Babar, Shoaib, Hafeez provide Pakistan a big total

Babar, Shoaib, Hafeez provide Pakistan a big total
Babar, Shoaib, Hafeez provide Pakistan a big total

SHARJAH, Nov 07 (APP):Pakistan scored 189 runs against Scotland in the penultimate match of the Super 12 stage as Babar Azam’s side look to wrap up top spot in Group 2.

Pakistan produced a dominant performance with the bat in their final Super 12 game after winning the toss and option to put themselves in first in Sharjah.
Captain Babar Azam was in the runs again for his side, hitting a glorious 66 off 47, with quickfire contributions from Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez, helping Pakistan to a sizeable total of 189/4.

New Zealand’s win over Afghanistan earlier in the day has temporarily pushed Pakistan down into second in Group 2, but Babar and his team are already assured of a semi-final spot and will qualify as group winners with victory over Scotland.

The Scots started the tournament well with a stunning win over Bangladesh to inspire qualification from Round 1. But Super 12 has not gone to plan for Kyle Coetzer’s team, who have lost four from four and will need a remarkable display with the bat to prevent that becoming five from five. 

Openers Mohammad Rizwan and Azam got Pakistan off to a solid start, before Rizwan edged a flighted Hamza Tahir delivery to the keeper.

But the skipper kept the momentum going, hitting one particularly spectacular six out of the stadium, as he built a platform for his team.

Fakhar Zaman’s stay in the middle came to an end when he miscued a ChrisGreaves delivery to Michael Leask as his disappointing run of form continued.

But Babar was still out in the middle at the midway point of the innings as Pakistan reached 60/2.

The Pakistan skipper punished Scotland through the middle overs before finally falling for an outstanding 66 in the 18th over – an innings that featured eight boundaries and some glorious stroke play.

Azam’s knock takes him above Jos Buttler as the highest run-scorer of the tournament so far, with 264 runs from five innings.

And the Pakistan captain’s half-century was his fourth of the Super 12 stage. That remarkable consistency means he is one of only three players in the history of men’s T20 World Cups to score four 50s at a tournament, joining Matthew Hayden and Virat Kohli in an elite club.

Pakistan were already on course for a decent total, but that became a monster total when first Hafeez and then Malik went big to punish Scotland in dramatic fashion.

Hafeez’s 31 off 19 upped the scoring rate through the middle overs before he fell in the 15th. But Malik’s onslaught was on another level, with Scotland having no answer to the veteran’s power.

Malik hit three maximums in the final over to record his own half-century, reaching 54 off just 18 balls in a masterful display of power-hitting.

The stunning effort is the fastest 50 scored by a Pakistan player in T20 internationals.