Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan put on a world record opening stand to help Pakistan register a thumping 10-wicket win in the second T20I against England in Karachi on September 22.
Skipper Babar, who had an indifferent run at the Asia Cup 2022, wherein he had registered scores of 10, 9, 14, 0, 30 and 5 at a combined strike-rate of 107.94, had managed 31 off 24 in Pakistan’s six-wicket defeat in the series opener. He redeemed himself with a second T20I hundred, and finished unbeaten at 110, striking 11 fours and five sixes, including the winning boundary off the third ball of the final over.
Rizwan, the top-ranked batter in ICC T20I rankings, played his part in a world-record 203-run unbroken partnership – the best ever in a run-chase in all T20 cricket. The wicketkeeper struck five fours and four sixes in an unbeaten 88 off 51.
They bettered their own record of 197 in a run-chase against South Africa. It was the duo’s fifth partnership of 150 or more in T20Is, a feat bettered by no other pair. It was Pakistan’s second 10-wicket win in T20I cricket, less than a year after Babar and Rizwan had added an unbeaten 152 in a T20 World Cup 2021 game against India in Dubai to help the side register a dominant 10-wicket win – their first ever over the sub-continent arch-rivals in World Cups.
The hosts had a slice of luck early in their innings, when Rizwan mistimed one off Liam Dawson and was dropped by Alex Hales at mid-off in the sixth over of the chase when on 23.
Earlier, England too, were helped by a major reprieve during their innings, with skipper Moeen Ali being dropped by Khushdil Shah at the deep mid-wicket boundary. Ali, 32 off 14 at that point, would go on to score an unbeaten 55 off 23, getting to his half-century with a six off Mohammad Hasnain on the last ball of the innings. The hosts scored 85 in the last six overs to finish strongly at 199/5.
That was after Shahnawaz Dahani had rocked them earlier, dismissing Alex Hales and Dawid Malan off successive balls after the former and Phil Salt had added 42 for the first wicket in five overs after Moeen opted to bat. Haris Rauf sent back Salt for 30 off 27 before Ben Duckett (43 off 22) and Harry Brook (31 off 19) set it up for Moeen to unleash.
“The discussion was we can chase it down, we have done it before and that was the belief in the dressing room,”Babar said after the win.
“The wicket always plays better under lights and it played better than what we expected. The discussions with Rizwan were to finish the match. I always had the belief (during the run of low scores) and you need that as a sportsman. The team always supported me and kept backing me.”
The third and the fourth T20I will be played at the same venue on Friday, September 23 and Sunday, September 25, respectively. The last three matches of the seven-match series will be played at the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore.
England 199/5 in 20 overs (Ali 55*, Duckett 43; Rauf 2-30) lost to Pakistan 203/0 in 19.3 overs (Azam 110*, Rizwan 88*) by 10 wickets.