Pakistani batsman Babar Azam fared better in ODI cricket yet again, beating out his contemporaries to chalk up another impressive achievement to his name.
In the first ODI against South Africa, the Pakistani captain managed to score 103 runs in a classy inning that saw his team out of the woods against South Africa after Fakhar Zaman fell early on.
Azam’s century puts him in a league of his own as the cricketer becomes the fastest batsman in the world to score 13 ODI centuries.
It took the Pakistan captain only 76 innings to score 13 tons in the 50-over format.
South Africa’s Hashim Amla, India’s Virat Kohli, and South Africa’s Quentin de Kock — his contemporaries — scored 13 centuries from 83 innings, 13 centuries from 86 innings, and 13 tons from 86 innings, respectively.
Azam is currently placed at number 2 in the ICC ODI batsman rankings. Kohli occupies the number one spot but, according to a cricket statistician, Azam can surpass Kohli to become the best batsman in the world in the 50-over format.
South Africa on Friday posted a 274-run target for Pakistan in the first of three ODIs at Centurion, with help from middle-order batsman Rassie van Der Dussen’s maiden ODI century.
After Pakistan won the toss and decided to bowl first, South African openers Quinton de Kock and Aiden Markram were contained early on by Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Hasnain. But once they had settled in and the hard work seemed to have been done, both were dismissed for 20 and 19 runs, respectively.
New captain Temba Bavuma contributed just a single run, as Hasnain picked his wicket, with Afridi the catcher. Soon after, van der Dussen was dropped in the slips by Asif Ali or the hosts would have been four down and all sorts of trouble.