SA vs PAK: ©AFP
Babar Azam gave a batting masterclass to give Pakistan a nine-wicket win in the third T20 International (T20) match against South Africa at Supersport Park, Centurion on Wednesday. Babar scored his first T20I century, setting the record for the first wicket partnership of Mohammed 197, while Mohammed Rizwan (73 not out) had two overs remaining to chase down a challenging target of 204 runs. In fact, the only flaw in the superb batting performance by the Pakistan captain was when he played Lizad Williams on the ramp and dismissed South Africa wicketkeeper and captain Henrik Lalsen.
Rizwan hugged his captain as he walked into the dressing room, while several South African players arrived to congratulate him after an almost flawless timing and placement innings.
He hit 15 fours and four sixes in 59 balls.
Speaking in Urdu after the match, Babur said that he is happy with his performance.
“I live with my strength,” Babur said.
Bazar, who was unbeaten in a successful run chase for the second time in the series, credited Rizwan.
He said that Rizwan was fasting during Ramadan, but was involved in the entire match as he was both a wicketkeeper and a batsman.
After a good defeat in the second match in Johannesburg on Wednesday, Pakistan took a 2–1 lead in the four-match series.
Babar and Rizwan had the fourth-largest partnership in all T20 internationals, while Babar scored the highest individual score by a Pakistani batsman, with Ahmed Shehzad scoring an unbeaten 111 against Bangladesh in 2014 in Dhaka.
Babar’s previous highest score was 97 against the West Indies in Karachi in 2018.
It was Pakistan’s most successful run chase, scoring 189 for six against an opponent four days earlier in Johannesburg.
After scoring 103 and 94 runs in two ODIs on the tour, Babur continued to advance to Centurion.
The final T20 International will be played on the same ground on Friday.
“He batted really well. He bowled a lot of good balls.” Kalsen said.
South Africa admitted that Dan Markram (63) and Zamanman Malan (55) failed in a strong 108-run fight.
In contrast, Babar made his bowlers return after being punished by the South African opener.
South Africa finished 203 out of five, but they are not good enough on the ground with a reputation for high scoring.
“Maybe we’ve lost some momentum in the end,” Klassen said.
“We tried a lot of things but our performance in this area was poor.”
In the second over, two missfields gave Pakistan a brilliant start when Rizwan was 51 to get a direct chance to defeat Bayern Hendrick.