Pakistan T20I openers Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan have had a dream run in 2021. The duo has so far put on six century partnerships – the first pair to do so in T20Is – while simultaneously achieving individuals milestones – the biggest being Rizwan becoming the first cricketer to score 2000-plus runs in a calendar year in T20Is. After putting together another century stand that created the base for Pakistan’s highest-ever run-chase in T20Is in the third and final match against West Indies, Rizwan and Babar heaped praise on each other. The Pakistan wicketkeeper-batter termed captain Babar as “world No.1” after they completed a clean sweep against West Indies, days after blanking Bangladesh 3-0 in their own backyard.
Rizwan, who scored a blistering 87 off just 45 balls to help Pakistan chase down 208 quite comfortable on Thursday in Karachi, said he tries to “learn” by seeing Babar at the other end.
“When you have the World No.1 with you at the crease, you don’t need to worry about anything. All you’ve got to do is to observe and learn from the best. The key to our successful partnership is our communication. We keep taking singles, keep setting small targets, target some fielders, which in turn makes it easier for us to dominate,” Rizwan said in a video interview posted by PCB.
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Rizwan ended 2021 with 2036 T20I runs while Babar notched up 1779 runs.
When asked about the reason behind his success, the keeper-batter gave credit to the management and the captain.
“I wouldn’t want to take the credit for this. I would give the credit to the management and the captain who pushed me up the batting order and helped me perform the whole year,” he added.
Babar, who scored 79 off 53 balls in the third T20I called it a “privilege” to bat alongside Rizwan.
“According to me, I’m privileged to have such a talented cricketer, a wonderful human being, someone who gels everyone together and someone who is looked up to by everyone. The way Rizwan improved his game, confidence levels and belief in himself is evident for everyone to see in the last one year. I’m happy that he is the leading T20I run-scorer in 2021,” he added.
When asked about Pakistan’s stellar performance in the shortest format of the game in this year, the skipper said the credit goes to the players and support staff.
“The credit goes to the team and the players for their efforts, and believing in themselves. Communication and backing the players has been quite helpful for us. Every player in our dressing room is a match-winner.”
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