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Babar Azam: South Africa vs Pakistan, 1st ODI: Wanted to play to my strengths, says Babar Azam | Cricket News

CENTURION: Pakistan skipper Babar Azam, who scored a century in the first ODI against South Africa, said that he wanted to play on his strengths and build a partnership with opener Imam-ul-Haq to take his side over the line.
Rassie van der Dussen’s ton went in vain as Pakistan survived Anrich Nortje’s spell to beat South Africa by three wickets in the first ODI of the three-match series on Friday. (SCORECARD)
The second game will be played on Sunday at The Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg.

South Africa were reduced to 55/4, but the hosts recovered well thanks to David Miller’s fifty and van der Dussen’s hundred. The Proteas posted 273 in their 50 overs.
However, Azam’s masterclass ton (103) and gutsy knock by Mohammad Rizwan (40) and Shadab Khan (33) ensured the visitors didn’t falter in their chase, which saw too many twists and turns.
Pakistan didn’t have a good start as they lost Fakhar Zaman in the third over but skipper Azam and Imam-ul-Haq (70) stitched a 177-run stand to revive the innings.

“When I went in, I just wanted to play to my strengths. I was hoping to get a partnership with Imam and we got a big one. To be honest, when the wickets fell, I was nervous and the pressure was on with that Nortje spell, and he bowled extremely well. Hopefully, we will learn from our mistakes. We need to take the confidence from this win into the next game and hopefully close [out] the series,” Azam said after the match.
The visiting skipper also lauded his bowlers for restricting the hosts at 273 despite Van der Dussen’s unbeaten 123.
“The wicket had a bit of moisture and we tried to utilize that, so credit to our bowlers for capitalising on that with the new ball. They took wickets in the powerplay and restricted them to 270-odd. I just told the bowlers to hit the hard length and not bowl boundary balls. We stuck to our plan and restricted them,” he said.