Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman has defended Quinton de Kock and taken the blame of his run-out on himself after it became a major point of controversy. Not only Fakhar Zaman but South African skipper Temba Bavuma also came out in support of de Kock and termed it a 'clever' ploy by him.
Fakhar Zaman played a scintillating knock of 193 off 155 deliveries in the second ODI against South Africa in Johannesburg on Sunday. Chasing 342 runs, Pakistan were in the game until the last over with Zaman waging a lone battle and giving a scare to South Africa to run away with the game and the series. However, it was not to be as the Men in Green needed 31 off the final over, which they couldn't score. But, what became a major of controversy was Zaman's run-out in the final over, which didn't let him complete his double-century.
South African wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock had appeared to gesture that the throw from Aiden Markram might be going to the non-striker's end, which had impacted Zaman's running and then he was left surprised by a direct hit at his end. However, the Pakistani opener has stated that it was his fault and not de Kock's that he got run-out like that.
"The fault was mine as I was too busy looking out for Haris Rauf at the other end as I felt he'd started off a little late from his crease, so I thought he was in trouble. The rest is up to the match referee, but I don't think it's Quinton's fault," Fakhar Zaman said, reported ESPN Cricinfo.
Even Proteas skipper Temba Bavuna batted for de Kock after the wicketkeeper was widely criticized for allegedly using 'fake fielding' tactics to get Fakhar out. He remarked that it was a 'clever' act by the senior Proteas gloveman.
"It was quite clever from Quinny. Maybe some people might criticise it for maybe not being in the spirit of the game. But it was an important wicket for us. Zaman was getting close to our target. Yeah it was clever from Quinny. You've always got to look for ways especially when things are not going your way, got to find ways to turn momentum around. Quinny did that - I don't think he broke the rules in any kind of way. It was a clever piece of cricket," Bavuma said.
Pakistan eventually lost the game by 17 runs and this is what Fakhar Zaman regrets the most than missing out on his second ODI double-ton.
"I don't regret not getting the double, I regret losing the match," he said. "If we had won this it would've been amazing so my regret is about that. The situation was such that I was only focusing on getting the win, not the double. I couldn't finish it but I'd take scoring less runs than this and winning the game," Fakhar said.
Pakistan kept losing wickets regularly with half of the side back in the hut in under 25 overs. But the southpaw never stopped believing that the visitors can win the game.
"Yes, to be honest (I thought we could win it even then). I think around the 25th over I just called Saifi bhai (Sarfraz Ahmed), he knows my game, I talked to him and said ask Babar can I start playing my natural game because Shamsi was bowling with small boundaries," Zaman said. "At that time I was feeling that if I start hitting then I could win the game for Pakistan," he said.
The 2017 Champions Trophy final hero further added that he just wanted support from the other end.
"When wickets were falling and we were 200 for 7, I was just telling the others coming in to stick around. Don't get out. Don't worry about the runs, don't get out. The wickets here, you can't stop runs on so I was just telling them to stick around with me, don't get out."