‘I will try to live up to the expectations’
A key partnership between Mohammad Rizwan and Mohammad Nawaz set up a thrilling five-wicket win for Pakistan in their opening Super Four game against India in the Asia Cup on Sunday.
Pakistan promoted the left-handed Nawaz, primarily a spinner, to up the scoring and he delivered by promptly hitting a four and six.
Nawaz smashed five fours and two sixes in his 20-ball blitz and stood firm with Rizwan before getting out to Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
At the post-match press conference, Nawaz was asked about the decision send him higher up the order. The 28-year-old said that the team management might have taken the call. Nawaz also said that he had a clear mind to attack from the start.
"Management must have taken the call. I had a clear mind to attack," said Nawaz.
Pakistan captain Babar Azam also talked about the reason behind the promotion of Nawaz in the batting order. He said: "I thought Nawaz could exceed because they had two legspinners operating so we spent them up (about his promotion). Our spinners and fast bowlers at the death set the stage for us."
"There was positive pressure," said Nawaz, who also returned bowling figures of 1-25 with his left-arm spin.
"I felt I have to play well for my team and that time it was 10 runs per over and I knew I can do this. I just had to focus on my batting and execute the skills."
"To play such an innings in a high-pressure game has given me confidence and made me grow as a player," said Nawaz.
"I will try to live up to the expectations which will rise (after this innings) and perform like a proper all-rounder."
The match on Sunday was another cliffhanger and Nawaz said that he hopes both teams will play more such close encounters in the future.
"The first match we played was close and neck to neck. I hope we play like this all the time," said Nawaz.