The opening game of the Asia Cup witnessed a remarkable display of cricket prowess as the inspirational skipper, Babar Azam, etched his name among the pantheon of cricket legends with an awe-inspiring century against Nepal. The match, held in Multan on Wednesday, turned into a showcase of Babar's exceptional talent and determination.
Babar's resplendent innings of 151 runs off 131 deliveries not only led his team to victory but also propelled him to new heights of cricketing glory. With this phenomenal performance, he surpassed South African cricket great Hashim Amla, securing the record for the fastest player in the history of the game to reach 19 One Day International (ODI) centuries.
Reaching this astonishing milestone in just 102 ODI innings, Babar outshone Amla's previous record of 104 innings. The world's top-ranked ODI batter treated the audience to a splendid array of shots, including 14 boundaries and four towering sixes, as he etched his name into various record books.
The brilliance of Babar's century was further underscored by an array of remarkable achievements:
His score of 151 stood as the second-highest ever achieved at the Asia Cup, trailing only behind Virat Kohli's 183 against Pakistan in 2012.
Babar's feat marked the first instance of a captain scoring 150 or more runs in an Asia Cup match, surpassing Kohli's previous record of 136 against Bangladesh in 2014.
Remarkably, this innings marked only the second occasion Babar has surpassed the 150-run mark in an ODI, with his highest ODI score remaining at 158 against England in Birmingham in 2021.
The century solidified Babar's position as the No.1 ranked player on the MRF Tyres ODI Batting Rankings.
This stunning knock elevated Babar's ODI batting average to an impressive 59.47, establishing him as the fourth-highest average in men's ODI cricket history among players with a minimum of 2000 ODI runs.
The century marked Babar's 31st international century, aligning him with Pakistani legends Javed Miandad and Saeed Anwar. He now stands just behind the likes of Younis Khan (41), Mohammad Yousuf (39), and Inzamam-ul-Haq (35).
As the Asia Cup gathers momentum and the 13th edition of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup looms on the horizon, Babar's remarkable display hints at even greater accomplishments on the horizon. With ample opportunities for further milestones in the coming months, Babar's legacy as a cricketing icon is set to grow.
Pakistan's next challenge in the Asia Cup awaits them against arch-rival India in Pallekele on Saturday. Meanwhile, their debut clash in the upcoming World Cup will see them face the Netherlands in Hyderabad on October 6. As cricket enthusiasts brace for more exceptional feats from Babar Azam, the anticipation for records being rewritten remains palpable.