Babar Azam‘s century set up Pakistan’s three-wicket victory over South Africa in the first one-day international on Friday, although the tourists still needed to scramble a run off the final ball to win.
The Pakistan captain hit 103 off 104 balls and his team was cruising at 186-1 at SuperSport Park after South Africa scored 273-6 in its 50 overs.
Babar also became the fastest batsman in the world to score 13 ODI centuries, surpassing South Africa’s Hashim Amla, India’s Virat Kohli, and South Africa’s Quinton de Kock in the list. It took Babar only 76 innings to score 13 tons in the 50-over format. Amla had scored 13 centuries from 83 innings while Kohli had notched up 13 centuries from 86 innings.
Quickest to 13 ODI hundreds
- Babar Azam in 76 innings
- Hashim Amla in 83 innings
- Virat Kohli 86 in innings
- Quinton de Kock in 86 innings
- David Warner in 91 innings
Azam’s dismissal sparked a slump as Pakistan lost four wickets for 17 runs, all of them to fast bowler Anrich Nortje. Still, Pakistan only needed three runs off the final over.
Faheem Ashraf finally made contact off the fifth ball with a chip over the bowler’s head for two. He flicked the final ball of the game through the covers for a single to reach 274-7 and put Pakistan 1-0 up in the three-game series.
Azam’s was the game-winning innings. He was supported by 70 from opener Imam-ul-Haq and they shared a fabulous partnership of 177 for the second wicket after Pakistan was 9-1.
Nortje’s burst of four wickets threatened to undo the work of Azam and Imam as Pakistan slipped to 203-5. Mohammad Rizwan led the recovery with his 40, and Shadab’s contribution at the end was also vital.
Earlier, Pakistan put South Africa in to bat and made instant progress to have the home team struggling at 55-4. South Africa’s innings was rescued by 123 not out from Rassie van der Dussen and 50 by David Miller. The Proteas’ total was still below par.
South Africa was being led by new limited-overs captain Temba Bavuma for the first time. Bavuma made history as the first Black African to be appointed captain of South Africa.
(With AP Inputs)