There were match-winning runs, spellbinding stroke-play, and unforgettable moments for Pakistan captain Babar Azam and his squad in 2022 as he won the ICC Men’s ODI Cricketer of the Year Award for the second year in a row. Here, we look at his performances and recognize some of his exceptional accomplishments this year.
Pakistan’s Babar Azam No.1 ODI Player
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679 runs at an average of 84.87 from nine matches, including three centuries. A year has passed. If you thought the Pakistan captain had a memorable year in ODI cricket in 2021, the ultra-consistent right-hander retained his position as the No.1 rated batter on the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s ODI Player Rankings in 2022. It’s a title that Babar has firmly held since July 2021 and has no intention of relinquishing anytime soon.
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It may come as a surprise that Babar Azam only played nine ODIs in 2022, but the 28-year-old made them count, smashing three hundred, and five half-centuries, and only truly failing with the bat on one occasion. And it wasn’t only on an individual level that Babar excelled; the Pakistan captain also led his squad with aplomb and just one defeat all year. Pakistan’s only defeat in 50-over cricket last year came against Australia in Lahore and based on statistics alone, Babar was an obvious choice to earn the prized ICC Men’s ODI Player of the Year title in 2022.
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Outstanding performance In 2022, Babar Azam delivered one amazing ODI performance after another, but none more memorable or as excellent as his 114 against Australia in Lahore at the end of March. It was a must-win game for Pakistan following their series opener defeat to an always-difficult Australian team, and Babar Azam delivered when his nation needed him the most, as the Asian side chased down a mammoth total of 349 for the loss of just four wickets and with six deliveries to spare.
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Openers Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq lay the groundwork for the run chase with a 118-run partnership before Babar put on a masterclass in chasing a total. Babar Azam came out to bat with his team needing 231 from 187 balls and nearly brought them home with an outstanding exhibition of shot-making. He reached his century in 73 balls, the quickest in ODI history, and stayed in the game till the 45th over, with the winning goal in sight. The rest of the hitters completed the job as Pakistan scored their highest-ever successful ODI chase, and it was no surprise that their inspired captain was voted Player of the Match.
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