Super Babar stuns South Africa with maiden T20I ton


Babar Azam made his first international Twenty20 century as Pakistan cruised to a target of 204 and a nine-wicket victory against South Africa. Captain Babar, who brought up his century off 50 balls with 11 fours and four sixes, eventually fell for 122.

Wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan made 73 as the tourists won with 12 balls to spare to take a 2-1 lead in the four-match series.

Aiden Markram made 62 and Janneman Malan 55 in South Africa’s 203-5.

Babar, who ended Virat Kohli’s 1,258-day reign at the top of the one-day international batting rankings earlier on Wednesday, had scored four domestic and franchise centuries in T20s, the shortest format of the game, and his first international one came in his 48th innings.

It is Pakistan’s fastest in the format, beating Ahmed Shehzad’s 58-ball ton against Bangladesh in 2014.

He and Rizwan, who hit five fours and two sixes in his innings, combined superbly to keep Pakistan either with or above the required run-rate throughout their innings.

The 26-year-old received criticism for taking 50 balls to score 50 in the second Twenty20, and he responded by scoring his joint-fastest international half-century in the format off 27 balls.

Earlier, Markram and Malan had shared 108 for the opening South Africa wicket, but left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz removed both as Pakistan restricted the hosts to just eight runs in the 14th and 15th overs to ultimately swing the game their way.

The final game in the series takes place on Friday. (BBC Sport)

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