PSL 2019: Karachi Kings' Babar Azam bounces back into form with fluent half-century

Waseem Ahmed 22:30 27/02/2019
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68 runs for Babar Azam. Image - @thePSLt20/Twitter.

All eyes were on Babar Azam as Karachi Kings took on defending champions Islamabad United in a 2019 Pakistan Super League (PSL) clash at Dubai.

The Pakistan stalwart’s up and down form was under the scanner and a big display was needed from him with Karachi languishing at the bottom of the table.

The No1 ranked T20I batsman in the world duly delivered by registering his second half-century of the campaign which helped the Kings post 168-8 in their 20 overs.

Here, we take a closer look at Babar’s performance for Karachi against Islamabad.

STATISTICS

RUNS: 68

BALLS FACED: 50

BOUNDARIES: 10

SIXES: 0

STRIKE-RATE: 136

30-SECOND REPORT

Having been dismissed for a golden duck against Quetta Gladiators, Babar started off in much more authoritative fashion against Islamabad with two successive boundaries in the first over. Setting the tone from the first over itself, the Karachi opener was in superb flow during the powerplay before he raced away to a 36-ball half-century.

He forged a 78-run stand for the second wicket alongside Liam Livingstone and held one end up for his side while wickets tumbled at the other. The right-hander ultimately fell in the penultimate over of the Karachi innings while trying to pull a Faheem Ashraf delivery.

GOT RIGHT

Total control. While he loves to play the ball on the up, Babar never played a shot in anger on Wednesday as he anchored the innings excellently for Karachi. He made sure to profit in the powerplay by striking seven of his 10 boundaries inside the first six overs.

The Karachi opener was particularly on song against his Pakistan team-mate Faheem Ashraf whom he struck for five consecutive boundaries in two separate overs.

GOT WRONG

While he did start his innings in explosive fashion, Babar faded away in the period between overs seven and 13 during where he failed to collect a single boundary. At that stage, Karachi were going great guns with Livingstone looking lethal at one end while there were nine wickets in hand.

The Pakistan batsman could have been more attacking in that phase. Karachi went on to struggle during the death overs.

VERDICT – 8/10

It was an innings that was very much needed for Babar for both his and Karachi’s confidence. After starting the 2019 PSL campaign with a superb 77 against Multan Sultans, the opening batsman had gone off the boil in the subsequent four matches and his form had played its part in Karachi’s struggles.

Although he was not at his best in the second-half of his innings, the 68 runs scored and the stay at the crease will do Babar a world of good and augurs well for the Kings going forward in the tournament.

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