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Babar Azam, Faheem Ashraf inspire Pakistan to a 3-wicket win in last-ball thriller

Babar Azam scored a match-winning century for the Pakistan cricket team
Babar Azam scored a match-winning century for the Pakistan cricket team
Modified 02 Apr 2021

Pakistan skipper Babar Azam led his side from the front at SuperSport Park to give his team their third victory in the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League. Azam scored a 104-ball 103 to provide the visitors with a superb start in their chase of 274 runs against South Africa.

Pakistan's middle-order collapsed after Babar's dismissal, as Anrich Nortje's four-wicket haul brought South Africa back into the contest. However, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Rizwan and Faheem Ashraf's contributions in the lower order guided Pakistan home off the match's last ball.

Earlier in the day, Rassie van der Dussen's maiden ODI century took South Africa to 273/6 in their 50 overs. The total could have been more than 300 had Faheem Ashraf not bowled an economical spell of 1/25 in his nine overs.

Brief Scores: South Africa 273/6 (Rassie van der Dussen 123*, David Miller 50; Shaheen Afridi 2/61, Haris Rauf 2/72) lost to Pakistan 274/7 (Babar Azam 103, Imam ul Haq 70; Anrich Nortje 4/51, Andile Phehlukwayo 2/56) by three wickets.

Visiting captain Babar Azam won the toss in Centurion and invited South Africa to bat first. The Proteas got off to a bad start as they were down to 55/4 in 14.2 overs. Shaheen Afridi removed openers Aiden Markram and Quinton de Kock early, while Mohammed Hasnain dismissed opposition skipper Temba Bavuma off the fourth delivery he faced.

Soon, Faheem Ashraf sent Heinrich Klaasen back to the dressing room. Klaasen played 21 deliveries in the middle but could only score a solitary run. Rassie van der Dussen then rebuilt the innings with David Miller.

The South African duo stitched a 116-run stand for the fifth wicket before Miller handed a catch to wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan off Haris Rauf's bowling. Rassie did not back off after Miller's dismissal as he, along with Kagiso Rabada and Andile Phehlukwayo, took the total past 250. South Africa ended their innings at 273/6.

Babar Azam's century ensures Pakistan win Centurion ODI

Babar Azam batted at a fantastic strike rate of 99.04
Babar Azam batted at a fantastic strike rate of 99.04

Chasing 274, Pakistan lost Fakhar Zaman in the third over itself. However, Babar Azam and Imam ul Haq denied South Africa an upper hand. The Pakistani pair added 177 runs for the second wicket.

Babar Azam completed his century off 103 deliveries by smashing 17 fours. But Anrich Nortje broke the partnership by picking up Babar's wicket.

Nortje dismissed Danish Aziz, Imam ul Haq and Asif Ali in quick succession to reduce Pakistan to 203/5 in 37.4 overs. Shadab Khan then had a vital 53-run sixth-wicket partnership with Mohammad Rizwan. South Africa made a comeback again by sending Khan and Rizwan back to the pavilion, with the visitors still needing three runs off the five deliveries.

Andile Phehlukwayo bowled three dot balls on the trot to bring the equation down to 3 off 2. But Faheem Ashraf kept his nerve and scored the required runs to give Pakistan a 1-0 lead in this 3-match series.

Published 02 Apr 2021, 23:59 IST
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