Pakistan team was batting then. Babar Azam on the wicket. Leading Pakistani cricket statistician Mazhar Arshad tweeted, “The world stops during Babar Azam’s drive.”
Honestly, his cover drive is monologue to cricket lovers. And so when someone like Virat Kohli or Babur is batting, social media becomes loud. Babur, who became the ‘nucleus’ of Pakistan’s three-wicket win by scoring a century in the first ODI of the series at Centurion today, was met by Pakistani cricket fans.
There are reasons for that. Pakistan did not get less world class batsmen. Many of them have led the national team. But in one place no one was able to get up like that. No Pakistani captain has scored an ODI century on South African soil before Babur picked up a century today.
Babur, as a ‘pioneer’, made his way out with his bat. His innings of 103 off 104 balls was arranged in 18 fours.
However, his teammates sat down to make such an innings in vain. Pakistan has drawn the match that can be won by laughing as the end of the last over. Chasing 283 for 6 in South Africa, Pakistan won by 3 wickets. They needed 3 in the last over. The visitors needed that ball to make that run.
In the third over, Fakhar Zaman (6) was bowled by Kagiso Rabadar and Babar came to the wicket. Imam-ul-Haq’s 181 off 161 balls with him laid the foundation for Pakistan’s victory. Babar was dismissed after Proteas pacer Anrikh Narkia hit his 13th ODI century with four hits.
South Africa tried to turn around towards the end of the match. But he could not leave the field with a smile.
South Africa tried to turn around towards the end of the match. But he could not leave the field with a smile. Photo: AFP
Babar contributed 103 runs for 18 runs. Pakistan’s collection was 17 for 2 then. Pakistan needed 6 runs from 109 balls. It is not difficult to score 6 runs.
Imam (60) was also out after one over. Bowler Narkia again. Narkia also picked up Danish Aziz and Asif Ali in 10 runs. Thanks to this fast bowler, Pakistan became 203 runs for 5 wickets. Mohammad Rizwan and Shadab Khan, however, overcame the danger. Rizwan returned with 40 runs but Shadab’s determination helped Pakistan start the match in the last over.
But the match was frozen in the previous two overs. Rizwan was dismissed in the 47th over. Pakistan needed 14 runs in the last 2 overs. Fast bowler Lungi Engidi gave 11 runs in that over. In that over, apart from ‘no ball’ (missed chances of bowling out), Shadab’s catch was dropped by Rasi von der Dussen, who scored a century for the Proteas.
Shadab, who scored 33, was dismissed in the first ball of the last over. Fahim Ashraf could not take any run in the next three balls. The fourth ball left incredibly! Pakistan needed 3 runs from the last 2 balls. Fahim took 2 runs in the fifth ball. In the last ball, Fahim got rid of the fielder who was in the equation point of 1 run. Pakistan took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
In the 8th innings, Babar scored 13 centuries in ODIs. No other batsman has scored 13 centuries in such a short innings. Earlier, Fon der Dussen’s 123-run innings saw South Africa collect the wickets. David Miller scored 50 runs. Norkier took 4 wickets for 51 runs for the Proteas. Fahim and Shaheen Shah Afridi took two wickets each for Pakistan.