Decoding Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam's T20I heroics in 2021
Pakistan cricket team openers Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam ended the team's journey in T20Is this year on a terrific note. They helped Pakistan beat West Indies in the third T20I on Thursday, adding 158 runs. Pakistan sealed a 3-0 win in the T20I series at home. Interestingly, both Rizwan and Babar topped the scoring chart this year in T20Is. We decode their achievements.
- After being stunned by Australia in the semis of the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 in November, Pakistan won successive T20I series against Bangladesh and West Indies respectively.
- Throughout the year, both Rizwan and Babar played consistently, sharing numerous match-winning partnerships.
- They stood out in the T20 World Cup as well, dominating the scenes with the bat.
- It was indeed a special year.
Rizwan stood tall and was a step above everyone else in the shortest format this year. In 29 T20Is, Rizwan racked up 1,326 runs at an average of 73.66. He slammed one century and 12 fifties with the best score of 104*. He finished with the most number of fours (119). Rizwan hit 42 sixes (highest) and had a strike rate of 134.89.
Earlier this year, Rizwan became the first batter to touch the 1,000-run mark (T20Is) in a calendar year. He broke the record of Ireland's Paul Stirling, who aggregated 748 T20I runs in 2019. On Thursday, Rizwan became the first-ever batter to smash 2,000 T20 runs in a calendar year.
Pakistan skipper Babar complimented Rizwan well and followed suit with a phenomenal year in T20Is. The classy batter amassed the second-highest number of runs (939). He averaged 37.56, slamming one ton and nine fifties. He posted the best score of 122. Babar finished with 99 fours (second-highest) and 17 maximums. He had a strike rate of 127.58.
In April, Rizwan and Babar added a 197-run stand for the opening wicket against South Africa.. This was the fourth-highest partnership in terms of runs for the first wicket in T20Is. This is also the highest stand for Pakistan (any wicket) in T20Is. Their 152*-run stand against India in the T20 WC saw the latter suffer their maiden 10-wicket loss in the format.
Rizwan and Babar stitched four 150-plus stands in 2021. This was a major achievement in the game. Their heroics came against South Africa (197), England (150), India (152*), and West Indies (158). Overall in T20Is, the duo has stitched 1,473 partnership runs (fifth-highest). They have six century-plus stands and four fifty-plus scores together. All of their six century-plus stands have come in 2021.