Coach Misbah ul-Haq might tease Pakistan captain Babar Azam after SA series win
CENTURION - Babar Azam and Pakistan’s coach Misbah ul-Haq now share an achievement as the only two men to lead their country to an ODI series win in South Africa.
The scorelines are the same as well, 2-1, with Misbah’s side beating an AB de Villiers led South African team that contained, Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis, Hashim Amla, Dale Steyn and Imran Tahir in 2013. Misbah might tease Babar that he faced tougher opposition.
South Africa was without five players who went to the IPL on Monday, who between them shared 371 ODI caps. In addition, Temba Bavuma was also without Rassie van der Dussen, capped 23 times, who was injured for Wednesday’s series decider.
But nevermind all that. Babar and Fakhar Zaman, the player of the series, were magnificent and scored the only hundreds of the series. In fact Babar’s 103 in the first match and Fakhar’s 193 in the second were two of the finest One-Day innings played in South Africa and were deserving of being part of a series winning effort.
“This is a very important series for us, winning in South Africa will give our team a lot of confidence,” Babar said on Wednesday evening.
Fakhar’s second century, meant he finished the series with an aggregate of 302 runs. "It means a lot to me to score these runs in the series,” said Fakhar.
“I was suffering the last two years and didn’t score many runs. It was necessary for me and for my team. Thanks to my skipper for believing in me and giving me these opportunities."
Babar scored 228 runs in the series, with his 94 on Wednesday earning him the man of the match award. The 26 year old was made ODI captain last year, so this series will be a significant achievement so soon into his reign.
On the bowling front, right arm seamer Haris Rauf, tied with Anrich Nortje on seven wickets for the leading wicket-taker in the series, while the tall left-arm seamer Shaheen Shah Afridi, who picked up six wickets, showed his class with the ball throughout.
The two teams will lock horns again in a four-match T20 International series starting at the Wanderers on Saturday. “The individual players will also get a lot of confidence from their performances. We'll try to take this confidence into the T20s also,” said Babar.