Captain Babar Azam hit a record-breaking 122 to lead Pakistan to an impressive nine-wicket victory over hosts South Africa at Centurion and a 2-1 lead in the four-match Twenty20 series.
Mohammad Rizwan scored an unbeaten 73 as he and Babar, whose century came off 49 balls, shared a record 197-run partnership on Wednesday in a devastating display that enabled the tourists to chase South Africa’s 203-5 with an ease. Pakistan won with two overs to spare finishing at 205-1.
Babar’s record T20 score for Pakistan, including 15 fours and four sixes off 59 balls, came a day after he had become the top-ranked one-day batsman in the world, taking over from Virat Kohli.
He is also third in the T20 rankings and played an innings of finesse and guile rather than bludgeoning shots to underline his rare class. Rizwan’s knock may have been overshadowed by his skipper’s 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 Markram shared a 108-run opening wicket partnership as South Africa got off to a flying start after being put into bat. Markram made a half-century for a third successive game before being bowled for 63 while Malan scored 55.
The last match of the series will also be played at Centurion on Friday.