Pakistan captain Babar Azam earned praises from Pakistan cricket fraternity for the way in which he steered his team to a fantastic Test series win over South Africa at home. Babar Azam’s side came out on top not once but twice in the two-match series over the Proteas. Under Babar Azam’s captaincy, Pakistan completed a 2-0 clean sweep over Proteas for the first time since 2003. This is quite an achievement.
After winning the Test series, both teams are involved in the three-match T20I series. The first T20I match was played at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. South Africa approached the game with full of confidence much better than they played the Test series. South Africa captain Quinton de Kock won the toss and decided to bowl first.
Babar Azam departs for a golden duck
Wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan and captain Babar Azam came out to bat. Quinton de Kock brought Bjorn Fortuin to open the bowling. Rizwan took a single on the first ball off Fortuin’s bowling. After which, the left-arm spinner bowled a good delivery to Babar as the latter tried to nudge it towards the mid-wicket.
However, the spinner sprinted towards the ball and then picked it up before aiming directly at the stumps. Much to Babar Azam’s shock, he was short of the crease as he departed for a golden duck. Fortuin pulled off a remarkable fielding effort to affect a superb run out to dismiss Pakistan captain.
Despite losing wicket early on, Pakistan found momentum in the form of Rizwan. The wicket-keeper batsman who was named the man of the Test series turned up the ante in the first T20I where he scored a sensational century. He remained unbeaten on 104 off 64 balls with the help of 6 fours and 7 sixes at a strike-rate of 162.50.
In reply, South Africa showed a great deal of fight till the end. However, they lost the game by a whisker of 3 runs. Reeza Hendricks top-scored with 54 off 42 balls including 8 fours. Haris Rauf and Usman Qadir took 2 wickets each. The second match will be played at the same venue on February 13, Saturday