Mohammad Rizwan: Profile of a Fighter
On 11 November, Australia and Pakistan are getting ready to battle it out in the semifinal of the T20 World Cup. Pakistan’s fans heave a collective sigh of disappointment after the team have lost the toss. Now, Pakistan have to bat first and give the dew advantage to Australia whom they have never beaten in an ICC knockout match.
Contrasting Starts by Babar and Rizwan
Babar Azam appears unfazed at the crease as he takes control early in the innings. A cover drive followed by a couple of leg-glances draw applause. But at the other end, Azam’s partner appears completely at sea. Every ball appears to be a wicket-taking ball as the stocky individual plays a few inside edges and looks as though he could get out any time. The contrast between the players at the wicket cannot be starker. While the skipper is timing every ball sweetly, his partner appears to have got out of the wrong side of the bed that morning.
Sluggish Start Leads to Transformation
Enter Josh Hazlewood with the ball in the 5th over and the ball is crunched over deep square leg by Babar Azam’s partner after the latter plants his front foot across the stumps. Suddenly the celebrations begin in the stands. People are beginning to wonder — was that really M Rizwan, before the fifth over? But they no longer have any doubt as Rizwan pulls a full toss to the backward square leg fence.
For most of his knock in the semifinal versus Australia, Rizwan appeared to fidget. A few inside edges and a life (after Warner dropped a catch) later, Rizwan began to resemble the batsman Pakistan fans had grown used to through most of 2021.
Straight out of hospital to the Dubai International Stadium
Most people knew only after the match that Rizwan had been hospitalised for two days preceding the semifinal with a chest infection. In fact, the Pakistan opener had even reportedly spent a few hours in an intensive care unit. That explained the sluggish start to the innings. The team management included the wicket-keeper-batsman in the playing eleven only after he had consented to play. Forget the fact that the diminutive batsman had to make a huge effort simply to reach the Dubai International Stadium. Thereafter, he batted for over 17 overs and kept wickets for 19. On another day, Rizwan’s exploits with the bat would have tilted the match in his team’s favour.
Most Valuable Player
Rizwan’s runs have been worth the weight of gold for Pakistan. Not only has he scored runs by the truckload, but he has also displayed strength of character in the way he has gone about his business, with unwavering belief in the face of adverse circumstances. Over the last two years, he has proved to be a street fighter, willing to roll up his sleeves and do whatever his team wants him to do. His innings in the semifinal was more proof of that — he was down one moment but could never be kept down for long.
Many ex-players including a former captain have been tapped by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to step into head coach Mickey Arthur’s shoes when he leaves the Sri Lankan squad to begin his coaching assignment with English county side Derbyshire in December. According to a report in a Sri Lankan national daily, SLC has approached Mahela […]
Cricket will feature for only the second time in the Commonwealth Games. The 22nd edition of the Games will feature cricket along with netball on the opening day of the international event. The 2021 Commonwealth Games will kick off with a women’s T20 clash between traditional rivals Australia and India, recalling their match at the […]
Before the start of the T20 World Cup 2021 tournament, India were considered favourites to win the trophy. However, they did not make it to the semifinal stage. Though they won three of their Super 12 round matches, India paid the price for losing to Pakistan and New Zealand. However, despite failing to become T20 […]
After breaking his hand, New Zealand’s wicket-keeper-batter Devon Conway could not play in the T20 World Cup final versus Australia on 14 November. The injury is also likely to rule Conway out of New Zealand’s tour of India. In Conway’s absence, Tim Seifert kept wickets for New Zealand in the title clash at the World […]
The mega auction for the IPL 2022 is expected to happen in December 2021. In this article, we look at five players who shone in the T20 World Cup and who are yet to play in the IPL. We believe that these young players can expect to monetise their good performances with attractive contracts in […]
It will be New Zealand vs Australia in the final of the T20 World Cup in Dubai on 14 November. New Zealand beat England by 5 wickets in the first semifinal on 10 November, while Australia beat Pakistan by a similar margin in the second semifinal on 11 November. The results have ensured that a […]