For Pakistan, Wahab Riaz is a tragic hero when it comes to Australia. The 33-year-old left-arm seamer met the Kangaroos in yet another World Cup match in Taunton on Wednesday and despite his individual brilliance, the team failed to overpower the opponents. In Adelaide Oval four years ago, Riaz had come up with a brilliant show with the ball to lead a fightback against the hosts in the quarter-final after Pakistan were all out for only 213.
In Taunton, it was his turn with the bat to try to see his team win while chasing 308. On both occasions, Pakistan fell short of the mission on both occasions.
In Taunton, Riaz was unlucky for not having picked up more than a wicket for 44 runs in eight overs. But he did his best to make it up by scoring a quickfire 45 off 39 balls coming in at No.9. The right-hand batsman added crucial 64 runs for the eighth wicket with his captain Sarfaraz Ahmed (40) in less than 11 overs to take Pakistan closer to the target that once seemed far off.
Riaz hit two fours and three sixes before a last-minute DRS referral by Australian captain Aaron Finch caught him making a faint nick to wicket-keeper Alex Carey off Mitchell Starc. It was the end of Pakistan after that and they lost by 41 runs.
On March 20, 2015, Riaz had made a similar effort as the second-change bowler (he was the same in Taunton too) as Pakistan's only hope of winning the quarterfinal was by bowling Australia out. Though his figures didn't truly reflect his effort (2 for 54 in nine overs) but his show particularly against Shane Watson was lion-hearted. Riaz bowled brilliant bouncers and short balls to intimidate Watson who was even dropped once off Riaz's bowling. At the end, 213 didn't prove to be enough but in his team's loss, Riaz remained a hero.