KARACHI: Babar Azam hit a magnificent century on Friday to lead his team to a convincing 102-run win against New Zealand in the fourth ODI match in Karachi.
Azam’s 117-ball 107 helped Pakistan reach a total of 334-6 in their 50 overs, with the skipper also becoming the fastest batter to reach 5,000 ODI runs, breaking Hashim Amla’s previous record. Azam’s 18th ODI century took him past the milestone in his 97th innings, four innings quicker than Amla’s 101.
In response, New Zealand were bowled out for 232 in 43.4 overs, with Tom Latham’s 60 being the top score for the visitors. Usama Mir was the pick of the Pakistani bowlers, taking a career-best 4-43, while Mohammad Wasim (3-40) and Haris Rauf (2-37) also made crucial contributions.
Pakistan’s victory gave them an unassailable 4-0 lead in the five-match series and took them to the top of the ICC ODI rankings for the first time since its official recognition in 2005. Azam’s century was the highlight of the match, and he was well supported by Shan Masood (44), Agha Salman (58), and Iftikhar Ahmed (28).
Pakistan plundered 94 runs in the last 10 overs, thanks to Shaheen Shah Afridi’s quick-fire 23 not out, which included three sixes and a four. Azam’s century was his 30th in all international cricket, and he is now the 14th Pakistani to score 5,000 or more runs in ODI cricket.