Pathan, Ashwin, two ex-India cricketers can’t keep calm after Babar Azam shatters multiple records vs Nepal in Asia Cup


India all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin, former cricketers Irfan Pathan, Aakash Chopra, and Deep Dasgupta could not control their excitement seeing Babar Azam nonchalantly break multiple records. The No.1-ranked ODI team – Pakistan – and the top-ranked ODI batter – Babar Azam – justified their standings with a dominating performance in the Asia Cup 2023 opener against Nepal. It was a historic occasion in more ways than one. The Asia Cup returned to Pakistan after 15 years. It was the first match of the Asia Cup in Multan and Nepal were making their maiden appearance in the tournament. But by the time the Pakistan innings finished, Babar made sure all the limelight was firmly set on him.

Pakistan’s Babar Azam, right, plays a shot as Nepal’s Aasif Sheikh watches(AP)

Coming in to bat after Pakistan lost opener Fakhar Zaman early, Babar started off with a lovely flick off his pads that raced away to the boundary. If there was ever an early sign of things to come, that was it Nepal kept the pressure on with the new ball. Imam-ul-Haq was run-out and the scoreboard read 24/2 but Babar did not bat an eyelid. He of course had his most trusted ally in Mohammad Rizwan at the other end as the experienced duo absorbed the early pressure and started to build the innings.

Babar lost Rizwan due to a bizarre run-out and Agha Salman lasted only 14 balls but the Pakistan captain continued on his merry way. He took his time to reach his century off 109 balls – his 19th in ODIs, making him the fastest to reach the mark in 102 innings breaking Hashim Amla’s record. The South African had taken 104 innings. Those wondering, Kohli took 124 innings to score 19 ODI centuries.

The century also took Babar one shy of Saeed Anwar’s Pakistan record of 20 ODI centuries.

Babar finished with 151. This was the highest score by a captain in Asia Cup and the second-highest by a player after Virat Kohli’s 183 against Pakistan in 2012.

Babar registered a 214-run partnership for the fifth wicket with Iftikhar Ahmed, who too scored a sublime century. The partnership was the highest for any wicket in an ODI in Pakistan and the highest for Pakistan for the fifth wicket and lower.

This is how current and former India cricketers reacted to Babar’s record-breaking knock

“Babar Azam showcasing his brilliance once again with a superb 100 When it comes to scoring runs, he’s in a league of his own,” wrote Irfan Pathan.

“19 ODI tons in just 102 innings. Babar Azam’s consistency is unreal. Note to self: well done on making him your Captain in Fantasy Cricket today,” wrote Aakash Chopra.

Ashwin, who following the Pakistan vs Nepal match with keen interest, wrote: “Babar,” with a couple of clapping emojis.

“Listen, he is poetry in motion. He is so easy on the eyes. Even though on the scorecard, it was Nepal as the opposition, you have to keep in mind how well they bowled. They were in the game until the 40th over. He really had to work hard, the conditions were not easy, it was hot, it was humid,” said Deep Dasgupta, who is part of the commentary team.

Babar was also given the ‘Player of the Match’ award for his century.

Coming to the match, opting to bat first, Pakistan put on 342/6 in their 50 overs. In the chase, Nepal was left at 14/3 initially but a 59-run stand between Aarif Sheikh (26) and Sompal Kami (28) helped them get some temporary respite. But Haris Rauf and Shadab Khan caused more destruction, sinking Nepal to a 238-run loss after bundling them out for 104 in 23.4 overs.


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