Pakistan’s 10th win in 11 T20Is, 18th overall in 2021, but Babar’s No.1 ranking in danger

Babar Azam’s third career naught didn’t deter Pakistan from recording a comprehensive and comfortable 63 runs victory over two-time T20 World Cup champions West Indies at the National Stadium on Monday. This was Pakistan’s 18th victory in 2021, improving their own record of 17 victories in 2018.

Babar was caught at the wicket off left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein on the second ball he faced but 105 runs third wicket partnership between Mohammad Rizwan and player of the match Haider Ali, and Mohammad Nawaz’s 10-ball cameo lifted Pakistan to 200 for six after they were 75 for two at the halfway stage.

Fast bowler Mohammad Wasim Jnr then produced three brilliant wicket-taking yorkers on way to a career-best four for 40 and Shadab Khan was at his best, picking up three for 17 as the West Indies were bundled out for 137 in 19 overs despite Pakistan dropping three catches.

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Shai Hope top scored with 31, followed by Odean Smith (24), Rovman Powell (23) and Romario Shepherd (21).

This was Pakistan’s 10th T20I win in 11 matches, while their score of 200 was the third time against the West Indies and ninth overall that they reached the 200-run mark. Pakistan’s 205 for three and 203 for five against the West Indies at the same venue three years ago. Pakistan’s highest, however, remains 232 for six against England at Trent Bridge.

Babar’s first duck was against Bangladesh in Lahore in January 2020, while his second came against South Africa at the same venue earlier this February.

Following the latest failure, Babar is now in danger of losing his No.1 T20I ranking to England’s Dawid Malan when the ICC releases the latest T20I player rankings on Wednesday. Babar presently leads Malan by four points, while South Africa’s third-ranked Aiden Markram is another nine points behind.

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To ensure he finishes the year as the No.1 ranked T20I batter, then Babar will have to score heavily in the upcoming T20Is on Tuesday and Thursday. While Babar failed to provide entertainment to a decent crowd, Mohammad Rizwan, Haider Ali and Mohammad Nawaz didn’t disappoint the fans when they clubbed 19 fours and six sixes between them from 101 deliveries after Pakistan were put into bat.

Rizwan conjured up his 11th half-century of 2021 while scoring a 52-ball 78 with 10 fours, whereas Haider notched up his third career half-century on way to scoring a 39-ball 68 with six fours and four sixes. Nawaz joined the party by belting three fours and a six in a 10-ball 30 not out that allowed Pakistan to collected 60 runs off the last five overs.

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Scores in brief:

1st T20I – Pakistan won by 63 runs

Pakistan 200-6, 20 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 78, Haider Ali 68, Mohammad Nawaz 30; Romario Shepherd 2-43)

West Indies 137 all out, 19 overs (Shai Hope 31, Odean Smith 24, Rovman Powell 23, Romario Shepherd 21; Mohammad Wasim Jnr 4-40; Shadab Khan 3-17)

Player of the match – Haider Ali

Next match – Tuesday, 14 December, Karachi

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