Rizwan, Fakhar help Pakistan square series against Ireland

Published May 13, 2024
PAKISTAN batter Fakhar Zaman plays a shot as Ireland wicket-keeper Lorcan Tucker reacts during the second Twenty20 International at Castle Avenue on Sunday.—courtesy Seb Daly/Sportsfile
PAKISTAN batter Fakhar Zaman plays a shot as Ireland wicket-keeper Lorcan Tucker reacts during the second Twenty20 International at Castle Avenue on Sunday.—courtesy Seb Daly/Sportsfile

DUBLIN: Belligerent half-centuries by Fakhar Zaman and Mohammad Rizwan steered Pakistan to a series-levelling seven-wicket victory over Ireland in the second T20 International here at Castle Avenue on Sunday.

Chasing a testing 194, the tourists came home in just 16.5 overs as Fakhar and Rizwan — named player-of-the-match — combined for a match-winning partnership, with some luck, to help their team square the three-match series 1-1.

The way Azam Khan’s three sixes off fast bowler Mark Adair sealed the match signified Pakistan’s batting approach in the high-scoring game.

The tourists experienced early jolts losing opener Saim Ayub (six) and captain Babar Azam (nought) by the end of the second over.

After hitting paceman Mark Adair for his typical six over square leg on the second ball of the Pakistan innings, Saim atte­mpted a pull on the very next delivery but was superbly caught by an airborne Curtis Campher at short midwicket.

A tentative-looking Babar started with three consecutive dot balls and was eventually caught on the very next ball by wicket-keeper Lorcan Tucker off pacer Graham Hume in the second over as the skipper faltered in opening his account by playing an out-swinger through the on-side.

With Pakistan in trouble at 13-2, Rizwan adopted an attacking approach lifting Adair for a six over long-off in the third over before dispatching Hume for a six — an unusual maximum over third man — and a familiar sweep for four in the next over.

Fakhar Zaman showed his muscle hitting pacer Craig Young for a six over square leg in the fifth over in which the bowler was also hit for a four by Rizwan.

Pakistan crossed the 50-mark in 5.3 overs when Fakhar cracked a six off fast bowler Campher. Rizwan got a life in the same over when he was dropped at 31 by Hume who could not hold on to a high ball at mid-wicket. Pakistan ended the powerplay at 57-2.

After accelerating with another maximum in the seventh over bowled by Young, left-handed Fakhar was dropped at fine leg — again by Hume. The batter was on 26 at the time. Rizwan collected a boundary in the same over.

Pakistan posted 87-2 at halfway stage as leg-spinner Ben White’s introduction slowed down the run-rate.

Continuing with his customary aggressive batting, Fakhar struck Campher for back-to-back fours in the 11th over during which Paki­stan completed their 100 runs.

Rizwan smacked White for a six over mid-wicket to reach the half-century mark off 34 balls and backed it up with a four in the 12th over as the partnership reached century mark.

The 13th over delivered by Young yielded 21 runs — most productive for Pakistan — as Fakhar raced to his 11th T20 International fifty off 31 balls with a six, and added another maximum and a four in the same over during which Rizwan also contributed a boundary.

After hitting White for a four and a six in the 15th over, Fakhar tried another lofted shot but was caught magnificently by Gareth Delany at deep wicket. Fakhar’s 40-ball 78 featured six fours and as many sixes. Rizwan struck the spinner for a maximum in the same over that fetched 18 runs.

Azam (30 not out off 10, four sixes) maintained the momentum embraced during the 140-run stand between Fakhar and Riz­wan (75 not out) who faced 56 balls and struck six fours and four sixes.

Earlier after being put in to bat, Tucker and company helped Ireland pile up a fighting total.

Opener Andy Balbirnie started the proceedings productively sma­s­hing two fours in the first over bowled by fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi and followed it up with a stylish four off Naseem Shah through third man in the fourth over. Captain Paul Stirling in the second over struck a couple of fours off paceman Mohammad Amir, who replaced Shadab Khan for the game.

But Shaheen made a double strike in the fourth over removing both the openers. The left-armer first dismissed Stirling (11) who attempted a lofted shot but was caught brilliantly by a running Amir at deep mid-on. The bowler then sent dangerous-looking Balbirnie, who made a match-winning 77 in the series opener, back to the pavilion as the batter was caught by Fakhar Zaman at deep square leg. The right-hander made 16 off 14.

Naseem in the fifth over trapped Harry Tector right in front off a no-ball as the bowler overstepped. The batter came back strongly cracking back-to-back fours in the same over. Ireland ended the powerplay at 55-2.

Abbas conceded 13 runs in the seventh over as wicket-keeper/batter Lorcan Tucker lifted the right-armer over square leg for a well-timed six and then edged in the same over for four.

The introduction of spin from both ends with Imad Wasim coming in to bowl in the eighth over followed by Saim’s occasional off-spin put some breaks on the scoring rate as Ireland inched to 84-2 in 10 overs.

However, both the spinners were replaced as Abbas gave Paki­stan a much-needed breakthrough in the 12th over sending back Tec­tor (32 off 28, four fours), caught nicely at widish long-on by Shaheen.

Tucker kept the scoreboard moving as the right-hander swept Imad for a six in the 13th over after Ireland reached the 100-mark in the same over.

Shaheen proved extremely costly in the 15th over, conceding 21 runs as Campher thumped him for two sixes and as many fours. In the very next over however, Campher was dismissed caught and bowled by Amir as Ireland were now 137-4. The batter struck a quickfire 22 off 13.

Incoming batter George Dockrell struck Amir for a couple of fours in the same over.

Tucker completed his half-century off 32 balls in the 17th over bowled by Naseem who was beautifully struck for a four by Dockrell through the off-side as Ireland brought up their 150 in 16.3 overs. However, Naseem had the last laugh against Dockrell as the express pacer induced an edge to wicket-keeper Azam Khan. The batter played an eight-ball cameo of 15.

Tucker’s gritty knock of 51 off 34 balls — featuring five fours and two sixes — finally came to end in the 18th over when he was caught by Fakhar off Abbas at extra cover and the hosts were now 154-6. New batter Mark Adair smashed the same bowler for back-to-back fours as Ireland looked to push towards a fighting total.

Though Adair (nine) was cleaned up by Shaheen in the penultimate over with a classic yorker which reduced Ireland to 165-7, the bowler was hit for a six and a four by Gareth Delany.

Delany (28 not out off 10) enabled Ireland to finish the innings strongly as they plundered 17 runs off the final over bowled by Amir who was walloped for a six and a couple of fours by the batter.

Shaheen took three wickets but gave away 49 runs while Amir (1-44) and Naseem (1-36) also loo­k­ed pretty flat. Abbas (2-33) and Imad (0-21 in three overs) proved relatively economical.

SCOREBOARD

IRELAND:

A. Balbirnie c Fakhar b Shaheen 16

P. Stirling c Amir b Shaheen 11

L. Tucker c Fakhar b Abbas 51

H. Tector c Shaheen b Abbas 32

C. Campher c&b Amir 22

G. Dockrell c Azam b Naseem 15

G. Delany not out 28

M. Adair b Shaheen 9

G. Hume not out 2

EXTRAS (LB-3, NB-1, W-3) 7

TOTAL (for seven wickets, 20 overs) 193

DID NOT BAT: Ben White, Craig Young

FALL OF WICKETS: 1-29 (Stirling), 2-34 (Balbirnie), 3-96 (Tector), 4-137 (Campher), 5-154 (Dockrell), 6-154 (Tucker), 7-165 (Adair)

BOWLING: Shaheen 4-0-49-3, Amir 4-0-44-1 (1w), Naseem 4-0-36-1 (1w, 1nb), Abbas 4-0-33-2 (1w), Imad 3-0-21-0, Saim 1-0-7-0

PAKISTAN:

Saim Ayub c Campher b Adair 6

Mohammad Rizwan not out 75

Babar Azam c Tucker b Hume 0

Fakhar Zaman c Delany b White 78

Azam Khan not out 30

EXTRAS (LB-3, NB-2, W-1) 6

TOTAL (for three wickets, 16.5 overs) 195

DID NOT BAT: Imad Wasim, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Amir, Naseem Shah, Abbas Afridi

FALL OF WICKETS: 1-6 (Saim), 2-13 (Babar), 3-153 (Fakhar)

BOWLING: Adair 3.5-0-43-1 (1w, 1nb), Hume 3-0-32-1, Young 3-0-45-0, Campher 3-0-33-0 (1nb), White 4-0-39-1

RESULT: Pakistan won by seven wickets.

PLAYER-OF-THE-MATCH: Mohammad Rizwan

Published in Dawn, May 13th, 2024

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