Captain Babar Azam leads Pakistan to big win over Zimbabwe

Captain Babar Azam hit a fluent half century and spurred Pakistan to a six-wicket victory over Zimbabwe in the first T20I on Saturday.

Babar Azam scored 82 off 55 balls to reach his 15th half century in T20Is.   -  AP

Captain Babar Azam hit a fluent half century and spurred Pakistan to a six-wicket victory over Zimbabwe in a Twenty20 international on Saturday.

Azam made 82 off 55 balls to reach his 15th half century in Twenty20s as Pakistan eased to 157-4 in 18.5 overs for a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Mohammad Hafeez scored 36 off 32 balls and together with Azam shared an 80-run stand as fast bowler Blessing Muzarabani finished with 2-26.

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Earlier, 20-year-old Wesley Madhevere hit nine fours and a six to score an unbeaten 70 but Pakistan’s pace still restricted Zimbabwe at 156-6.

Elton Chigumbura, who will retire after the series ends on Tuesday, made a quickfire 21 off 13 balls, but Zimbabwe’s top order struggled to accelerate against fast bowlers Haris Rauf (2-25), Wahab Riaz (2-37) and Mohammad Hasnain (1-25).

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The second match will be played Sunday before Zimbabwe, which lost the ODI series 2-1, wraps up its limited-overs tour to Pakistan on Tuesday.

Babar Azam should take over as Test captain - Wasim Akram

Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram has backed Babar Azam to take over captaincy for Test matches.

“You ask me as a former player, yes, I back Babar to become Test captain because he is our future and he can continue for a long time,” Akram told Cricket Baaz, a YouTube channel.

“If the PCB appoints him they should for a proper time so that at least there is no confusion as to who is in charge in the dressing room,” he said.

“I back Babar because I don’t want to see those days when I was playing and there were around four to five captains in our dressing room. He is our best player and people who say that making him Test captain will affect his batting, don’t buy that because he is a batsman and it is his job to score runs. Aren’t Virat Kohli or Kane Williamson also captains and top batsmen?” Akram said.

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