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Babar Azam - an ODI beast

Babar Azam – an ODI beast

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He is often referred to as the ‘Virat Kohli’ of Pakistan.

And for good reason.

With 3359 runs in 74 ODI matches (72 innings) including 11 hundreds and 15 fifties, Babar Azam has a phenomenal batting average of 54.17 – the second-highest in ODI history (min. 2000 runs) only after the man himself – the ‘real’ Kohli.

Still early days, but just for perspective, Zaheer Abbas had an average of 47.62,
Javed Miandad – 41.7, Inzamam Ul Haq – 39.53 and Saeed Anwar – 39.21 to name a few greats for Pakistan in ODI cricket.

What is remarkable is that Azam’s Actual Average (runs per innings) of 46.65 is also the highest in ODI history, again, after Kohli (50.09). Greats like Hashim Amla (45.58), AB de Villiers (43.93) and David Warner (43.77) follow.

Azam was the highest scorer for Pakistan in the ODI series against Sri Lanka – he aggregated 146 runs in two innings which included a brilliant 115 of 105 deliveries. He scored 25.04% of the total runs scored by Pakistan in the series. What was commendable was his strike rate of 111.45 in the series – not only was he scoring big runs but also scoring them at a fair clip.

These two qualities have defined his ODI career too. He has scored 19.29% of the total runs scored by Pakistan during his career at a strike rate of 87.08 – given he plays the role of an anchor in an unpredictable Pakistani line-up, his scoring rate is very impressive.

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Babar Azam has been an outright match winner for Pakistan. His average in victorious matches of 85.37 is the highest in ODI history (min. runs scored 1000) – yes, it is even higher than King Kohli (77.91).

This basically means that Azam has been a bigger match-winner for Pakistan and is more crucial for their chances than Kohli has been for India!

9 of his 11 hundreds have resulted in a victory for Pakistan – that is a success percentage of 81.81%. Just for comparison, the corresponding percentage for Kohli is 81.39%.

Azam scored his 11th ton in the 2nd ODI against Sri Lanka in Karachi. He reached his fifty in 55 deliveries. According to CricAlgorithmics, at that stage, Pakistan at 155 for 2 after 31 overs, had a win probability of as high as 84%. Amazingly, at this point, the stats system predicted that Babar would score 116 off 114 deliveries. He ended with 115 off 105!

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Azam has also been very consistent. He has registered a 30-plus score 64% of the times he has gone out to bat. He has failed (% of innings less than 20) in 20 of his 72 innings for a failure percentage of 28%.

His frequency of scoring a hundred (every 6.54 innings) is also the second-best in ODI cricket history after Kohli (a hundred every 5.35 innings).

He has also been a big-match player for Pakistan as was evident from his stellar performance in the World Cup. Babar was the eighth-highest scorer of the tournament (and the highest for Pakistan) with 474 runs from 8 innings at an average of 67.71 and strike rate of 87.77 including one hundred and three fifties.

Babar Azam also has an exceptional record in the UAE. He aggregated 360 runs in a three-match series against the West Indies in 2016 smashing three hundreds.

He again hammered more than 300 in 4 innings (including two hundreds) against Sri Lanka in 2017.

Azam is amongst the 5 batsmen who have aggregated 1000-plus in ODIs in 2019. He has scored 1092 runs in just 20 innings at an average of 60.66 and strike rate of 92.3 including 3 hundreds and 6 fifties in this calendar year.

It will be difficult to stop the Pakistani run machine.

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