Babar Azam, the charismatic captain of Pakistan’s cricket team, continues to shatter records irrespective of the game format.
The 28-year-old prodigy outshined South African cricket legend, Hashim Amla, setting a new record as the quickest to achieve 19 ODI centuries. This monumental achievement came during the inaugural match of the Asia Cup 2023 against Nepal in Multan. While Babar accomplished this landmark in only 102 innings, Amla reached the same in his 104th. In doing so, Azam etched his name as the fastest to this significant milestone in ODI cricket history.
To add context to Babar’s century, Pakistan was already in a precarious position, teetering at 25-2 after the dismissals of openers Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq. Unfazed, the captain partnered with Mohammad Rizwan, stitching an essential 86-run partnership before the latter’s unexpected run-out. Following Rizwan, Salman Agha came to the crease but his stay was short-lived, falling to a reverse sweep against Nepal’s Sandeep Lamichhane. Subsequent to Agha’s dismissal, a solid partnership blossomed between Babar and Iftikhar Ahmed. At the point of this report, Babar was unbeaten at 131, with Iftikhar not far behind at 68*.
Here’s a glance at the innings taken to notch up 19 centuries:
- Babar Azam: 102 innings
- Hashim Amla: 104 innings
- Virat Kohli: 124 innings
- David Warner: 139 innings
- AB de Villiers: 171 innings
It’s worth highlighting that Babar (5353 runs) also surpassed Amla’s score (5165 runs) for the most runs within 102 innings.
Earlier in the day, Pakistan chose to bat first against Nepal after winning the toss for the Asia Cup 2023’s opening match. This match stands out as Nepal’s team debut in the Asia Cup and is also the first time Multan has been chosen as a venue. Furthermore, this is the inaugural face-off between Pakistan and Nepal on such an elite stage.
Coming into the Asia Cup, Pakistan’s spirits were buoyed, especially after being crowned the top ODI team in the ICC rankings. This followed their resounding 3-0 victory over Afghanistan in Sri Lanka, marking their second ascend to the top spot since April.
Nepal: Kushal Bhurtel, Aasif Sheikh (wk), Rohit Paudel (c), Aarif Sheikh, Kushal Malla, Dipendra Singh Airee, Gulsan Jha, Sompal Kami, Karan KC, Sandeep Lamichhane, Lalit Rajbanshi
Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Agha Salman, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf.