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“I was nervous and the pressure was on with that Nortje spell” – Babar Azam

Babar Azam became the quickest to reach 13 ODI hundreds during the first ODI [Credits: PCB]
Babar Azam became the quickest to reach 13 ODI hundreds during the first ODI [Credits: PCB]
Modified 03 Apr 2021

Pakistan captain Babar Azam admitted to being nervous during their collapse in the first ODI against South Africa on Friday (April 2). He further expressed the desire to learn from the mistakes and in turn utilize them in the second and penultimate ODI on Sunday.

Chasing 274, Babar Azam (103 off 104) and Imam-ul-Haq (70 off 80) led Pakistan’s charge as they found themselves comfortably placed on 186 for 1 in the 32nd over. However, fast bowler Anrich Nortje forced a dramatic collapse as the visitors suddenly slumped to 203 for 5 in the 38th over.

Lauding Nortje’s efforts, Babar Azam conceded that the pressure got to them following the sudden slide. He further spoke of the need to apply the learnings in the next game to seal the series.

“When I went in, I just wanted to play to my strengths. I was hoping to get a partnership with Imam and we got a big one. To be honest, when the wickets fell, I was nervous and the pressure was on with that Nortje spell, and he bowled extremely well. Hopefully, we will learn from our mistakes. We need to take the confidence from this win into the next game and hopefully close [out] the series,” Babar Azam said after the match.

It required Shadab Khan’s counterattacking 30-ball 33 to take Pakistan closer to the target. However, when he perished in the first ball of the final over, the visitors needed 3 runs off the remaining 5 deliveries.

The match eventually had a last-ball finish as Phehlukwayo bowled three consecutive dots before Faheem Ashraf managed to scamper for 3 runs off the final two balls.

“We stuck to our plan and restricted them” – Babar Azam

Shaheen Afridi was the pick of Pakistan
Shaheen Afridi was the pick of Pakistan's bowlers with figures of 2 for 61 in 10 overs [Credits: PCB]

Earlier, Rassie van der Dussen bailed South Africa out of a precarious situation after the Pakistan pacers reduced the hosts to 55 for 4. The 32-year-old registered his maiden international hundred – 123 off 134 balls – to power the Proteas to a competitive 273 for 6.


Babar revealed his strategy and sounded happy that his bowlers were able to maximise the powerplay overs using the same.

“The wicket had a bit of moisture and we tried to utilise that, so credit to our bowlers for capitalising on that with the new ball. They took wickets in the powerplay and restricted them to 270-odd. I just told the bowlers to hit the hard length and not bowl boundary balls. We stuck to our plan and restricted them,” Babar Azam added.

After the remaining two ODIs, the two sides will lock horns in a four-match T20I series starting April 10 – all six matches will be equally shared between Centurion and Johannesburg.

Published 03 Apr 2021, 14:53 IST
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