Pakistan hail 'warrior' Mohammad Rizwan while Babar Azam backs 'fighter' Hasan Ali

Rizwan went from hospital bed to half-century in losing effort against Australia while Hasan dropped match-winner Wade in key moment of T20 World Cup semi-final

Mohammad Rizwan was hailed as a "warrior" after revealing he was in hospital with a severe chest infection days before taking the field to score a brave half-century in defeat to Australia at the T20 World Cup semi-finals.

Rizwan top-scored for Pakistan with 67 off 52 balls in Thursday's match in Dubai to help post a total of 176, but Australia reeled in the runs to reach Sunday's final against New Zealand.

Pakistan's team doctor said Rizwan was admitted to hospital on Tuesday and spent two nights in intensive care.

"He made an incredible recovery and was deemed fit before the match," doctor Najeebullah Soomro said.

"We can see his great determination and tenacity that shows his spirit of performing for the country. And we can see how he performed today."

"This is a warrior," said Pakistan batting coach Matthew Hayden, the former Australia Test opener.

"He has been brilliant through [the tournament] and he’s got great courage, as has Babar [Azam]. Fantastic tonight from him."

Opener Rizwan showed no sign of illness, clubbing four sixes and three fours before falling to paceman Mitchell Starc.

Captain Babar, who opened the batting with Rizwan, said the 29-year-old was a "little bit down" before the match.

"But when I asked him about his health he said, 'no, I will play'," said Babar.

During his innings, Rizwan became the first player to score 1,000 runs in T20 internationals in a calendar year.

Scoring 281 for the tournament at an average of 70.25, Rizwan is second only to Babar (303) on the World Cup runs list.

Matthew Wade smacked three successive sixes off Pakistan’s Shaheen Afridi in the penultimate over to guide Australia to a five-wicket victory.

But a dropped a regulation catch by Hasan Ali just before gave the left-handed batsman a reprieve as he and Marcus Stoinis (40) put on an unbeaten stand of 81 to pull off the chase.

Hasan was trolled on social media as fans blamed the spilled chance for their World Cup miss after coming into the semi-final unbeaten and favourites.

Pakistan skipper Babar described Hasan as "a fighter" who will bounce back.

"I don't feel like that," Babar said on the defeat being blamed on Hasan's dropped catch.

"He is my main bowler and he has won many matches for Pakistan. Players drop catches but he is a fighter and I will back him.

"Everybody doesn't perform everyday. There is a day when one performs, it was just not his day. He is down and we will lift his mood. People will talk but we keep playing."

Updated: November 12th 2021, 5:56 AM
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