PAK vs NZ: Fakhar reveals invaluable advice from Babar during second ODI

Pakistan won the match by seven wickets

By Web Desk
April 30, 2023
Zaman (L) hit an undefeated 180 off 144 balls in the second ODI – AFP

Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman has revealed skipper Babar Azam’s invaluable advice during the second ODI against New Zealand on Saturday.

Zaman smashed a third consecutive century to help Pakistan chased a stiff 337-run target in 48.2 overs. The 33-year-old left-handed opener hit an undefeated 180 off 144 balls for his tenth ODI hundred.

Speaking after the match, Zaman said that Azam told him to stay out in the middle for as long as possible.

"Babar was telling me to take singles and doubles and to focus on playing a long innings. He said if risks are needed, he'll take them, because if I stayed there, they wouldn't be able to bowl the left-arm spinner, and we would disrupt their plans,” Zaman said after the match.

"Everyone knows what a big batter Babar is. His mindset is very different from others – he never comes under pressure, even if the required rate is rising. He kept telling me to stay calm, and that we'll chase the runs easily.

"I really enjoy batting with Babar, Rizwan, and Imam. They never let the pressure come on you. My role, when Mickey was a coach and then with Misbah bhai, has always been to play fast and be the aggressor, but these guys make my job so much easier."

The win gave Pakistan a 2-0 lead in the five-match series with the last three matches in Karachi on May 3, 5 and 7.

Along with Zaman, skipper Azam hit a brisk 66-ball 65 and Mohammad Rizwan a 41-ball 54 not out as Pakistan achieved their second highest successful ODI chase behind 349 against Australia in Lahore last year.

New Zealand were guided to 336-5 by a second successive hundred for Daryl Mitchell, who made 129, Tom Latham´s 98 and 51 by Chad Bowes.

Zaman is the 12th batsman to score three or more hundreds in consecutive ODIs with Sri Lankan Kumar Sangakkara the only man to hit four on the trot. Azam has achieved the feat twice.

When on 98, Zaman joined West Indian Shai Hope as the second fastest to 3,000 ODI runs in 67 innings. South African Hashim Amla is the fastest to the milestone in 57.