Following another impressive series with the bat, Pakistan captain Babar Azam is set to dethrone his India counterpart Virat Kohli as the world’s number one ODI batsman when the rankings come out next week. The stylish right-handed batsman was the second-highest scorer in the series with 228 runs, only behind Fakhar Zaman’s 302.
After scoring 103 in the first ODI against South Africa, the 26-year-old 31 in the second ODI but came back strong in the third and missed out on yet another century by just six runs. He formed an important partnership with Zaman which helped Pakistan score a fighting total of 320/7 in 50 overs for the hosts in the final ODI. Zaman (101) put up a 112-run opening partnership with Imam-ul-Haq (57) after which he put on 94 for the second wicket with Babar.
In the current ICC ODI Rankings, Virat Kohli sits at the top with 857 points, closely followed by Babar Azam who has 852 points. However, after Wednesday’s heroics, it is going to be a mere formality before the Pakistan skipper becomes the top-ranked ODI batsman in the world as more points will be added to his tally.
In the recently concluded India vs England ODI series, Virat Kohli scored two half-centuries in three matches, however, failed to get to the three-figure mark, something that has eluded him since August 2019. Now, with the Indian team not playing any ODI matches anytime soon, it will leave Babar as the number one batsman for a significant period of time.
In this series against South Africa, the Pakistan skipper added yet another record to his name as he became the fastest men’s cricketer to score 13th centuries in ODIs. Babar has taken just 76 innings to achieve the feat going past South Africa star Hashim Amla who until now was the fastest, having scored his 13th ODI hundred in 83 innings. India skipper Virat Kohli got there in 86 innings.
This is Pakistan’s only second ODI series win in South Africa. In 2013-14, they became the first team from the sub-continent to win a bilateral ODI series in South Africa.