Pakistan wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan posted the highest-ever score by a stumper from his nation and it couldn’t have come at a better time for his side. Chasing 345 to win, Pakistan had slipped to 37 for 2 but Rizwan’s unbeaten 131-run knock and a maiden ODI hundred by Abdullah Shafique lifted Pakistan to a record win over Sri Lanka in match no. 8 of the World Cup at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on Tuesday.
Rizwan surpassed Kamran Akmal’s 124 against West Indies in an ODI in Brisbane back in 2005. Pakistan also created a record by completing the highest successful run chase in World Cup history. Babar Azam’s side beat the record of Ireland, who chased down 328 to win against England in the 2011 World Cup.
But the path to triumph was not without its challenges, especially in Hyderabad’s humid conditions. Rizwan, who remained unbeaten with a stellar 131, battled muscle strains and cramps, an obstacle that first manifested when he was in his eighties. Painkillers and physiotherapy offered temporary relief, but a six off Dhananjaya de Silva in the 37th over saw him crumpled on the pitch, appearing to strain his calf. Yet, he soldiered on.
Rizwan’s subsequent breakdown after a six, which had commentators, including former New Zealand pacer Simon Doull, suggesting a film career for him, left fans puzzled as the batsman visibly grimaced in pain.
WATCH Mohammad Rizwan struggle with cramps in World Cup 2023 match against Sri Lanka HERE…
“Get Rizwan in the movies”
Further misfortune struck when an inside edge collided with his right leg, leaving him limping. Remarkably, even while hobbling, Rizwan secured his century and, after a few overs, seemed to recover spontaneously, guiding Pakistan to an emphatic win.
“It is always a proud moment for me whenever you perform for your country. I am speechless at this moment. It was difficult. The thing was that after the bowling innings we went back and everyone was confident. Unluckily, they got Babar Azam early but we got good partnerships after that. It’s a good track, was supporting to us. I told Shafique to take it step by step. Sometimes it’s cramps and sometimes I acting (chuckles),” Rizwan said after the match.
Pakistan’s next match will be one of the most-awaited clashes against arch-rivals India at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Saturday. Babar Azam’s side have won both their matches in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 so far while India will take on Afghanistan in their second match in New Delhi on Wednesday.