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Record-setting Azam trumps Hope and West Indies in first ODI

MULTAN, PAKISTAN (AFP) – Pakistan skipper Babar Azam became the first batter to knock three successive one-day international (ODI) hundreds twice as he anchored a five-wicket win over the West Indies in Multan on Wednesday.

Ranked number one batter in both limited overs formats, Azam cracked a brilliant 107-ball 103 with nine boundaries to help Pakistan overhaul a tough 306-run target in 49.2 overs.

Opener Shai Hope knocked a 134-ball 127 for his 12th one-day international century to help the West Indies post an impressive 305-8 – their highest against Pakistan in Pakistan.

The win gives Pakistan a 1-0 lead in the three match series and 10 crucial points in the ODI Super League, a qualification process for 2023 World Cup (50 overs) to be hosted by India.

But once Azam and Mohammad Rizwan (59) fell in quick succession, Pakistan were in a spot of bother with 50 needed off 32 balls.

Khushdil Shah lived up to his big hitting and carted four sixes in his 23-ball 41 not out – three successive in Romario Shepherd’s 47th over before Mohammad Nawaz hit the winnings six in the final over.

Azam generously handed his man-of-the-match award to Khushdil. “I want to give the award to him for his outstanding knock,” said Azam. “We planned the chase and showed intent which worked in our favour.”

West Indian skipper Nicholas Pooran praised his team.

“Getting 300 plus in tough conditions was a great effort,” said Pooran.

“I am proud of the guys and although result did not go our way but that’s cricket.”

Pakistan captain Babar Azam plays a shot as West Indies wicketkeeper Nicholas Pooran watches. PHOTO: AFP