South African middle-order batsman Rassie van der Dussen has heaped high praise on champion Pakistan batsman Babar Azam following the latters brilliant 13th ODI ton in the first ODI against the Proteas at the SuperSport Park in Centurion.
Coming into bat after Pakistan had lost an early wicket in the form of Fakhar Azam, Babar Azam weathered the storm before he unleashed his full repertoire of colorful strokeplay during a 177-run-stand with opener Imam-ul-Haq.
Azam smashed a brilliant 104-ball 103 and in the process, he leapfrogged from South African opener Hashim Amla to become the faster to score 13 ODI hundreds.
While Amla took 83 innings to achieve the feat, Babar Azam has taken a mere 76 outings to achieve the same.
Rassie van der Dussen, who himself notched up his maiden ODI hundred albeit in a losing cause, hailed Babar Azam, stating that it is difficult to stop a batsman like him, who has so many boundary options.
“Babar is a world-class player. He is a guy who has many boundary options. The pitch also suited his game as it had consistent bounce. He played great innings. He put pressure on our bowlers and put in a good performance to win the game for his team,’’ said Dussen.
‘We wanted to stay till the end- Babar Azam
Babar Azam was ecstatic after playing such a brilliant knock but he expressed his disappointment at the fact that he could not take Pakistan past the finishing line.
Following his dismissal, Pakistan endured a horrific collapse thanks to Anrich Nortje’s brilliant spell and while Mohammad Rizwan and Shabad Khan calmed the nerves with crucial knocks, their untimely dismissals meant that the game went down to the last ball before Faheem Ashraf eventually sealed the deal.
“I am delighted with my hundred. The plan was to take it deep, build a big partnership, and don’t lose focus. We wanted to stay till the end but unfortunately, I got out after scoring a century, Imam got out and we lost back-to-back wickets which created a little pressure on us,” said Babar Azam.