The cricket world has been left stunned by Mohammad Rizwan's bravery after the Pakistan star left his hospital bed to take on Australia in the T20 World Cup semi-final on Thursday.
Rizwan made a swashbuckling 67 as Pakistan came agonisingly close to making the final, before it emerged he had been battling a chest infection earlier this week.
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Further details from within the Pakistan camp revealed Rizwan had fallen ill on Tuesday, and spent two nights in a Dubai ICU bed.
A photo of Rizwan in hospital with wires attached to him has since emerged on social media.
He was only released on the morning of Thursday's semi-final, helping Pakistan reach 4-176 after batting first against Australia.
However it wasn't enough as Matthew Wade and Marcus Stoinis fought back to get the Aussies home with an over to spare.
"Mohammad Rizwan developed a severe chest infection on 9th of November after which he was admitted to the hospital," Pakistan's team doctor Najeebullah Soomro said.
"He spent two nights in the ICU recovering. He made an incredible recovery and was deemed fit before the match.
"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."
— Shoaib Akhtar (@shoaib100mph) November 11, 2021
Pakistan's batting coach Matthew Hayden was awestruck by Rizwan.
"This is a warrior, he's been brilliant through the campaign and he's got great courage," the Aussie said.
Pakistan captain Babar Azam, who put on an opening stand of 77 with Rizwan, also praised his determination.
"Definitely he's a team man," Babar said.
"The way he played today it was exceptional. When I saw him he was a little bit down.
"But when I asked him about his health he said, 'no, I will play'."
Rizwan was also forced to shake off a Mitchell Starc bouncer to the helmet during his innings and later had a near faultless display with the gloves.
Three of his sixes came off Josh Hazlewood, while another was a massive sweep shot off Adam Zampa.
Yes. sad story
— Abhishek ⤴️ (@ab8431) November 11, 2021
Thank you rizwan for your passion , commitment from last 12 months. You have made us proud with your true dedication to the game. Wish you a speedy recovery @iMRizwanPak inshallah Allah swt will always make you successful player with the hard work you show. Love you Rizwan #pak pic.twitter.com/MwVPmsXN2z
— محمد علي (@a1i72) November 11, 2021
➡️ In the ICU for two nights before the match with a chest infection
➡️ Hit on the face by a bouncer and played the rest of the match with a swollen face
Still made 67 runs and battled till the last ball of the match. Mohammad Rizwan, a Pakistani hero 💕 #Hasan_Ali #Rizwan pic.twitter.com/XJHVmrqxSe
— Saad Mushtaq (@Saadmushtaq05) November 11, 2021
Mohammad Rizwan spends all night in ICU due to chest infection and the next day he plays for Pakistan with the same passion and energy and forgets his pain for the sake of Pakistan. he is gem 😭😭😭💎 pic.twitter.com/kKEKArWmgy
— Ahmad waqas chughtai🇵🇰 (@786_chughtai) November 11, 2021
Pakistan rue missed opportunities after semi-final loss
Pakistan's loss to Australia will mark something of a missed opportunity, given they were undefeated throughout the group stage and spent large parts of the past five years as World No.1.
In a dramatic semi-final, Australia's asking rate went beyond 12 runs an over before Wade smashed three straight sixes to win it with six balls to spare.
When Glenn Maxwell became the fourth victim for Shadab Khan, who recorded the best-ever T20 World Cup semi-final figures by a bowler, Australia were in a massiive hole.
But just like Michael Hussey did 11 years ago in St Lucia, Stoinis and Wade broke Pakistan's hearts.
The pair let the equation get down to 62 from five overs before Stoinis (40 not out from 31 balls) got the margin back to 22 from the last two overs.
Then Wade exploded, with his last 33 runs coming from eight balls.
Dropped by Haris Rauf with 20 needed from 10, Wade hit the next three balls into the stands to seal the match with six balls to spare.
He ramped Shaheen twice and flicked him over the legside once in a brutal 147 seconds that ended the previously unbeaten Pakistan's tournament.
It comes after the other dominant team of the group stage - England - were shocked by New Zealand on Wednesday night, creating an unlikely final between the trans-Tasman rivals.
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