Multan: Babar Azam became the first batsman to twice score three consecutive centuries in One-day Internationals after his 103 helped Pakistan beat West Indies by five wickets on Wednesday.
Captain Babar shared a 103-run partnership with Imam-ul-Haq (65) and a 108-run stand with Mohammad Rizwan (59) as Pakistan chased down a target of 306 in Multan to go 1-0 up in the three-match ODI series.
The 27-year-old Babar made two centuries against Australia before Wednesday’s match and also racked up three tons in a row in 2016, all against West Indies.
Babar hit nine fours in his 17th ODI century and the world’s top-ranked ODI batter also surpassed former India skipper Virat Kohli to become the fastest player to reach 1,000 runs as captain.
Babar achieved the feat in 13 innings compared with Kohli’s 17.
Babar has recently targeted to becomethe first player to be ranked No.1 in all three formats of the game.
Babar wasn’t the only player to reach three figures in Multan, with West Indies opener Shai Hope scoring his 12th ODI century with a stylish 127 that helped the Caribbean side post a highly competitive score of 305/8.
While Hope’s innings is unlikely to receive the same amount of plaudits as Babar’s, it was a knock of a similar class and really laid the platform for West Indies’ big total.
Hope smashed 15 fours and one massive six during his 134-delivery stay, with his 154-run stand with No.3 Shamarh Brooks a particular highlight.
It looked like Pakistan’s run chase was going to prove futile when Babar and Rizwan were dismissed in quick succession, but finisher Khushdil Shah had other ideas.
The left-hander smashed four sixes and scored an unbeaten 41 during the closing stages of the chase to ensure Pakistan drew first blood in the three-match series.
It was only Khushdil’s fifth ODI, but he is making a name for himself as a reliable closer after he performed a similar role with aplomb against Australia in March.
Brief scores: West Indies 305/8 in 50 overs (Shai Hope 127, Shamarh Brooks 70, Rovman Powell 32; Haris Rauf 4/77, Shaheen Shah Afridi 2/55) lost to Pakistan 306/5 in 49.2 overs (Babar Azam 103, Imam-ul-Haq 65, Mohammad Rizwan 59, Khushdil Shah 41 not out; Alzarri Joseph 2/55) by 5 wickets.