Babar Azam continues record-breaking ODI form to consolidate top spot in rankings

Pakistan captain's second straight ton made him the become fastest to 16 one-day centuries

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Pakistan captain Babar Azam is the top-ranked batsman in ODI cricket. And he showed why by steering his team to a morale-boosting 2-1 series win over Australia in Lahore on Saturday.

Azam scored a second successive century, while opener Imam-ul-Haq hit a fifty, as Pakistan secured their first series win over Australia since 2002 following a nine-wicket victory in the third and final match at the Gaddafi Stadium .

The hosts dismissed Australia for 210 as their fast bowlers broke the visitors' back, taking eight wickets. They then chased down the below-par target in just 37.5 overs and losing just one wicket.

Azam was dropped by Travis Head off Jason Behrendorff on one and took full advantage of the let-off as he completed his 16th ODI hundred from 110 balls.

The star batsman Azam had scored 114 in the second game to level the series after the home team had lost the opener.

"When you lose the first game then your players need confidence and once they were given that, they came back strongly and did well," said Azam.

"The credit goes to the players as they took responsibility and showed good efforts with the ball and the bat. When you get early wickets, there is pressure on the opposition. Almost every bowler of ours executed their plans."

The 2-1 win came after Pakistan lost six consecutive ODI series to Australia, and the preceding three-match Test series 1-0.

It continued Azam's incredible form in the 50-over format. He has scored five centuries in his last 10 ODI innings, with another innings of 94 in the midst.

With his latest ton, Azam became the fastest to 16 ODI centuries, reaching the landmark in his 84th innings and surpassing the record set by South Africa's Hashim Amla who did so in 94 outings.

The Pakistan batsman is at the top of the ICC rankings for ODI batsman - on 872 point and streets ahead of second-placed Virat Kohli on 811 ranking points. It looks like no batsman is going to chase down Azam anytime soon.

Updated: April 03, 2022, 11:40 AM