Morrison, Gibbs laud ‘little ripper’ Babar Azam after ‘batting lesson’

Azam hit a record-breaking 122 to lead Pakistan to an impressive victory in the third T20I against the Proteas

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Former South Africa opener Herschelle Gibbs and ex-New Zealand pacer Danny Morrison have heaped praise on Babar Azam after the Pakistan captain smacked his maiden Twenty20 International hundred in the third match of the series against South Africa on Wednesday.

Azam hit a record-breaking 122 to lead Pakistan to an impressive nine-wicket victory at Centurion and a 2-1 lead in the four-match T20I series.

Mohammad Rizwan scored an unbeaten 73 as he and Babar, whose century came off 49 balls, shared a record 197-run partnership in a devastating display of batting that enabled the touring side to reel in South Africa’s competitive 203-5 with consummate ease.

They won with two overs to spare after making 205-1, dispatching the home bowling to all corners of the ground.

Babar’s record T20 score for Pakistan, including 15 fours and four sixes off 59 balls, came a day after he became the top-ranked one-day batsman. He is third in the T20 rankings and played an innings of finesse and guile rather than bludgeoning shots to underline his class.

Rizwan’s knock was overshadowed by his skipper but he was equally brilliant in a supporting role.

It was the second-highest successful run chase in a T20 international at Centurion with a tiring Babar eventually out caught behind off the bowling of Lizaad Williams.

Janneman Malan and Aiden Markham shared a 108-run opening wicket partnership as South Africa got off to a flying start after being put in to bat.

Markham made a half-century for a third successive game before being bowled for 63 and Malan scored 55. The last match of the series and Pakistan’s tour will also be played at Centurion, on Friday.

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