Babar Azam races into record books as Pakistan complete T20 whitewash v New Zealand

Alex Broun 00:58 05/11/2018
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The world’s No1 T20I batsman Babar Azam proved his class once again with a stunning 79 from just 58 balls as Pakistan swept the T20I series against New Zealand 3-0 in Dubai on Sunday night.

With his 48th run of the innings, Azam set a new world record for the fastest batsman to 1,000 runs in T20Is in just his 26th match, beating Virat Kohli by one game.

Pakistan were struggling early as New Zealand had them under pressure at just nine runs after three overs, but Azam slowly built into his innings and was the backbone to their biggest T20I total of the season so far, 166-3.

In reply, the Black Caps were 96-2 after 12 overs and looked on course for victory but lost eight wickets for 23 runs in a spectacular collapse to be bowled out for just 119.

Here’s our report card:

THE GOOD

Babar Azam breaks the record – The world’s No1 T20I batsman proved his class again with a peerless 79 from just 58 balls, with seven fours and two sixes. The right-handed master-blaster started slowly due to some tight Kiwi bowling, but he built into his innings superbly going from 26 to 79 in just 34 balls. At the start of their innings, it seemed Pakistan would get their lowest score of the series but thanks to Azam they ended up with their highest.

Kane Williamson getting in – A super innings by the Kiwi captain. With his side chasing an imposing total, the silky right hander took a while to get into the groove but once he did he compiled a searing 60 off just 38 balls with eight fours and two sixes to set up an unlikely victory chase.

THE BAD

Imad Wasim trying to copy Hasan Ali – In a near-perfect performance from Pakistan, the only fail was Imad Wasim trying to copy Hasan Ali’s trademark “bomb blasting” wicket celebration. Wasim added a leap beforehand then hit the ground and gave a half-hearted hands in the air before seeming to realize he was getting it all wrong and giving up halfway.

Kane Williamson getting out – With NZ right back in the match at 96-2, the Black Caps skipper undid all his good work, smashing a half volley from Shadab Khan right back down the ground to the safe hands of Babar Azam. When Glenn Phillips went just two balls later it started an Australian like collapse with the Kiwis losing six wickets for just 11 runs.

KEY MOMENTS

PAKISTAN

10.3 OVERS: New Zealand are just keeping the shackles on Pakistan but with two majestic sixes in succession in the 10th over by Mohammad Hafeez off Ish Sodhi, the hosts cut loose. They start the over at 67-1 but six balls later are 82-1. When Babar Azam repeats the dose in the 15th over with twin sixes off Colin Munro, Pakistan are on their way to a big total.

NEW ZEALAND

3.2 OVERS: Chasing a big target the Kiwis have to get off to a good start, but they get off to the worse possible when big hitter Colin Munro is bowled in just the second over. Then just two overs later a superb piece of fielding by Usman Khan sees Colin de Grandhomme caught a millimetre out of his ground and New Zealand were already facing mission impossible.

12.3 OVERS: In just three balls Shahab Khan turns the whole game around. After being smashed for 24 off his first two overs, the spinner picks up the wickets of Kane Williamson and Glenn Phillips in his third over to put the game firmly back in Pakistan’s hands.

TACTICAL TURNING POINT

Sarfraz keeps faith with his spinners

With Kane Williamson on fire Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed had a big decision to make, deciding to stick with spin or bring back one of his pace bowlers. In the end he persevered with the expensive Shadab Khan and his spinner delivered with two wickets in the 12th over to put Pakistan on the path to victory.

VERDICT

Pakistan: A+

This was a perfect performance from the hosts. After being under some pressure with the bat, they put together their biggest total of the T20I series this season, then bowled and fielded superbly to secure another comfortable victory

New Zealand: C

The Kiwis left their worse to last. They had their chances with bat and ball but on both occasions when the pressure was on they folded with alarming ease. The Black Caps were expected to put up more of a challenge than the disappointing Australians, but in the end they also slumped to a series whitewash.

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