinrich Klaasen (50 of 28 balls), but at one point they looked like they were cruising past 200.

Left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz (2-21) and sailor Hasan Ali (2-28) ensured they didn’t do with eight excellent overs between them.

The home team gave first time to batsman Wihan Lubbe, sailor Sisanda Magala and sailor Lizaad Williams.

The second game in the four-game series will be played at the same venue today.