Babar Azam, who played a breathtaking innings of 122 off 59 balls in the 3rd T20I against South Africa, said he longed to play a knock like that for a long time. On the back of their latest win, Pakistan have now taken an unassailable 2-1 lead in the 4-match T20I series.
Pakistan made light work of the chase despite South Africa posting a mammoth total of 203 runs on the board. Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan shared a 197-run opening stand, helping the visitors win the tie comfortably by nine wickets with 12 balls to spare.
Speaking after the game, Babar Azam said:
"I was waiting for such an innings for a long time, I planned for it, and felt if I got a chance, I would grab it. I am thankful that I was able to deliver. I stuck to my strengths, and my game plan was developed around team requirements. If you need 10 an over, you definitely have to play with urgency and, for that, you have to take risks."
The 26-year-old also gave credit to his batting partner Mohammad Rizwan, who was fasting for Ramadan.
"The partnership with Rizwan was outstanding. I give him credit for the way he played because it is really tough to play while fasting, and despite that, he batted and kept wicket throughout. It takes a lot of courage and guts. The whole team takes inspiration watching him, and it brings us confidence," the Pakistan skipper added.
Babar Azam recently came under the scanner for playing a run-a-ball 50-run knock against the Proteas in the second T20I, which Pakistan lost. However, two days later, the captain answered his critics by reaching the three-figure mark in 49-balls in the 3rd T20I.
"Always been my dream to be No. 1"- Babar Azam
Just before the 3rd T20I against South Africa, Babar Azam overtook Virat Kohli as the No.1 ODI batsman in the latest ICC rankings. The Pakistan skipper said it was one of his dreams to achieve the No.1 spot.
"It had always been my dream to be No. 1, and that has been fulfilled. There was lots of hard work, suffering, and sacrifice needed to get there. I have always been trying to improve my game with each passing day, learning new things and applying them. We all know cricket evolves, and you have to keep up with it or risk getting left behind," the Pakistan skipper said.
The final T20I starts on Friday and will be played at the same venue in Centurion. Pakistan will be feeling confident going into the last game of the series, on the back of their thumping win in 3rd T20I. The visitors had already won the 3-match ODI series earlier.