Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar lavished praise on Babar Azam after the Pakistan captain scripted a record by hitting his 2nd T20I hundred in a 10-wicket win over England in Karachi on Thursday, Babar shone with a 66-ball 110 not out as Pakistan successfully chased down a 200-run total without losing a wicket.
Babar Azam was being criticised for his slump in form and dipping strike rate. The Pakistan captain had managed just 68 runs in 6 matches in the Asia Cup but showcased glimpses of form in the first T20I in Karachi which Pakistan lost on Tuesday.
However, on Thursday, Babar Azam smashed 5 sixes and 11 boundaries in a masterclass as he became the first Pakistan batter to hit more than 1 T20I hundred. Babar and Rizwan shared a 203-run opening stand as England bowlers were taken to the cleaners.
“I think hats off to the chase. The chasing template, at one point, was Virat Kohli’s great characteristic. Babar has replicated it and shown it. Babar’s class is far better than anyone else in this world. His elegance and shot selection are all class and if his strike rate goes above 150-160, then he becomes something else. And when he does that, Pakistan win games,” Shoaib Akhtar said on his YouTube channel.
“This is what Pakistan requires. The run rate and the strike rate. Our openers, especially Babar Azam has shown why he is the No. 1 player in the world. When he scores at a good strike rate, it becomes easier for Rizwan. They complement each other. But again, I keep stressing about the strike rate because it’s very important.
“Both the openers scored at over 160. I understand that it’s not possible to maintain this kind of strike rate in every game but make sure you keep up with the required rate. And when you get out, you should not leave the other guys with an asking rate of 11 or 13.