On Sunday, Ahmad Shahzad became the first Pakistan player to score centuries in all three formats. The 22-year-old from Lahore hit an unbeaten 111 off 62 balls with 10 fours and five sixes to help Pakistan beat Bangladesh by 50 runs, what skipper Mushfiqur Rahim said was comparable to a 100-150-run loss in ODIs.
It raised the stature of the last league game of this group between West Indies and Pakistan on Tuesday to a quarter-final. Touted by batting legend Zaheer Abbas as the next big thing in Pakistan cricket, Shahzad made up for two quiet matches in the World T20 with a blistering knock and soon afterwards was giving it back to the Pakistani media for criticising him.
Shahzad said he did not try to do anything extra and stuck to his game plan but Bangladesh will vouch for the fact that Shehzad was lucky even to get to double figures. Twice he tried to jump outside the off stump and hit medium-pacer Al Amin over midwicket and the ball missed the stumps by a whisker.
On a batting paradise and against some wayward bowling, Shahzad stamped his authority. This was his second century this month, after hitting one at the same ground against the same opponents in the Asia Cup.
"I have been listening to so many things after the last two games. This is what happens in T20 cricket. When you don't play good in a couple of games, pressure is on you. But that is when you have to show character," he said, adding the unbeaten 98 against Zimbabwe would be closer to his heart as it had helped secure his place in the one-day side.
"It was our game plan that I bat through 20 overs and let the rest bat around me. It worked. But we must all understand that in this format where the margin of error for the bowlers is very less, the batsmen must also try a lot of different things because of which he can get out as well. It is important for everyone to understand that and not judge a player on the basis of one or two innings."