Rizwan helps Pakistan beat Bangladesh tri-series opener

Mohammad Rizwan underlined why he will be a key weapon for Pakistan at the Twenty20 World Cup, top-scoring in a 21-run win over Bangladesh in Christchurch on Friday.

Rizwan maintained his rich vein of form with an unbeaten 78 as Pakistan posted 167-5, before restricting their opponents to 146-8.

It was the opening match of a week-long tournament, which also includes hosts New Zealand. All three teams are using it to prepare for the T20 World Cup in Australia.

The world’s top-ranked T20 batsman, Rizwan batted through the innings in cold conditions at Hagley Oval, tallying seven fours and two sixes in a chanceless 50-ball knock.

It was the 30-year-old’s 21st half-century in the format, continuing his form from last month’s T20 series against England, when he compiled a series-leading 316 runs.

His average in the format of 54.34 stands alone among the top 150 run-scorers. The next best is India’s Virat Kohli (50.84).

Rizwan’s best support on a tricky, two-paced wicket came from Shan Masood (31 off 22 balls), following an opening stand of 52 with captain Babar Azam (22 off 25) while Taskin Ahmed (2-25) was Bangladesh’s best bowler.

Rizwan said being patient after being sent in laid the foundation for a winning score.

“Early on the ball was a little bit grippy but me and the skipper decided to keep things simple,” he said.

Bangladesh’s chase tailed off after Liton Das (35) and Afif Hossain (25) put on a slick 50 for the third wicket from 34 balls.

Some late hitting from Yasir Ali (42 not out) restored respectability while speedster Mohammad Wasim (3-24) enjoyed late success with the yorker.

Players from both teams regularly slipped on a surface made hard by unexpected weather conditions earlier in the week.

A cold blast left ground staff sweeping snow from the covers and outfield on Thursday morning.

Temperatures hovered around a relatively warm 12 degrees Celsius (54F) throughout the match, the earliest ever staged in a New Zealand home season.

New Zealand will play Pakistan on Saturday and Bangladesh on Sunday, both at the same venue.

 

 

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