• The openers complete a 10-wicket win against England in the second T20I
Openers Babar Azam and Mohamed Rizwan put on an unbeaten 203-run partnership as Pakistan claimed a remarkable 10-wicket victory over England in the second T20 international in Karachi yesterday.
Babar hammered 110 not out for his second T20I hundred while Rizwan scored an undefeated 88 as the pair completed a chase of 200 in 19.3 overs at a packed National Stadium.
With 1,929 runs together, the Babar-Rizwan partnership has become the most prolific in T20Is, beating Indian stars Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma’s record of 1,743 in 51 matches.
Babar and Rizwan have achieved the record in just 36 games.
The win levelled the seven-match series at 1-1 after England won the first game by six wickets, also in Karachi on Tuesday.
Skipper Babar said after the match yesterday: “I had belief in myself. As a sportsman you have ups and downs but you have to believe in your own ability.”
He added: “My teammates supported me a lot as they always do. It’s all about unity and you have to support your teammates and lift them when it’s needed the most.”
The Pakistani captain praised the batting of his partner Rizwan.
“Mohamed Rizwan deserves a lot of credit for the way he batted. He took it to the opposition and we both wanted to ensure that we stayed there to the end,” Babar said.
“The discussions were in the dressing room that we can chase the target as we had done it before. We just had to believe in ourselves,” he explained.
Babar, who endured a miserable Asia Cup earlier this month with just 68 runs in six matches, smashed five sixes and 11 fours off 66 balls, while Rizwan struck four sixes and five boundaries in his 51-ball innings.
Azam’s hundred came off 62 balls, adding to his 122 against South Africa at Centurion last year.
The pair reached 100 in just 11.2 overs – their seventh century stand together in T20I cricket.
Rizwan, dropped on 23 by Alex Hales off Liam Dawson, completed his fifty off 30 balls while Azam took 39 deliveries for his half-century.
It was Pakistan’s second 10-wicket win in the format following their first against India in last year’s T20 World Cup.
The pair also improved on their 197-run opening stand they set against South Africa last year. Earlier, England’s stand-in skipper Moeen Ali struck a rapid half-century to lead his team to 199-5 after they won the toss and batted first.
Moeen smashed four sixes and as many fours in his 23-ball 55 not out. Ben Duckett (43), Harry Brook (31) and Hales (30) also contributed as England plundered 119 in the last 10 overs.
Moeen hit two towering sixes off pacer Mohamed Hasnain’s last two deliveries of the innings. Fast bowlers Haris Rauf (2-30) and Shahnawaz Dahani (2-37) were the pick of Pakistan bowlers.
Captain Moeen said yesterday: “A really good wicket in the end, thought we batted well, but we dropped a big catch. But the momentum changed when I bowled my over. Duckett’s partnership with Salty was fantastic and me and Brooksy played nicely.”
He added: “It was different to the first game, looked worse but played better, and the two openers were brilliant. I know they get a lot of stick for their strike-rates but they are brilliant and you can’t afford to bowl off spin to them.”
England are on their first tour of Pakistan in 17 years.
The next matches are in Karachi today and on Sunday.
England will also play three more matches in Lahore before returning in December for three Tests.
England 199-5 in 20 overs (Moeen Ali 55 not out) lost to Pakistan 203-0 in 19.3 overs (Babar Azam 110 not out, Mohamed Rizwan 88 not out) by 10 wickets
5 highest partnerships in T20Is for Pakistan
203* Rizwan/Babar vs England, Sept 2022
197 Rizwan/Babar vs South Africa, April 2021
158 Rizwan/Babar vs West Indies, December 2021
152* Rizwan/Babar vs India, October 2021
150 Rizwan/Babar vs England, July 2021
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