Back to top

Advertisement

Advertisement

INDEPENDENCE CUP 2017

Babar's stunning limited-overs rise

18 September 2017

Babar Azam batting during the Independence Cup // Getty

Mike Cranmer


@mcranmer35

Mike Cranmer


@mcranmer35

Pakistan opener reaches career-high t20 ranking

Babar Azam's stunning start to his international career has been given a further boost after he jumped up 21 spots to reach a career-best sixth position in the latest ICC T20 international Player Rankings.

Babar was the leading run-scorer in the Independence Cup, scoring 179 runs in three innings as Pakistan won the series 2-1against the World XI in Lahore.

The 22-year-old set the tone for Pakistan in their first Twenty20 of the series, being awarded Player of the Match honours for his whirlwind 52-ball 86 that included 10 boundaries and two sixes.

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed knew the importance of their home series and was pleased for the crowd in Lahore, and Babar's contribution.

"It was a historic occasion and I thank the crowd for coming in good numbers," said Ahmed. 

"It was a very important match and I think no praise is too high for our players, especially (Babar) Azam."

The stylish right-hander also sits fifth in the ODI batting rankings, but has been unable to convert his successful limited-overs form to the Test arena just yet, where he is currently ranked No.99.

Brilliant Babar scores fourth ODI ton

But against the white ball the right-hander has been a force of nature.

In 31 one-day internationals, Babar averages 53.88 with five centuries, while in the shortest format of the game he averages 54 from 11 innings.

Ahmed Shehzad was another strong performer with the bat in the three-match series, which saw him gain nine spots to reach joint-22nd.

On the back of their 2-1 series win in Lahore and England's loss to the West Indies in their one-off T20I at Chester-le-Street, Pakistan moved in to second place in the team rankings – just four points shy of leaders, New Zealand.

Meanwhile, England dropped to fourth in the team rankings after their 21-run loss to the Windies in Durham.

Captain Carlos Braithwaite again sunk England – this time with the ball – taking 3-20, after Chris Gayle (40 from 21) and Evin Lewis (51 from 28) set a strong platform for the visitors.

Braithwaite climbed 17 places to 33rd in the bowling rankings, while three-wicket hauls to England's Liam Plunkett and Adil Rashid also saw them ascend the leaderboard.