Brilliant Babar overtakes Kohli as number-one ODI batsman

By Sports Desk April 14, 2021

Pakistan's Babar Azam has risen above Virat Kohli to take top spot in the ODI batting rankings.

After a fine showing in the recent series victory over South Africa, Babar replaced his India rival at the summit with 865 points to Kohli's 857.

Babar scored 103 in the opening fixture against the Proteas and closed the three-match showdown with a fine 94, earning the player of the match award.

"This is another milestone in my career, which will now require even more hard work and absolute consistency with the bat in order for me to hold on to the ranking for an extended period of time, like Sir Vivian Richards from January 1984 to October 1988 and Virat Kohli for 1,258 days," said Babar, who is sixth in the Test rankings and third in the T20I format.

"I have also previously topped the T20I rankings, but the ultimate ambition and goal is to lead the Test rankings, which are the real testament and reward to a batsman's calibre, reputation and skills.

"I understand to achieve this objective, I will not only have to perform consistently, but more importantly, against the top sides.

"I am looking forward to this challenge and remain confident I will be able to accomplish this target with the support of my team-mates and coaching staff."

Babar has played 80 ODIs, scoring 3,808 runs at an average of 56.83, a strike rate of 88.7, and with a highest score of 125 not out.

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    Van der Dussen finished unbeaten on 75, while in the course of the innings former West Indies captain Jason Holder became just the 15th man in Test history to reach 50 catches, 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in a career. He joined that club with a spectacular catch at second slip to see off Keshav Maharaj.

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    The morning session was wiped out due to rain in St Lucia, but when play began at the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium, Roach was quick to make an impact, having openers Aiden Markram and Dean Elgar both caught cheaply at second slip by Jason Holder.

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    With his dismissal for eight, Pujara has failed to score more than 21 runs in each of his past six innings. He has scores of 15, 21, seven, none, 17 and eight since his first-innings 73 against England in Chennai in February. The 33-year-old is out of form and it is fair to wonder whether he will keep his place with a series against England on the horizon.

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    Had this game been played a week earlier, there would have been no doubt of a result as England was bathed in sunshine. Now, even with the prospect of using a reserve day, it is questionable whether there will be enough play to deliver a result, with rain forecast on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. The final could turn into a non-event, and there is an increasing likelihood the teams will share the Test Championship mace.

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