Pakistan captain Babar Azam said he believed that as long as left-handed opener Fakhar Zaman was batting his side could have chased 450 in their Men’s ODI World Cup match against New Zealand at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on Saturday."In the back of my mind, the view was as long as Fakhar was there, we could even have chased 450.
When he plays innings like these, we win 90% of those matches. After he told me that the pitch was good to play on, we decided on building a partnership and taking the game deep, at least till the 20 overs," said Babar in a video posted by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
Originally set a chase of 402, Fakhar and Babar shared an unbeaten 194-run partnership, before rain came in. Zaman smashed an unbeaten 126 in just 81 deliveries as Pakistan posted 200/1 in just 25.3 overs before rain stopped play, giving Pakistan a 21-run win via DLS method, their fourth victory of the tournament.
"We didn't have rain in our mind at all, as the skies were clear. But the clouds came suddenly, and then we started to calculate the DLS and we wanted to stay with it throughout. We were trying to keep wickets in hand, and I was trying to take it deep. Fakhar was utilising the short boundary while I held one end up and we made sure we didn't let the run rate get out of control."
"After every six I said to him, 'Don't force the issue'. He said okay but then ignored me and started hitting sixes anyway. So I then said to him, 'Do whatever you want, just don't get out'. (It's) one of the best innings I've seen," added Babar.
Asked about his knock, Fakhar said it still wasn’t his best knock, insisting that his 193 against South Africa at the Wanderers in 2021 is his best-ever innings in international cricket was better. "Of all the wickets we've played on this World Cup, this one was the best.
It was clear from the second over that the wicket was great for batting," he said."If Southee and Boult aren't swinging the ball, you know the wicket is great to bat on. After four overs or so, whatever little swing there was got finished, and that gave me even more freedom," he said."
This is a World Cup inning so this might be one of my favourite ones. It still doesn't pip the 193 I scored at the Wanderers, because it's the fastest wicket in the world and Asian players struggle there, but this innings and the situation I scored my runs in made me very happy."