Cricket World Cup: Pakistan's Wahab Riaz earns bowling praise

Wahab Riaz (left) and Shane Watson (right)
Wahab Riaz (left) tested Shane Watson but was unable to dismiss the Australian batsman

Wahab Riaz's bowling in Pakistan's quarter-final loss to Australia has been praised as one of the best and most hostile displays of the World Cup.

Riaz, 29, took 2-54 but was unable to prevent his side losing by six wickets.

"Wahab gave it everything - there were some really nasty balls," said Australian batsman Shane Watson. "I was lucky to get through his spell."

Australia captain Michael Clarke said Riaz's bowling was "as good as any I've faced in one-day for a long time".

A 'compelling' spell

Shane Watson
Shane Watson fends off a Wahab Riaz short delivery

Riaz bowled nine overs in the game, in two stints, the first of which was a six-over stint that saw him take the wickets of David Warner and Clarke - both caught from short-pitched deliveries - to reduce Australia to 59-3 in their pursuit of Pakistan's 213 total.

"Wahab really bowled well throughout the World Cup and he was a different bowler," said Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq. "He showed his class again and at one stage we were pretty much in the game."

Former Australia captain Allan Border described Riaz's first spell as "compelling" on Test Match Special.

"It was as good a spell as I've seen for a long time," said the 59-year-old. "Wahab hardly bowled a loose delivery."

Catches win matches

Riaz could have had a further two wickets but for two dropped catches - the first proving a decisive moment in the match as Rahat Ali failed to claim a miscued pull from Watson at fine leg when the batsman was on just four.

Watson would go on to make 64 not out and, along with Steven Smith (65) and Glenn Maxwell (who was dropped by Sohail Khan on five with the total at 154-4), would help guide Australia to the semi-finals.

Former West Indies batsman Brian Lara on Twitter
"It was a joy to watch Wahab Riaz bowling today. His stats will never reveal how great a spell of fast bowling that was from the Pakistani."

"If that catch off Watson had been taken, who knows what would have happened?" said Clarke. "This game would have been closer for sure.

"Fast bowling definitely played a part in this game for both teams. If Watson's catch had been taken maybe Pakistan's 213 may have been enough."

Misbah reflected: "The way he [Riaz] was bowling that catch could have made the difference,"

Riaz's World Cup bowling stats
MatchesOversWicketsAverage
766.11623.00

Riaz, who who has taken 16 wickets at an average of 23.00 in this World Cup, added: "It was a crucial moment. We would have had Watson and a wicket to put more pressure on Australia.

"We watched how the Australia guys play and had a chat before the game and put plans in place.

"I knew Watson was not so good with short balls so I knew I had to attack. The plans were successful at times but unfortunately we could not win the game."

Listen to highlights from Test Match Special's and 5 live Sport's 2015 World Cup coverage.

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