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Babar Azam’s innings ‘treat to watch’, says Shahid Afridi

Shahid Afridi and Babar Azam. Photo: Files

KARACHI: Former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi said that it was a “treat to watch” captain Babar Azam’s “brilliant innings” in the first ODI against South Africa.

“Brilliant innings from Babar Azam absolute treat to watch,” said Afridi in a tweet.

The former allrounder, who is known by the nickname Lala, said that it was really good to see Pakistan win the match despite the middle-order collapsing in the run chase against South Africa.

Afridi also wished Pakistan “all the best” for the remaining matches.

On Friday, a century by Babar Azam set up a three-wicket, last-ball win for Pakistan in the opening match against the Proteas played at SuperSport Park in Centurion.

The Pakistan captain hit a stroke-filled 103 off 104 balls and shared a second-wicket partnership of 177 with Imam-ul-Haq, who made 70.

But Babar’s dismissal started a collapse in which fast bowler Anrich Nortje took four wickets in four overs.

Read more: Skipper Babar Azam’s century sets up win for Green Shirts in thrilling ODI contest

From 186 for one, with more than 18 overs in hand to reach a target of 274, Pakistan slumped to 203 for five before Mohammad Rizwan and Shadab Khan steadied the innings again in a sixth-wicket stand of 53.

But both were dismissed before Faheem Ashraf hit the winning run off Andile Phehlukwayo off the last ball.

“There was a little bit of pressure but we will learn from that,” Babar said through an interpreter at the after-match presentation.

Babar, who was named man of the match, praised his bowlers, who came within three runs of achieving his objective of restricting South Africa to a total of around 270 after he won the toss and sent them in.

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