In Abu Dhabi, Babar Azam shook previous records with his third consecutive century in three-match ODI series against West Indies. Pakistan’s new batsman has created a history and became third Pakistani player and overall eighth player in the world to score three tons in a row. His hat-trick gave 3-0 sweep to Pakistan which replaced West Indies at No.8 in the ODI rankings.
In a three-match ODI, Azam has become the second youngest cricketer of the world to make hat-trick after South Africa’s Quinton De Kock against India in 2013.
Meanwhile, he became the first Pakistani cricketer to achieve this in three-match ODI. Azam has beaten De Kock’s record of 342 runs and finished West Indies series with 360 runs. He broke the record of highest runs in a three-match ODI series, which previously hold by Quinton De Kock.
Overall the record for most runs in three consecutive innings is 411 by India’s batsman Rohit Sharma (264,9,138).
Now Azam is the highest run-scorer in a three-match ODI series ending up with classical innings of 121, 123 and 117 in this series. He has scored 886 runs in 10 ODI innings so far in his career and went past the record made by West Indies’ cricketer Viv Richards of 883 runs in 18 ODI innings.
In the past, there have been five cricketers to score three or more consecutive centuries in Test series but this was a remarkable achievement in ODI series by Babar Azam. Before this, Pakistani batsman Muhammad Yousaf was superb in his performance in 2006 and made five back to back centuries in Test series. Jacques Kallis of South Africa in 2004 and India’s Gautam Gambhir in 2009 also made 5 tons in a row.
Babar Azam In Third ODI Against West Indies
In the third ODI against West Indies Azam made 117 runs commanding 136-run victory over West Indies. Pakistan scored 308 for 6, a margin that seemed hard for West Indies to cover from the start. This margin could have been even bigger if Pakistan’s middle and lower batsmen played more efficiently with an already provided strong launchpad by Babar Azam and Azhar.
In their partnership, Pakistan had moved to 232 for 2 in 39th over and after that, the other batsmen only added 76 runs to this. Last ten overs were quite slow in pace as compared to the time of Azam and Azhar partnership and yielded just two boundaries.
West Indies’ batsmen did not manage to approach the required run rate to come near the challenge and got stuck. West Indies faced a total of 112 dot balls at the end of 30th over, which was even more than the dot balls faced by Pakistan in the entire innings and had a score of 119 for 5 at that time.
Pakistan took advantage of winning the toss and chose to bat first for the third time in the series on a flat pitch which gets slower with time. The best time to bat was at the very start which Pakistan took full benefit of. As the spinners continued to exert pressure, Azhar and Azam got along and brought the team’s 100 in the 20th over.
After that, the runs began increasing and Azam managed to score more with ease.
Azhar used the sweep and slog-sweep against Benn very efficiently and gave Pakistan its 2nd 100 for 83 balls. Holder ended up their partnership and after that Shoaib Malik was dismissed by Narine in the next over.
West Indies began pulling the team back in the second innings and Azam went on making ones and twos and made his century with only three wickets down. He got out on the last ball of 46th over by Kieron Pollard. Then Pakistan added 28 runs more after that and gave the target of 309 to West Indies.
West Indies’ openers, Lewis and Kraiff Brathwaite, gave a steady start with 45 runs in 56 balls after which Lewis was bowled by Sohail Khan. This was the biggest partnership by West Indies in this innings and wickets fell off speedily after that. Holder-Denesh Ramdin partnership of 42 runs was the second biggest partnership of West Indies in this but it came when West Indies was just about to lose the match. Imad Wasim broke that partnership and last five batsmen just managed to add 13 runs further.
This was a great success for Pakistani cricket team over quite some time of witnessing repeated defeats. Azam showed a spectacular performance and created many records with his three tons in this ODI series against West Indies. Before him, Saeed Anwar and Zaheer Abbas had made three consecutive centuries in ODIs in 1993 and 1982 respectively, KC Sangakkara being the only one to score four tons in a row.
This is no doubt a great achievement for a fresh cricketer and Pakistanis are so proud to have him. After seeing a dark time in cricket, Pakistanis have found a new hope in the form of Babar Azam. We wish him best of luck for his career and hope to see many such record-breaking performances in future.