Pakistan’s limited-overs captain Babar Azam took his stature up a notch as he became the joint-fastest (in terms of innings taken) to complete 1,500 runs in T20Is during the second game against England at Old Trafford yesterday. Azam shares the top spot with his Indian and Australian counterparts, Virat Kohli and Aaron Finch respectively.
Babar Azam, who was 29 runs shy of the 1500-mark, reached the milestone in his 39th innings, the same as Kohli and Finch. Opening the batting, Babar Azam smashed 56 runs off 44 balls, in an innings studded with seven boundaries.
In the process, the 25-year-old batsman also emulated Kohli and reached the summit of highest batting averages (minimum 500 runs) in the shortest format. Babar Azam surpassed Kohli’s mark of 50.80 to currently sit on a T20I average of 50.90 – the highest among any player.
Kohli (82) has played almost double the number of innings as Babar Azam (40), who is also currently the No. 1 batsman in the ICC T20I rankings.
Azam, however, has a long way to go in terms of getting close to Virat Kohli in T20I career runs. Kohli, who has scored 2794 runs in 82 matches, is the highest run-getter in the shortest format, followed by Rohit Sharma with 2773 runs in 108 matches. Next on the list are Kiwi opener Martin Guptill, Pakistan all-rounder Shoaib Malik and Aussie opener David Warner.
Babar Azam’s knock in vain as England take 1-0 lead
Talking about the match, Babar Azam’s half-century proved futile as his English counterpart Eoin Morgan led from the front to help the hosts take a 1-0 lead in the 3-match series. Pakistan posted 195 for 4 on the back of Azam's and Hafeez’s 69. Hafeez, in fact, became the first player in men’s T20Is to do a double of 2000 runs and 50 wickets.
England, however, rode Dawid Malan’s 54 off 36 balls and Morgan’s 33-ball 66 to complete the highest chase in any form of T20 cricket at Old Trafford.