Former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi on Saturday hailed current captain Babar Azam for scoring a wonderful century which helped the side register a thrilling win over South Africa in the first ODI.
Babar’s century and gutsy knock by Mohammad Rizwan and Shadab Khan ensured the visitors didn’t falter in the game which saw too many twists and turns.
The visitors first collapsed from 186/1 to 203/5 inside six overs during the chase and when they needed three in one over, Pakistan wobbled and brought the equation to three runs from two balls.
Afridi also praised the Green Army for getting over the line despite the “middle-order hiccup”.
“Brilliant innings from @babarazam258 absolute treat to watch. Really good to see Pakistan win the match despite the middle-order hiccup. All the best to the team in remaining matches,” Afridi tweeted.
During the game, Babar became the fastest in men’s cricket to score 13 centuries in ODI cricket.
Playing in his 78th ODI on Friday, Babar smashed 103 runs to guide his team to a three-wicket win in the first ODI of the three-match series against South Africa here at the SuperSport Park. He surpassed former Proteas batsman Hashim Amla and India skipper Virat Kohli to achieve the feat.
Babar has taken just 76 innings to score 13 tons while Amla, who until now was the fastest, had scored his 13th ODI hundred in 83 innings. Kohli had taken 86 innings to score 13 ODI hundreds.
In the first ODI, South Africa was reduced to 55/4, but the hosts recovered well thanks to David Miller’s fifty and Rassie van der Dussen’s hundred, and the Proteas posted 273 in the 50 overs.
Chasing 274, Pakistan didn’t have a good start as they lost Fakhar Zaman in the third over but skipper Babar and Imam-ul-Haq stitched a 177-run stand to revive the innings.
However, Nortje came firing on all cylinders and removed three Pakistan batsmen to put South Africa in the driver’s seat. Rizwan and Shadab then stitched a 53-run stand to lead Pakistan’s chase.
With this thrilling win, Pakistan has taken a 1-0 lead in the three-match ODI series. The second game will be played on Sunday at The Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. (ANI)