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ACL Game 6: Dazzling century sees Pakistan XI end tournament on a high

Updated: Jan 7, 2022

Babar Nadeem.

Remember the name.

The unassuming opener had looked ominous all tournament, and everything came together against India as he crunched his way to a match-winning 104 not out from just 57 balls.

Nadeem struck the ball sweetly yet with a tinge of venom throughout the captivating innings, which included 12 fours and five maximums as he lifted Pakistan to 6-170 from their 20 overs.

Despite the game’s status as a dead rubber – with Pakistan unable to qualify for the Final and India’s place secured – Pakistan had every intention of ending their campaign on a high, made clear by their overwhelming vocal support from the sidelines early.

Their batting display wasn’t solely a one-man show either, with Abdul Haseeb (27* off 12 balls) providing some late innings fireworks as he and Nadeem exploded late, scoring 52 runs off the final three overs.

India’s Tej Gandhi, who’s been a revelation with consecutive player of the match performances in India’s first two games, was again at the fore with ball in hand, taking 3-12 from four overs.

Once India reverted to pace to close out the innings however, 17 overs of economical bowling unravelled in a heartbeat.

Nadeem took express quick Satnam Grewal for three sixes in the 18th over, one being a monstrous strike over cover.

A crisp boundary straight down the ground next over saw him enter triple figures, the significance of which not lost on the crowd or Nadeem himself.

Pakistani skipper Haseeb Quereshi described the centurion’s knock as “brutality."

“I’m really proud of him, I think he’s played really good cricket all tournament and today it just all came together,” Quereshi said.

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Confronted with the menacing total of 170, India felt they had to attack from the get-go, it was to their detriment as they were reduced to 2-7 in the 2nd over, Abdul Haseeb (3-17 off four overs) and Umair Butt (1-13 off four) the early wicket-takers.

Abhishek Jain (27 off 29) and Pavitar Shergill (19 off 19) consolidated well, but fell to Qamar Awan (2-22 off four) in quick succession to leave Pakistan in the box seat.

India would ultimately manage just 7-134, falling 36 runs short of Pakistan’s target despite handy cameos from Vishal Thind (26 off 23) and Bipanpreet Singh (22* off 20).

Speaking on the result post-match, Quereshi declared it was a “great day” for him and his teammates.

“Obviously jealous of the two teams that are playing tomorrow, but couldn’t be more proud of the boys and how we went about it today.”

“We played some amazing cricket and fell short in a couple of games. We really needed this and hopefully we can enjoy it tonight.”



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