“Always proud when you perform like that. It was difficult, and when you chase like that, it’s always special. Every player in the dressing room had the belief we could chase that. Basically, it’s a good track and we decided to calculate the innings,” Mohammad Rizwan stated during a post-match presentation.
During the 37th over’s third ball, Rizwan boldly advanced down the track and dispatched the ball over long-off for a maximum. Although he later experienced cramps and briefly fell to the ground in pain, he made a remarkable recovery and played an exceptional match-winning innings.
When questioned about his struggles with cramps during the innings, Rizwan humorously replied, “Sometimes cramps, and sometimes I was okay (laughs).”
Pakistan’s captain, Babar Azam, lavished praise on the star wicketkeeper-batter, highlighting his partnership-building and pressure-inducing abilities. He stated, “I think Rizwan, the way he played… He built the partnership and put pressure on the Sri Lanka team. We finished well with our fast bowlers. First World Cup for Shafique, and he is in good nick, so I decided to play him. I think the way Rizwan and he played helped us with the partnership. Good for us, the middle order has stepped up and just believe in ourselves.”
Centuries from Abdullah Shafique and Mohammed Rizwan enabled Pakistan to achieve the highest run chase in World Cup history, defeating Sri Lanka by 6 wickets. Rizwan delivered an outstanding unbeaten performance, scoring 131 runs off 121 balls, while Abdullah Shafique contributed with 113 runs.
An explosive cameo from Iftikhar Ahmed further propelled Pakistan to successfully chase down the target of 344 runs with 10 balls to spare.
In the lead-up to this historic chase, Kusal Mendis (122) and Sadeera Samarawickrama (108) played record-breaking innings that posed significant challenges for the Pakistan bowlers. This match witnessed a unique occurrence in men’s World Cup history, with four centuries being scored in the same game, ultimately resulting in Pakistan’s triumph in a thrilling run-filled encounter.
(With ANI inputs)