Babar Azam, the Pakistani captain, reminisced about his extraordinary century against New Zealand during the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup held at Edgbaston. On June 26, 2019, Azam stepped up when Pakistan found themselves in trouble at 44 runs for the loss of two wickets and delivered one of the most outstanding centuries of his career.
Reflecting on that unforgettable day, Azam highlighted how Pakistan managed to restrict New Zealand to a manageable total. “We restricted New Zealand to a good total, but the spinners started getting help after the rain,” shared the skipper.
Following the rain delay, the pitch became increasingly challenging to bat on, providing support to the Kiwi spinners. Azam adjusted his approach accordingly, adopting a slower, more calculated style against the spinners reminiscent of Test cricket. “It became difficult to bat after the rain, so I decided to play slow against the spinners, like a Test match. Our goal was to accumulate five to six runs per over against them,” he explained.
Azam also acknowledged the pivotal partnership with Haris Sohail, which proved to be a game-changer for Pakistan. As Sohail dominated the spinners, Azam found success against the fast bowlers. “The partnership with Haris was a game-changer. After losing wickets, he came in and started to dominate the spinners. Meanwhile, I was playing well against the fast bowlers,” Azam revealed.
Recalling a crucial moment during the match, Azam shared, “I told Haris Sohail that I want to sweep Mitchell Santner. When I tried to hit a sweep, it was good, after which we strengthened our grip on the match.”
In the end, Pakistan secured a memorable six-wicket victory over New Zealand, largely thanks to the 126-run partnership between Babar Azam and Haris Sohail. Sohail, who played an exceptional inning, scored 68 runs before being run out.
In the bowling department, Shaheen Shah Afridi emerged as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) for his remarkable performance, taking three crucial wickets, including Colin Munro, Ross Taylor, and Tom Latham, for just 28 runs in his ten overs. Meanwhile, Mohammad Amir dismissed the dangerous Martin Guptill after the batsman had managed only five runs.
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