Babar Azam’s ton helps Pakistan clinch ODI series vs Australia 2-1
Lahore : Pakistan skipper Babar Azam continued his superb form with the bat, smashing an unbeaten 105, while Imam-ul-Haq remained not out on 89 as the hosts defeated Australia by nine wickets at the Gaddafi Stadium here to take the three-match ODI series 2-1.After a brilliant bowling performance helped Pakistan bowl out the tourists for 210, with wicketkeeper Alex Carey (56 runs) the highest scorer for Australia, the hosts scored the massive win with more than 12 overs to spare on Saturday night.The victory meant Pakistan jumped to eighth in the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League table, leapfrogging New Zealand, with 60 points. Australia remain on fourth on the 13-team table, with 70 points after 12 matches.With the win, Pakistan gained two rating points, maintaining their sixth position on the table with 97 points. Australia, managed to hold on to their third position, but are now only two ahead of the fourth-placed India with 112 rating points.
Put in to bat, Australia were rattled early, being 0/2 at one stage. Pakistan picked up wickets at regular intervals before Alex Carey’s half-century steadied the ship for the tourists. His wicket though would lead to a mini-collapse for the visitors, before Sean Abbott’s fine 49 helped them to a score of 210.For the hosts, Haris Rauf and Mohammad Wasim collected three wickets apiece.Despite losing Fakhar Zaman quite early, Pakistan then cruised home in the chase, courtesy of a mammoth 190-run partnership between skipper Azam and Imam-ul-Haq. Babar scored the 16th century of his ODI career while Imam notched up a serene fifty, as Pakistan emerged as 2-1 series victors.Babar Azam was adjudged Man of the Match.The two sides will now play the one-off T20I in Lahore on April 5. The match will be a great opportunity for both sides as preparations heat up for the 2022 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia.
Brief scores: Australia 210 in 41.5 overs (Ben McDermott 36, Alex Carey 56, Cameron Green 34, Sean Abbott 49; Shaheen Afridi 2/40, Haris Rauf 3/39, Mohammad Wasim 3/40) lost to Pakistan 214/1 in 37.5 overs (Imam-ul-Haq 89 not out, Babar Azam 105 not out) by nine wickets.