Wahab Riaz has dropped a bombshell by announcing his retirement from international cricket, marking an end to his illustrious career across all formats. Riaz played for Pakistan from 2008 to 2023 and left a lasting imprint on cricket fans, evident in the form of social media reactions.
The left-arm fast bowler was known for his pace, swing, and aggression. He took 83 wickets in 27 Tests, 120 wickets in 91 ODIs, and 34 wickets in 36 T20Is. Apart from a tremendous record, he is also being remembered for memorable performances in major tournaments such as the World Cup.
Wahab Riaz Defiant Against Australia
Australia is considered the “Final Boss” in the game of cricket. Pakistan has historically struggled against this goliath of a team but never stopped trying. Wahab Riaz bowled one of his most exciting spells against Australia in the quarter-final of 2015 World Cup in Adelaide. Tasked with defending a competitive total, Riaz started off with bowling a number of probing deliveries that rattled the Australian batting lineup.
Riaz first took the key wicket of David Warner in the eighth over with a short and wide delivery, causing the batter to miscue his shot. Warner tried to utilize the pace of the ball but ended up only extending his bat and guiding the ball in an uppercut fashion to the waiting fielder. A well-positioned Rahat Ali moved forward effectively and executed a skillful low catch, contributing to Warner’s departure with Australia’s score at 49 for 2.
His second wicket came in the 10th over and it was none other than the captain Michael Clarke. Riaz’s delivery was not an outright bouncer but proved uncomfortable for a batsman like Clarke with a history of back problems. The ball climbed towards Clarke’s helmet grill, and he could only manage to generate a tame shot off the splice of his bat, causing the ball to float gently into the hands of Sohaib Maqsood.
His spell was highlighted by a fierce and memorable duel with Australian all-rounder Shane Watson. Riaz’s fiery bouncers and searing deliveries challenged Watson’s skills, creating an intense and electric atmosphere on the field. Even though Pakistan lost the match by 3 runs, Riaz’s delivery became a symbol of resilience and determination that resonated with the viewers.
Passionate Bowling against India
Wahab Riaz was a key member of Pakistan’s bowling attack for 15 years. On his retirement, cricket fans recalled his instrumental role in Pakistan’s 2011 World Cup semi-final victory over India. Riaz was Pakistan’s leading wicket-taker with 5 for 46.
He took down crucial batters; Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Zaheer Khan, and Yuvraj Singh.. Umar Akmal caught Kohli for just 9 runs on Riaz’s delivery while he clean bowled Singh with a reverse swing yorker. Riaz was named Man of the Match for his performance.
Moreover, Riaz was again Pakistan’s leading wicket-taker with 3 for 37 in the 2017 Champions Trophy against India. He dismissed Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, and Suresh Raina.
He is also known put on a show for his fans with aggressive celebration gestures. These moments resonate deeply with fans who long for a victory against their arch-rivals.
Apart from being a formidable bowler, Riaz hasn’t also let anyone down when it comes to batting. He wielded his batting skills to bolster the team’s cause on multiple occasions. His ability to add vital runs down the order often provided Pakistan with a much-needed lower-order surge.
Riaz’s batting interventions were marked by a blend of determination and flair, illuminating his adaptability and resourcefulness across formats. As his career progressed, his contributions with the bat became an asset that the team could depend on in clutch situations.
During the 2019 Cricket World Cup, Wahab Riaz illuminated his batting prowess when he strode to the crease at the number nine position during a nail-biting chase against Afghanistan. In a high-pressure situation, Riaz showcased his mettle by notching up a rapid 15 runs from just nine deliveries. Among his hits was an emphatic six that resonated with his unbeaten cameo. This pivotal contribution played a part in Pakistan’s triumphant victory, as they secured the win by three wickets, with only two balls to spare.