Babar masterclass powers Pakistan to 9-wicket win
Published: 10:22 PM, 14 April 2021
Babar Azam scored 122 from just 59 balls
Babar Azam blasted a superb century as Pakistan defeated South Africa by nine wickets in the third Twenty20 international at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Wednesday.
Pakistan, who were chasing a sizeable target of 204 set by South Africa, finished at 205-1 with a full two overs in hand.
Babar, who dethroned Indian captain Virat Kohli to become the No.1 ranked ODI batsman in the world earlier today, made 122 runs off 59 balls in a magical innings that ended when he was caught out in the 18th over. The skipper hit 15 fours and four sixes.
Earlier, opening batsmen Aiden Markram and Janneman Malan had set up South Africa for a big total with half-centuries.
South Africa made 203 for five after being sent in. The four-match series now stands at 2-1.
Markram (63) and Malan (55) hit powerfully to put on 108 for the first wicket before Markram was bowled by left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz off the fourth ball of the 11th over.
It was Markram's third successive half-century, a feat achieved previously for South Africa only by Hashim Amla in T20 internationals. Markram hit six fours and four sixes in a 31-ball innings.
Malan faced 40 balls and hit five fours and two sixes in making his maiden T20 international half-century.
Pakistan surprisingly left out leg-spinner Usman Qadir, the most successful bowler in their defeat in the second match, which left captain Babar Azam with only five bowlers, who each had to bowl a full quota of four overs at a venue where high totals are frequent.
Nawaz, the only slow bowler in the line-up, dismissed both openers and contributed to the South African innings briefly losing momentum after the opening partnership. Nawaz took two for 38.