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Babar Azam, Imam-ul-Haq stars as Pakistan wins first ODI against SA

Skipper Babar Azam starred with a sensational hundred while Imam-ul-Haq contributed with a vital fifty before Mohammad Rizwan and Shadab Khan’s late contributions helped Pakistan seal a dramatic last-ball thriller.

Earlier, being put in to bat, South Africa managed a total of 273/6 despite a stumbling start after losing three early wickets in the powerplay, thanks to a maiden international ton by Rassie van der Dussen and a fifty by David Miller. 

While chasing, Pakistan lost Fakhar Zaman (8) early, who chopped over the stumps becoming Rabada’s one and only scalp of the match.

Imam-ul-Haq was accompanied by captain Azam on the crease. The duo stitched a 177-run stand from 175 balls for the second wicket, and Pakistan looked on track in their chase. 

The Pakistan skipper’s 104-ball 103 laced with 17 fours before he became Anrich Nortje’s first victim, soon after reaching the milestone of his 13th ODI hundred.

Pakistan suddenly seemed to be stuttering in the chase after being reduced to 203/5 after Nortje’s bowling effort of 4/51.   

Rizwan (40) and Shadab (33) steadied the ship but both lost their wickets on the brink of victory to Phehlukwayo (2/56). With only three runs required off the last over, Ashraf (5) scored the winning runs on the last ball of the match.  

South Africa will look to even the series scores when they meet Pakistan in the second ODI on Sunday, 4 April.

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