Imam-ul-Haq gushes over Babar Azam's majestic ton in Pakistan's tight first ODI win

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Babar Azam (Getty Images)
Babar Azam (Getty Images)
  • Pakistan's opening batsman Imam-ul-Haq said it was a marvel to watch Babar Azam compile his match-winning 100.
  • Azam's 103, his 13th ODI ton, was the bedrock of Pakistan's three-wicket win against South Africa at SuperSport Park on Friday.
  • Imam is the nephew of Pakistan's legendary batsman Inzamam-ul-Haq.

Pakistan’s opening batsman Imam-ul-Haq marvelled at Babar Azam’s 103 against South Africa in the first ODI at SuperSport Park on Friday, saying it was a treat to watch.

Azam’s 13th ODI hundred went a long way in ensuring Pakistan chased down South Africa’s 273/6 with three wickets standing.

However, they did it the hard way as the 177-run stand between Imam (70) and Azam was broken by Anrich Nortje.

Nortje’s second spell saw Pakistan lose wickets in quick succession, but they had enough in the tank to make the required 274 runs.

Imam said Azam, who is also the team’s captain, is an important player to their cause.

“Babar is a really classy player and he’s proving again to everyone and I’m happy for him. His innings was crucial and he helped me a lot. It was a treat to watch when he batted the way he did. He’s a crucial player for us. He is our captain,” Imam said

“Some of the shots he played were unbelievable, especially through the covers and mid-on. He’s our key player and it is important for Pakistan that he faces as many balls has he can.”

Imam, the nephew of legendary Pakistan batsman Inzamam-ul-Haq said he also enjoyed the better batting conditions when they chased.

One of Imam’s seven ODI centuries was scored at SuperSport Park against South Africa two years ago, but in that particular game, he was on the losing side.

It wasn’t the case this time as his 80-ball knock that featured plenty of strike rotation allowed Azam to free himself.

Imam said prior knowledge of the conditions, even though he batted first in a day-night in 2019, came in handy.

“I knew the conditions and I have been working very hard. Different tours come with different challenges. I was ready for them and I have been working hard since last year. It helped and I knew my shots. I also know my game very well in a role that I understand, so I got success,” Imam said.

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