Wahab Riaz grabs chance to shine
MOHALI: Pakistan fast bowler Wahab Riaz emerged from the shadows with a career-best five for 46 in Wednesday's World Cup semifinal as India made 260 for nine.
The 25-year-old left-armer, who comes from the Pakistan side of the border state of Punjab, has often only played when others were injured, and all eyes focused on the likes of reverse-swing specialist Umar Gul and express quick Shoaib Akhtar.
However, Pakistan's decision to keep the 35-year-old Akhtar on the sidelines put Riaz in the spotlight, especially as he would have been the man dropped if the 'Rawalpindi Express' had been recalled.
The pressure on Riaz was intensified further when the normally reliable Gul saw 21 runs struck off his second over during a flurry of boundaries from Virender Sehwag.
Riaz, on as first change, stopped the rot when with only his fifth ball he had the dangerous Sehwag lbw.
The paceman, who made his debut three years ago and whose previous best was three for 22 against Bangladesh in Dhaka in 2008, later struck twice in two balls to get rid of Virat Kohli and dangerman Yuvraj Singh.
When he bowled Yuvraj, man-of-the-match in India's quarter-final win over champions Australia, for a first ball nought, an elated Riaz sprinted away from the pitch in a semi-circle of delight.
And his joy was there for all in a capacity crowd to see again when he kissed the pitch after having Zaheer Khan caught behind to complete his maiden five-wicket haul. -APP