Pakistan and Australia were involved in a run-fest in the second and penultimate ODI at the Gadaffi Stadium, Lahore on Thursday evening (March 31). After losing the series opener by 88 runs, Babar Azam & Co. bounced back in style to complete a record run-chase to level the three-match series.
After opting to bowl first, Pakistan bowlers were hammered by the Aaron Finch-led Australian side. Ben McDermott’s 104, Travis Head’s 89, Marnus Labuschagne’s 59 and vital knocks from Marcus Stoinis and Sean Abbott propelled the Aussies to a mammoth 348-8 in 50 overs. In reply, the home side rode on centuries from opener Imam-ul-Haq (106) and skipper Babar’s 114 to finish the match with six wickets and an over to spare. With this victory, the Men in Green recorded their highest successful run-chase in the 50-over format. In addition, this became the fifth-highest total for Australia that ended up in a losing cause.
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Courtesy another memorable performance, Babar not only helped his side level the three-match series at home but he also achieved a new record. The 27-year-old Babar has now become the fastest to 15 ODI centuries, surpassing the likes of Hashim Amla, Virat Kohli, David Warner, etc.
Here’s the list of top-5 fastest players to reach 15 ODI centuries:
Babar Azam (Pakistan) – 83 innings*
Hashim Amla (South Africa) – 86 innings
Virat Kohli (India) – 106 innings
David Warner (Australia) – 108 innings
Shikhar Dhawan (India) – 108 innings
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For the unversed, Pakistan hadn’t beaten Australia in 16 consecutive matches across all forms of the game, however, the hosts have turned the tables in an emphatic fashion with a memorable win in the second ODI in Lahore.
At the post-match presentation, Babar stated, “I think that opening partnership set the foundation for Pakistan and Babar came in and played brilliantly. When you lose the toss, it doesn’t make much of a difference. The wicket played really well throughout. I thought we did quite well with the ball and when Pakistan took the risks, it came off and it can happen in ODI cricket with only 4 fielders out during the middle overs.”
The third and final ODI will be held at the same venue on Saturday (April 2).