Babar Azam raised his 19th ODI century on Wednesday in the Asia Cup 2023 opening match, in Multan, in front of his home crowd, against Nepal, who were playing in the Asia Cup for the first time in their history, and also playing against Pakistan for the first time.
With the help of Babar Azam 14 fours and 4 sixes, Babar plundered 151 runs in 131 balls. He put on a record 5th wicket stand with Iftikhar Ahmed, who smashed a 67-ball maiden ODI century and finished with 109* off 71 balls, the pair adding 214 runs in only 131 balls.
Nepal had, in fact, done well for the first 30 overs after Babar Azam won the toss and elected to bat first. The hosts found themselves in a bit of a tricky situation at the score of 124/4 in the 28th over as Nepal fielders effected two sensational direct-hit run-outs.
After that, however, it was all the Babar Azam and Iftikhar Ahmed show from thereon as Pakistan finished with a big total of 342 runs.
Babar Azam matches Virat Kohli in big Asia Cup record
With this score of 151, Babar Azam, the Pakistani skipper, equaled a big record by Virat Kohli. These two batting superstars, Babar and Kohli, are the only two batsmen in the history of the Asia Cup who have managed individual innings scores of over 150.
Back in the 2012 Asia Cup encounter between India and Pakistan in Mirpur, Virat Kohli scored 183 runs in 148 balls to help India chase down the target of 330 runs with 13 balls to spare.
Now, with Babar Azam scoring 151 runs, he joins Virat Kohli as the only two batsmen who have scored more than 150 runs in an innings in the Asia Cup tournament.
Azam also became the fastest ODI batsman to 19 ODI hundreds – he’s scored these in 102 innings, breaking Hashim Amla’s record – the South African opener reached 19 ODI centuries in 104 innings, while Virat Kohli did the same in 124 ODI innings.