Babar Azam’s half-century propelled Pakistan to their second win in the ongoing T20I tri-series on Saturday, edging past New Zealand by six wickets in Christchurch. After getting the better of Bangladesh in the opening game, the Men in Green showed their dominance over the hosts as well.
Batting first, the Black Caps could hardly step on the gas, mostly because of a brilliant fast bowling by Haris Rauf, who conceded 28 runs and scalped the big wickets of Mark Chapman, James Neesham and Michael Bracewell.
Devon Conway, Kane Williamson and Chapman scored 36, 31 and 32 respectively. Their 30+ scores took New Zealand total to 147-8.
Azam – who went on to stay unbeaten on 79 off 53 with 11 fours – after the match said that his rapid 61-run stand with Shadab Khan for the third wicket gave an insight to a tactic they could employ at the upcoming T20 World Cup, with the all-rounder promoted up the order.
“We have a plan to send Shadab up to charge the bowlers, to utilise his skills. He played very well.
“Me and Shadab planned that I play all the way and he will go for his shots,” said the Pakistan skipper.
In the T20I Tri-series, New Zealand will next play Bangladesh on Sunday (October 9) before meeting Pakistan again on Tuesday (October 11).
Here is how Twitter reacted:
What a treat to watch his drives
— Wajahat Kazmi (@KazmiWajahat) October 8, 2022
— MAWRA HOCANE (Hussain) (@MawraHocane) October 8, 2022
Dear Pakistani cricket fans! Feel yourself to be blessed for having Babar Azam as your captain. Other teams crave for having matchwinners like Babar Azam play for their country. Such legendary batters who define their own class are born after decades. #NZTriSeries
— Arfa Feroz Zake (@ArfaSays_) October 8, 2022
Visiting Players in SENA T20Is
500 runs – 10 Players
500 runs + 50 Avg – Babar Azam*
— Broken Cricket (@BrokenCricket) October 8, 2022
Brilliant batting by Babar Azam,played with a strike rate of 149 and took PAK to victory. Change in batting order sending Shadab at no 4 also helped PAK to achieve the target, well done Pakistan #PAKvNZ
— Mirza Iqbal Baig (@mirzaiqbal80) October 8, 2022
Commanding innings – Babar Azam producing a special innings in a chase for the umpteenth time pic.twitter.com/s4tZyWeGoY
— Emmad Hameed (@Emmad81) October 8, 2022
Babar Azam has now hit the winning shot 5 times in his T20I career.
Only Pakistani to hit more is Shoaib Malik (10 times). Asif Ali has hit it 4 times while Afridi and Hafeez have hit it 3 times each.#NZvPAK #NZTriSeries
— Israr Ahmed Hashmi (@IamIsrarHashmi) October 8, 2022
“Alexa play Haris Rauf”
Alexa : He can’t be played he’s unplayable pic.twitter.com/1MAut3BBm0
— Haroon (@ThisHaroon) October 8, 2022
Haris Rauf has got 62 wickets in 49 T20Is, this is the most by any bowler since debut of Haris Rauf in January 2020. Also, this is jointly the most aggregate wickets by a Pakistani fast bowler after 49 T20Is, Umar Gul also had 62 in 49. pic.twitter.com/QtVYbeOHr2
— Faizan Lakhani (@faizanlakhani) October 8, 2022
Interesting stat: Haris Rauf has a better econ at the death (last 4 overs) in international T20s than franchise & domestic T20s. In T20Is his economy is 8.14. In franchise + domestic it is 9.38.
— Rehan Ulhaq (@Rehan_ulhaq) October 8, 2022