(Reuters) – Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan played through the pain to secure a win over Sri Lanka with a record World Cup run chase on Tuesday and the batsman said throwing his wicket away due to cramp would have made their daunting task even tougher for the lower order.
Rizwan hit an unbeaten 131 and guided Abdullah Shafique during the World Cup debutant’s 113 as the 1992 champions chased down 345 to eclipse Ireland’s record of 329 against England in the 2011 edition.
Batting on 83, the 31-year-old collapsed to the ground due to cramp after smashing a six but soldiered on for the rest of the innings to ensure Saud Shakeel (31) and Iftikhar Ahmed (22 not out) did not have to too much heavy lifting to do.
“I’ll give credit to our physio. He gave me some magic, I don’t know what you call it, the cramp fix, it’s a medicine,” Rizwan told reporters. “At the moment I’m fine, but sometimes the pain or cramp comes, sometimes it doesn’t.
“During my batting I didn’t want to give it away, because you know the bowling of Sri Lanka, they have decent bowlers. If I give them a wicket at that moment, it’s difficult for the new batsman.”
Skipper Babar Azam’s early departure left Pakistan in trouble at 37-2 in 7.2 overs and Rizwan said the key to the chase was pacing the innings with Shafique.
“In big chases we’ve had contributions from Babar, everyone knows how big a player he is. Unfortunately, he got out and when he did we had a plan that till 20 overs we’ll bat normally,” Rizwan said.
“It’s this communication and calculation. The way Abdullah built the innings in the beginning, the kind of shots he hit made it easy for us to chase the score.”
Pakistan next face arch-rivals India on Saturday.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)