Cricketers, politicians praise Fakhar Zaman’s splendid back-to-back centuries and Babar Azam’s leadership.
There was jubilation galore and the cricketing world and social media heaped praise on the Men in Green after Pakistan beat South Africa by 28 runs on Wednesday to become the only Asian side to win an ODI series twice in that country.
Pakistan clinched the series 2-1 in Centurion after opener Fakhar Zaman smashed his second century in as many matches, sealing his side’s victory in the third and final one-day international.
Fakhar followed up his scintillating 193 on Sunday with 101 as Pakistan posted 320 for seven in their 50 overs having been sent in to bat. His splendid knock was given a significant late boost by captain Babar Azam (94 from 82 balls) and Hasan Ali (32 not out from 11) who smashed 55 from the final 16 balls of the innings.
South Africa, missing five key players on their way to the Indian Premier League in Quinton de Kock, David Miller, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje and Lungi Ngidi, were bowled out for 292 in the final over.
Cricket writer Saj Sadiq noted that this is only the second time Pakistan has won an ODI series in South Africa, having won the first series in 2013.
Presenter Zainab Abbas lauded Pakistan’s “impressive” pace attack, saying the victory is “a timely reminder that Fakhar Zaman is still a matchwinner; hopefully can stay consistent”.
Former captain Azhar Ali termed it an “outstanding series win away from home”, and especially praised the leadership of skipper Babar Azam.
While commending the performance of Fakhar, Babar, Imamul Haq and Haris Rauf, sports journalist Mirza Iqbal Baig said the team “shouldn’t be complacent”, adding that the Pakistan middle order and bowling “still need a lot”.
Imam in a tweet said it is “great to be part of this amazing team”, and congratulated his side on clinching the series.
PTI Senator Faisal Javed Khan congratulated the Pakistan team on winning “yet another ODI series against South Africa in South Africa”.
Former pacer Shoaib Akhtar extolled Fakhar’s back-to-back centuries. “What a hot streak,” he wrote.
PTI parliamentarian Shehryar Afridi attributed Pakistan’s win to “hard work, passion and commitment”. He said for Babar to replace Indian star batsman Virat Kohli in the rankings was “a gigantic achievement”.
Lawyer and activist Jibran Nasir congratulated the Pakistan team on a “well-fought series win”.
Header image: The Pakistan team pose for a photograph after winning the series after the third one-day international (ODI) match between South Africa and Pakistan at SuperSport Park in Centurion on April 7. — AFP