Asia Cup 2023: In a cricketing display that left fans and experts alike mesmerized, Pakistan captain Babar Azam shone brightly in the inaugural match of Asia Cup 2023 against Nepal. Former India wicketkeeper-batter Deep Dasgupta, who was present in Multan for the match, didn’t hold back in his praise. “He is poetry in motion,” Dasgupta effused during his commentary for the official broadcasters.
Babar scored a monumental 151 off 131 balls, helping Pakistan recover from a shaky start to reach an imposing 342 for 6. After winning the toss and electing to bat on a hot and humid afternoon, Pakistan lost openers Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq early. Babar, however, stabilized the innings with an 86-run partnership with Mohammad Rizwan.
Taking time to acclimatize to the conditions, Babar reached his fifty in 72 balls. His cautious approach was justified, given Nepal’s disciplined bowling that kept troubling the Pakistani batting lineup. But the turning point came when Babar partnered with Iftikhar Ahmed. The duo decimated Nepal’s bowling, registering a 214-run partnership.
Babar seized the opportunity to be more aggressive, leading him to become the first captain in Asia Cup history to score over 150 runs in a match. Meanwhile, Iftikhar notched up his maiden ODI century in just 67 balls, making it the fourth-fastest century in Asia Cup history. The last 10 overs were particularly brutal, with Pakistan amassing a staggering 129 runs.
Asia Cup 2023: Deep Dasgupta heaps praise on Babar Azam
Dasgupta emphasized that Babar’s innings wasn’t a walk in the park. “The conditions were tough, the bowling was disciplined, and Babar had to grind it out,” he remarked. He credited Nepal for their spirited performance, stating they were in the game until the 40th over.
Indeed, this isn’t just another century for Babar. It showcased his adaptability, his resilience, and most importantly, his leadership skills. He took on the responsibility of anchoring the innings when his team needed him the most. Moreover, he displayed an uncanny ability to switch gears, moving from a defensive play to an all-out attack with seamless ease.
All eyes are now set on the upcoming marquee clash between Pakistan and India in Kandy on September 2. Babar, currently the No. 1 ODI batter, has certainly set the stage. He has laid down a marker, not just as an individual performer but also as a captain capable of turning games around.
Dasgupta summed it up best when he highlighted Babar’s hunger to score, “irrespective of oppositions and conditions.” That’s a quality that sets great players apart from the good ones. And Babar has shown, time and again, that he belongs to that elite club.
“Listen, he is poetry in motion. He is so easy on the eyes. Even though on the scorecard, it was Nepal as the opposition, you have to keep in mind how well they bowled. They were in the game until the 40th over. He really had to work hard, the conditions were not easy, it was hot, it was humid,” Deep Dasgupta, who was in Multan, told the official broadcasters on Wednesday.
“The bowling was very disciplined. It didn’t come easy to him. If you look back and look at the scorecard, you might say ‘Oh, it came against Nepal’. But it was a difficult hundred. That tells you how he was glued in, the hunger he has to go out there, and irrespective of oppositions and conditions, he wants to score,” he added.
As the Asia Cup progresses, Babar’s dazzling form adds another layer of excitement to an already riveting tournament. The looming Pakistan-India encounter promises to be an electrifying spectacle, and with Babar Azam in such sublime form, who knows what fireworks await cricket fans. But one thing’s for sure: Babar has set the bar exceedingly high, and he’s raring to leap over it yet again.