Pakistan lost the second T20I against South Africa in Wanderers on Sunday even getting into a place of a win. South Africa’s stand-in skipper David Miller scored 65 off just 29 balls to help the Proteas set a target of 189.
Pakistan’s in-form Fakhar Zaman departed for just 14 and the visitors were pretty much on the backfoot. However their most consistent and reliable batsman Babar Azam came to their rescue.
Babar’s gem of an innings almost turned the game in favour of Pakistan. Babar slammed 90 runs off just 58 balls. He shared a 102-run partnership with Hussain Talat. But once he was dismissed the Proteas came back and won the game.
However Babar’s knock is definitely one of the best in the shortest format of the sport. This is because Babar showed everyone how timing and playing traditional shots can be effective. In modern-day cricket, most batsmen depend on big shots and slogging to score big runs. Babar’s innings was different and thus it pleased coach Mickey Arthur.
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Arthur praises Azam for his knock
“I have never doubted Babar. I said two years ago that he was going to be that good,” Arthur said after the game. “The exciting thing is that we haven’t seen the best of him yet. He is going to get better and better. There were always question marks on Babar’s ability to perform outside the subcontinent. He has been unbelievable on this tour and he has put those questions to rest,” said Mickey Arthur.
Mickey had promoted Azam as the opener for Karachi Kings in the second edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL). Arthur also backed Azam saying that he has everything to become the best batsmen in all the formats of the game.
“Two years ago when I saw him in the nets I said that he was going to be as good as Virat Kohli. From a young boy back then he has developed into a man now. He has got stronger and fitter. And, I certainly think he is going to be in the top five in the world across all formats very, very soon.”
Arthur believes tight bowling could have won the game
South Africa defeated Pakistan by seven runs and levelled the three-match series with one more game to go. This is the second time in a row that Pakistan conceded more than 180 runs. In response to South Africa’s 188 for 3, Pakistan ended with 181 for 7.
“To be brutally honest with ourselves, I think we batted brilliantly but bowled poorly as a unit apart from Imad Wasim [who returned 1 for 9 in four overs]. We did not execute our plans. I think we gave away 64 runs off the short balls when the plan was to bowl full and wicket-to-wicket. The execution in the last over particularly was poor,” said Arthur.