Babar closes in on Sharma with Lahore hundred
Babar Azam notched up a fine T20I hundred in Lahore in his 101st T20I to help Pakistan to a 2-0 lead in their home five-match series against New Zealand.
The 58-ball ton was Babar's third T20I ton. Notably, he is the only Pakistan batter with more than one hundred in the format. The hundred puts Babar close to the top of the list of batters with most T20I tons.
Rohit Sharma with four T20I hundreds tops the list with five other batters, including Babar now, on three hundreds. Notably, both Babar and Rohit have 33 scores of fifty or more in T20Is, second only to Virat Kohli, who has 38 such scores.
"I am very happy to perform in this match," said Azam, who is now the joint most successful T20I captain with 42 wins, alongside England's Eoin Morgan and Afghanistan's Asghar Afghan.
"I had two good partnerships and then our bowling was once again excellent. We have got experienced and exciting young bowlers who gave us back-to-back wins."
"When Babar plays like that, you tip your hat off," said New Zealand skipper Tom Latham.
The Pakistan skipper put on a 99-run opening stand with Mohammad Rizwan, before the wicketkeeper was dismissed in the 11th over of the innings. Matt Henry, fresh off a hat-trick last game, sent back Fakhar Zaman next ball to dent Pakistan further.
Babar, however, continued in the same vein, getting to his half-century from 36 balls. He stepped on the pedal thereafter, slamming 51 runs off the next 22 deliveries, including 36 runs off the last three overs.
He completed his century off the final ball of the innings, smashing James Neesham for two fours and a six in the last over.
It helped Pakistan 192-4 from their 20 overs, and the hosts went on to restrict their opponents to 154-7. He shared an unbeaten 87-run partnership for the fifth wicket with Iftikhar Ahmed (33 not out off 19 balls) to lead Pakistan's surge in the late overs.
PLAYERS WITH MOST T20I HUNDREDS
Player Country T20I hundreds T20I fifties
Rohit Sharma India 4 29
Babar Azam Pakistan 3 30
Sabawoon Davizi Czech Republic 3 5
Glenn Maxwell Australia 3 10
Colin Munro New Zealand 3 11
Suryakumar Yadav India 3 13