LEICESTERSHIRE: Pakistan opener Babar Azam smashed a century as Pakistan thrashed Leicestershire by 58 runs in their final practice game of the England tour.
Pakistan were off to a flying start as they played superbly and posted 200 runs on the board for the loss of 6 wickets in allotted 20 overs. Openers Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam provided Pakistan a solid start as both contributed 104 runs for the first-wicket partnership. Fakhar was then sent packing by Ben Mike when he was playing at 52, which he gathered in 30 balls with the help of 8 boundaries and 1 sixes.
After Fakhar, Asif Ali joined Babar and both added 65 runs for the second-wicket stand. Asif could score 22 off 15 deliveries. After that, Babar played sensibly and kept intact one end while on the other, batsmen kept on losing wickets on regular interval and no one could cross double figures. But it was Babar Azam, who played just 63 balls and smashed 13 fours and 2 massive sixes in swashbuckling knock of 101 runs. Ben Mike emerged as successful bowler from Leicestershire as he captured 3 wickets for 38 runs while his teammates Dieter Klein bagged 2 for 31 and Will Davis got 1 for 40.
Chasing the modest total of 201 runs, Leicestershire were bowled out for 142 in 19.2 overs. Their openers couldn’t provide a good start while their middle order also proved to be a sand wall in front of pace factory of Pakistan team. Only Ben Mike and Callum Parkinson played sensible and contributed significant 37 and 27 runs respectively. Mark Cosgrove and Aadil Ali were their other notable batsmen who could reach the double figures.
From Pakistan, Shaheen Shah Afridi bowled brilliantly and picked up 2 key wickets of the opponents conceding just 12 runs in 2.2 overs while Imad Wasim also bowled well and bagged 2 wickets for 19 runs. Faheem Ashraf, Hassan Ali, Muhammad Hasnain and Haris Sohail got one wicket each from the winning side.
Pakistan started their tour with a 100-run win over Kent before going on to beat Northamptonshire by eight wickets. The men in green will now play a one-off T20I and a five-match ODI series against hosts England ahead of the World Cup. The 20-over game will be played on May 5 at Cardiff.
The ODI series kicks off on May 8 at The Oval. The second and third fixtures will be played on May 11 and May 14 at Southampton and Bristol respectively. The fourth game of the series will take place on May 17 at Nottingham. The series wraps up at Leeds on May 19.