In a match that witnessed Pakistan’s commanding victory against Afghanistan in the opening game of a three-match series, skipper Babar Azam found himself equaling a unique record. Despite Pakistan’s resounding win by 142 runs, Babar Azam’s individual performance garnered attention as he equaled the duck record held by former captain Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, Azhar Ali, and Younis Khan.
Unwanted record for the Pakistani Superstar
The opening match served as a platform for Afghanistan to test their mettle ahead of the upcoming Asia Cup. While Pakistan’s batting display was generally robust, Babar Azam’s disappointing performance added a touch of surprise. After his spectacular form in the recently concluded Lanka Premier League, Babar Azam struggled to find his footing in the first ODI, registering a rare duck. This marked his fourth duck in ODI cricket and second as captain, bringing him in line with the mentioned veterans.
Interestingly, Babar Azam’s duck came at the hands of spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman, making Rahman the first spinner to dismiss Babar on a duck. Despite Azam’s stumble, Pakistan’s overall batting effort remained impressive. Opener Imam-ul-Haq’s 61-run contribution and the middle-order duo of Iftikhar Ahmed and Shadab Khan’s resilience pushed Pakistan’s total to 201 runs in the first innings.
Afghanistan, on the other hand, faced an uphill battle, especially in their batting department. The trio of Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Mohammad Nabi, and Rashid Khan continued to display their brilliance, boosting Afghanistan’s confidence for future contests. However, their batting lineup crumbled under the pressure of Pakistani bowlers, particularly Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf, leading to a disappointing total of 59 runs. With nine players failing to score in double digits, Afghanistan’s batting woes became evident.
Both teams are now eyeing future tournaments with the hope of refining their performance. Pakistan’s Asia Cup campaign is set to commence on August 30 against Nepal, followed by a high-stakes clash against India. Looking ahead to the ODI World Cup, Pakistan will face the Netherlands on October 6.
Similarly, Afghanistan is gearing up for challenges in both the Asia Cup and the World Cup. Their Asia Cup journey begins against Bangladesh on September 3, while they will face the same opponent in their World Cup opener on October 7.