Babar, Imam strikes as Pakistan beats Australia to level the ODI series by 1-1￼
Babar Azam scored an inspiring century followed by Imam-ul-Haq’s brilliant ton to chase down 348 against Australia at the Gaddafi Stadium Lahore in the second ODI on Thursday with an over to spare.
With this victory, Pakistan registered its highest run-chase in the ODIs. Chasing the target of 349, Pakistan achieved the milestone with six balls to spare.
Earlier, batting first, Ben McDermott scored his maiden half-century as Australia posted the highest total of 348 in the allotted 50 years against Pakistan.
McDermott and Travis Head gave their side a solid start after Aaron Finch lost his wicket in the first over. Marnus Labuschagne and Marcus Stoinis also played crucial knocks of 59 and 49 respectively.
Shaheen Afridi starred from Pakistan after picking up four wickets.
While chasing, Babar Azam scored 114 (83) and Imam-ul-Haq 106 (97) as Pakistan chased down the target of 349 with six balls to spare to make the record for the highest chase against any side in the ODIs to level the three-match ODI series by 1-1.
The final and decider of the ODI series will be played at Gaddafi Stadium Lahore on Saturday.
Imam-ul-Haq after a century of victory (PAK):
“Thanks to almighty Allah and my parents. It’s just a process. I know my game. I just want to back myself. I worked really hard for this and it feels really special when all these things happen. It all comes down to self-belief. We knew we could chase that. Once you get into the middle overs, we had plans that one has to get through the overs…Everybody knows our friendship since about 2009. We know each other’s games very well. We really back each other and have that belief that we can win matches. If you play so much cricket, you know each other’s weaknesses and strengths and that helps. We really needed that win for the team to boost up. They’re a really good batting and fielding side. The day after tomorrow is going to be a good match.”
Australia captain Aaron Finch:
“I think that opening partnership set the foundation for the game for Pakistan. When you’re 100 for 0 down, it allows the rest of the guys to play free and Babar came in and played an unbelievable knock. I thought 350 [sic 348] was a good score but not to be…There were just some times when Pakistan took the risks and they came off, which can happen in one-day cricket. When you’ve only got four players out in the middle overs of the game against some good players with a lot of options, it can be very hard to keep them on strike for a period of time and cut down the boundaries. We tried very hard. It was just not to be tonight.”
Pakistan captain Babar Azam is named Player of the Match
Brief scores: Australia 348/8 in 50 overs (Travis Head 89, Ben McDermott 104, Marnus Labuschagne 59, Marcus Stoinis 49, Sean Abbott 28; Shaheen Afridi 4-63, Mohammad Wasim Jr 2-56) lost to Pakistan 352/4 in 49 overs (Fakhar Zaman 67, Imam-ul-Haq 106, Babar Azam 114; Adam Zampa 2-71) by 6 wickets.