Pakistan openers Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan were attracting criticism for their strike-rates in the shortest format.
After three losses on the bounce, Pakistan bounced back in some style as their star openers Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan churned out jaw-dropping performances to smash England in the second T20I in Karachi. The duo forged a record-shattering opening stand worth 203 runs to level the series 1-1. Babar slammed a century while Rizwan kept things moving at the other end. With these innings, they have also silenced their critics who were questioning their intent and strike rate in T20 cricket.
Rizwan, who has become a run machine in the shortest format, has been under the scanner for his strike rate. Pressure mounted when he could score his runs at a strike-rate of just over 117 in the Asia Cup, even though he emerged as the highest run-getter in the tournament. He has looked to up the ante this series and remained unbeaten on 88 off 51 balls at a strike rate of 172. Babar, on the other hand, scored an unbeaten ton off 66 deliveries.
After their efforts led Pakistan to a dominant win, Pakistan’s leading bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi took a dig at critics with a savage tweet. He praised the Babar-Rizwan duo with a rather sarcastic tweet. Shaheen wrote, “I think it is time to get rid of Kaptaan @babarazam258 and @iMRizwanPak. Itne selfish players. Agar sahi se khelte to match 15 overs me finish ho jana chahiye tha. Ye akhri over tak le gaye. Let’s make this a movement. Nahi? (Such selfish players. If they played in the right way, they could have finished this match in 15 overs, but they took it to the final over).”
As soon as Shaheen put out this tweet, social media lapped it up and there were comments both in favour and against the Pakistan bowler.
Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan have been prolific as openers for Pakistan and earlier in the match, they went past Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan to record the highest opening partnership runs in T20Is. The Pakistan duo has amassed 1929 runs together as openers, while Rohit and Dhawan are at the second spot with 1743 runs to their name.
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