Sunday, April 16, 2023
Following the fantastic performance of Pakistan skipper Babar Azam — who scored a sensational century — in the second T20I against New Zealand on Saturday in Lahore, Pakistan all-rounder Imad Wasim heaped praises on the skipper, calling him the "best player in the world".
During the match, Azam helped his side take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series by scoring 101 runs in 58 balls, with the help of 11 fours and three sixes, at a strike rate of 174.13.
During a chat with Azam after the match, Wasim said that the right-hander is the best player in the world at the moment.
“I have seen many innings but this was at the top of the line in my opinion, especially the way he [Babar] carried on after we lost three wickets. The wicket was holding as well. But the way he played was simply brilliant. There's no doubt that he's the best player in the world,” he said.
It must be noted that Pakistan won the second T20I by 38 runs courtesy Azam’s brilliance with the bat and pacer Haris Rauf’s four-wicket haul.
"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."
Chasing a target of 193 runs, the Kiwis were restricted to 154-7 in 20 overs.
Eight Kiwis are missing because of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and skipper Kane Williamson has a bad knee injury, leaving the captaincy to batsman Tom Latham — and providing plenty of opportunity for newcomers to shine.
The remaining three T20 matches are on April 17 in Lahore, and 20 and 24 in Rawalpindi.
Pakistan and New Zealand will also meet in five one-day internationals after the T20 series, honing preparations for this year's 50-over World Cup in India.
The tour comes as something of compensation for New Zealand pulling out of their visit to Pakistan on the day of the first game in September 2021, citing security concerns.
The Black Caps played two Tests and three ODIs in Pakistan just three months ago.