Ashraf Ali Siddiqui describes an unforgettable event
His astonishing batting attack took cricket Twitter blazing with Babar Azam’s century by storm and his performance is still trending on Twitter with fans praising his performance two nights ago. Babar Azam scored his third T20i century during a five-match series against New Zealand at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, making him the player with second-highest number of T20i hundreds. Babar now has a total of three centuries under his belt bringing him one step closer to the record. He is also the only Pakistani batter with more than one century in the format. During the intense match, the skipper scored a half-century off merely 36 balls and then made 51 runs in the next 22 deliveries. The Babar craze is not only limited to the online realm. A user shared a video of the crowd at the Gaddafi Stadium, cheering for the batter after he completed his hundred. Babar has been met with criticism for allegedly prioritising increasing his own strike rate over trying to score more runs for the Pakistani team during matches.
Babar Azam is known to be more comfortable playing traditional cricketing shots than the kind that T20’s more destructive willow-wielders pull off. However, last week Babar showed that he is more than capable of overcoming this new challenge as well, and that too on his own terms, as he charged the opposition ruthlessly. Babar had made 43 off 27 deliveries in the first 10 overs as Pakistan looked to be cruising to the 200-run mark at 98-0. When the side lost four quick wickets, Babar consolidated and scored only seven off the next nine balls and reached his half-century off 36 deliveries in the 15th over. From then on, with some able support from Iftikhar Ahmed, Babar once again upped the ante in the final five and made his next 51 runs off 22 deliveries.
Perhaps Twitter blazing with Babar Azam’s century biggest struggle has been to reapply peddle to the metal once, for whatever reason, he has fallen into a lull in his innings. On such occasions, his knocks usually end with a tame attempt at clearing the straight boundary that ends up down the throat of either mid-off or mid-on but not this time.
There are many who will continue to criticise and condemn T20’s most prolific batting partnership and the part that Pakistan’s captain plays in it, but for now the critics will have to wait in the wings as Babar shows a wonderful ability and willingness to adapt. Pakistan’s finest T20 batsman must now elevate his game to even more otherworldly levels still —the emergence of a genuinely exciting and aggressive crop of young Pakistani batsmen now demands it. TW
Ashraf Ali Siddiqi is with