Babar Azam, the captain of the Pakistan cricket team across formats, recently revealed his favourite ODI innings of his eight-year international career.
Azam chose his unbeaten knock of 101 runs off 127 balls against New Zealand in the ICC Men’s ODI World Cup 2019. In that match, Azam’s century helped Pakistan successfully chase down a target of 238 runs with five balls to spare despite challenging conditions. He shared a critical partnership of 127 runs with Haris Sohail for the fourth wicket, who unfortunately got out when the team needed only two runs to win the game.
“The ton against New Zealand was very memorable. We restricted them for a good total. It became cloudy I think there was a bit of rain in the air. After that, the spinners started to get a lot of help,” Azam said in an interview on Pakistan Cricket’s social media handle.
Azam explained that he and Sohail decided to block spinners during their partnership as there was some assistance for the slow bowlers.
“Then it became a little difficult. I and Haris could build a partnership from there on the game started to change. We decided to play spinner as if we were playing a Test match,” the right-handed batter added.
Azam further stated that they planned to score at a rate of approximately four runs per over against Mitchell Santner, as the latter was the only spinner in the opposition’s bowling attack. After gaining confidence with a boundary-off sweep shot, the Pakistan skipper began to take charge and dominate Santner.
“They had only one spinner (Mitchell Santner). So we decided to take 4-6 runs per over. However, the fast bowling was coming nicely onto the bat, so we decided to dominate the fast bowlers. Then two wickets fell Haris Sohail came he dominated the spinner for a bit.
“From there a bit of momentum started to build and we took it till the end. Then I said Harry I can slog sweep Santner then he responded by saying the ‘surface is breaking’. Then I swept one it and went for a boundary then I swept another which I timed well then we started to dominate and won the game,” concluded the Lahore-born cricketer.
Azam is considered one of the world’s top batters, and his performances have played a crucial role in the national team’s success in recent years.