‘Settled score with him’: Wahab Riaz lifts lid on sledging battle with Shane Watson in 2015 WC quarter-final
Pakistan fast-bowler Wahab Riaz finally revealed the reason behind his sledging war with former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson during the ICC World Cup 2015 quarter-final in Adelaide. Australia beat Pakistan by 6 wickets, however, Wahab’s feisty bowling effort caught the imagination of fans world over.
The speedster revealed Watson had sledged him during Pakistan’s innings and he returned the favour during the Aussie innings. He specially targetted Watson, who managed to score zero off first nine deliveries from the left-arm paceman and was tormented right till the very end by the pacer.
“When he came into bat, I settled the score with him,” Wahab was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au. “When I was batting Watson just came up to me and said ‘are you holding a bat?’ and that was going through my mind.
“I let him know that even he had a bat, but he couldn’t touch the ball. I know that … he’s not good on the short ball, so it was a plan that we discussed in the team meeting.”
In the 214-run chase, the hosts were struggling at 59/3 in the eleventh over. Wahab was in full flow and he was beating Watson left right and centre with his fiery bouncers.
Wahab’s plan almost worked as he forced Watson to top-edge a delivery but to his disbelief, Rahat Ali dropped the catch at square leg and the Australian took the team home with an unbeaten 64 off 66 deliveries.
“A bit of luck went my way to get through that spell,” Watson later conceded. “He was bowling good pace, but also the (left-arm) angle... it was hard to be able to try and get my head out of the way.
“It kept following me. We knew he was a danger man, he had his tail up and he bowled some nasty balls on the money… a lot of them.”