Pakistan put in a remarkable performance against South Africa to stay alive in the race for the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup. The Babar Azam-led squad recorded a 33-run victory over the Proteas (DLS) in Sydney and secured a second win in the Super 12 stage of the tournament. With the win, Pakistan is now third in the group table, making for a blockbuster on the final day of the group stage on Sunday, when all the Group 2 teams will play their final respective matches.
In their match against South Africa, Pakistan posted a strong score of 185/9 in 20 overs, while Iftikhar Ahmed and Shadab Khan scored important half-century. However, the famous opening duo of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan continued to struggle; while the Pakistan captain failed to reach double digits for the fourth consecutive time in this World Cup, Rizwan was sacked in just the fourth ball of the innings at 4.
Also read: Five-ball left in T20 World Cup? Massive refereeing blunder highlighted during Australia’s must-win match against Afghanistan
Former Pakistani cricketer Sikander Bakht, who has represented the side in 26 Tests and 27 ODIs, criticized Rizwan during a televised debate after his poor performances. During a program about Pakistan’s GEO Super, the anchor talked about Suryakumar Yadav’s ascent to the No. 1 spot in the ICC T20I batting rankings, to which Sikander made a pretty clear remark about Rizwan, who previously held the top spot.
“Vo (Suryakumar Yadav) no.1 hai duniya me. Unka stroke rate 177.20 hai. Jo hamaara player tha, jo number 1 tha, aur jisne hamein asia cup harwaaya, uska strike rate hai 127. Rizwan ka. Quality of players ki main bat kar raha hu. (Suryakumar Yadav is No. 1, his pass rate is 177.20. Our player, who was No. 1, who also lost us the Asia Cup, had a pass rate of 127. He is Rizwan. I’m only talking about the quality of the players),” said Sikander.
To this, former Pakistani wicket-keeper Moin Khan, who was also on the panel of experts, made a strong remark about Sikander’s ‘choice of words’.
“Ek word ki toh correction karein, koi jaan-boojh ke nahi harwaata. Aadmi tries karta hai. Monkey khud cricketer hain. Harwaaya nahi hai, thou lafz sahi nahi hai aapka. (You have to correct your word, nobody wants to lose intentionally. Players try, you’ve been a cricketer yourself. He didn’t let us lose, the word is not correct),” said Moin.
Sikander then clarified his comment. “Jab chase shuru kiya, uss waqt average (run rate) 8 ki thi. Unhone 16 over khele, to 18 ka mean karke chale gaye. (When he started the chase our required run rate was 8. When he was sacked in the 16th it had risen to 18rpo)’ said the former Pakistani cricketer.