Pakistan openers Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan produced a magnificent outing in the second T20I of the series against England on Thursday. In a record-shattering opening stand, the duo forged a 203-run unbeaten partnership to steer Pakistan to a 10-wicket victory, thus levelling the seven-match series 1-1. En route to their exceptional knocks, Babar and Rizwan also silenced their critics who had been questioning the duo’s intent, following a series of slow knocks in their last few matches.
Rizwan, in particular, had been under the scanner as he scored at a strike-rate of just over 117 in the Asia Cup, even as he ended as the highest run-getter in the tournament. In the game against England, Babar Azam scored an unbeaten century (110 off 66 deliveries) at a brilliant strike rate of 166, while Rizwan’s run-scoring was even better (unbeaten 88 off 51 balls, strike rate of 172).
Following their knocks, Pakistan’s leading pacer Shaheen Afridi hit back at critics with a savage dig, as he backed his fellow teammates. Shaheen wrote, “I think it is time to get rid of Kaptaan @babarazam258 and @iMRizwanPak. Itne selfish players. Agar sahi se khelte to match 15 overs me finish hojana chahye tha. Ye akhri over tak le gaye. Let’s make this a movement. Nahi? (Such selfish players. If they played in the right way, they could have finished this match in 15 overs, but they took it to the final over).
Shaheen imitated a number of former cricketers through his tweet, who had criticised the intent from Babar and Rizwan with similar words.
“Absolutely proud of this amazing Pakistani team,” Shaheen further wrote.
Shaheen’s tweet sent fans into a frenzy, with fans being both, in favour and against of the Pakistan bowler for his swipe on the critics.
Earlier, Babar and Rizwan scripted a world record as they went past the Indian duo of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan to record the highest opening partnership runs in T20Is. The Pakistan duo has scored 1929 runs together as openers, while Rohit and Dhawan stand second with 1743 runs to their name.