Babar Azam continued his dominance in the limited-overs cricket with a match-winning century against West Indies in the first ODI. Azam slammed 103 to guide Pakistan to a comfortable five-wicket win, as they chased down 306 with four balls to spare. 

Babar forged two crucial partnerships with Imam-ul-Haq and Mohammad Rizwan to set up the foundation for the victory. Imam appeared fluent from the beginning, and his regular boundaries helped Babar to settle himself on the crease.

In the 41st over, Babar raced away to a century with a gentle nudge to the deep third. This was the third century in a row from the skipper, having scored 105 and 114 in his last two innings, against Australia. He achieved this feat for the second time in the ODI.

Moreover, Babar also broke Virat Kohli’s record of scoring 1000 runs in the fewest innings as a captain. Kohli took 17 innings to reach 1000 runs as a captain, while Babar did the same in just 13 innings. He also surpassed AB de Villiers (18), Kane Williamson (20), and Alastair Cook (21).

“I always try to continue my game and work on my strengths. There was a little bit of a problem during the calling when I was batting with Imam. But it got better as the partnership moved on. The wicket was a little double-paced and wasn’t that easy,” said Babar after the game. 

He also praised Khusdil Shah, who slammed four sixes in the last three overs to seal the game for Pakistan. “We have to plan and play with a lot of intensity. Outstanding finish from Khushdil. You have to take it deep so that there is less pressure on the finishers.”

Earlier in the game, Shai Hope and Shamarh Brooks added 154 runs for the second wicket after West Indies lost an early wicket to Shaheen Shah Afridi, who grabbed an easy return catch from Kyle Mayers. Hope and Brooks showed remarkable patience in the middle overs, batting almost 30 overs without being separated. 

Hope notched his 12th ODI century, while Brooks got dismissed by Mohammad Nawaz on 70. Rovman Powell and Romario Shepherd played sweet cameos to propel West Indies’ total to 305.

Image Courtesy: PCB