Pakistan skipper Babar Azam believes that his team’s ascension to the Number 1 spot in the ICC Men’s ODI Team Rankings was a result of their hard work and discipline. A 3-0 series sweep over Afghanistan helped Pakistan to the pole position in Men’s ODI Team Rankings. They are now marginally ahead of Australia, with 2725 points and 118 rating points. 

They had won the first ODI by 142 runs at the back of a brilliant bowling display. The second game was a nail-biting thriller, with the Men in Green eking out a one-wicket win in the last over of the game. In the third game, they batted well on a tough wicket to set a commanding total, before regular strikes from their bowlers ensured a 59-run win. 

Speaking to PCB after the third ODI, Babar was chuffed at having achieved the top spot in the ODI team rankings. He described it as a complete team effort. (Fact Check: Did Ajit Agarkar Say ‘Virat Kohli Will Handle Shaheen Afridi And Haris Rauf’?)

“Whenever you achieve the No.1 spot, it gives you a lot of joy. This is the result of the entire team’s effort. We have been here before, but unfortunately, we lost that position after losing a game. But we’re back here by the grace of god. This is due to our hard work and performance,” said Babar after the match as quoted by ICC. 

While discussing the recently concluded series, the Pakistan skipper expressed his belief that the momentum gained from it would provide them an advantage in the upcoming Asia Cup, which starts from August 30 onwards. 

“We are excited, and this series win will help us. This was not an easy series, even if some might assume otherwise. Afghanistan are a tough side, their spinners are one of the best (in the world).”

“The momentum we have achieved in this series will give us a lot of confidence. We are excited about the Asia Cup and are looking forward to Multan,” he concluded. 

Pakistan will open their Asia Cup campaign against Nepal in Multan on August 30.  Coming to the Pakistan-Afghanistan match, half-centuries from skipper Babar (60 in 86 balls) and Mohammed Rizwan (67 in 79 balls) and middle-order/lower-order knocks by Agha Salman (38 in 31 balls) and Mohammed Nawaz (30 in 25 balls) helped Pakistan reach 268/8 in their 50 overs. 

Gulbadin Naib (2/36) and Fareed Ahmad (2/70) were the top wicket-takers for Afghanistan. In reply, Afghanistan sunk to 97/7 in reply. However, knocks from Shahidullah (37 in 65 balls), Riaz Hassan (34 in 66 balls) at least helped the Afghans touch the 100-run mark

Later, an entertaining half-century by Mujeeb Ur Rahman (64 in 37 balls with five fours and five sixes) helped Afghanistan touch the 200-run mark. But Afghanistan was bundled out for 209 in 48.4 overs. Shadab Khan (3/42) was the pick of the bowlers for Pakistan. Nawaz, Shaheen Afridi and Faheem Ashraf took two wickets each as well.

Read More