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Fakhar Zaman’s 109 & Babar Azam’s 74 help Pakistan to a total of 314 against the Netherlands

Fakhar Zaman of Pakistan has scored his seventh century in One-Day Internationals. He scored three figures in the first One-Day International against the Netherlands at Hazelaarweg in Rotterdam.

Fakhar scored his first international century since April 2021. After the visitors elected to bat, his century gave Pakistan a solid start. Meanwhile, captain Babar Azam was 26 runs short of a century.

A 168-run stand for the second wicket between Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam was the foundation of Pakistan’s innings, which saw them post 314 for 7. Fakhar scored his seventh ODI century, and Babar cruised to another half-century, but just as the pair appeared to be gearing up for a massive death-overs onslaught, Netherlands struck back with a flurry of wickets. A late cameo from Shadab Khan helped Pakistan get back on track and cross the 300-point mark.

Pakistan won the toss and chose to bat first on what appeared to be a particularly inviting surface to bat on, with both Babar and Scott Edwards expressing a desire to set a target. They started slowly, scoring only three runs in the first four overs, and fell to 10 for 1 when an off-colour Imam ul Haq was caught in front by Vivian Kingma.

Babar & Fakhar Zaman destroys Netherland

Babar’s arrival calmed some nerves, though he, too, struggled to get going, with Bas de Leede, by far the best Dutch bowler on the day, beating the outside edge on a couple of occasions. Once the tone was set, three fours in the tenth over gently shifted the momentum in Pakistan’s favour.

The Netherlands looked particularly toothless in the middle overs, but most bowling teams do against Pakistan’s top three. Fakhar displayed ominous rhythm, and when he heaved Kingma over the on side for the game’s first six in the 26th over, only for Babar to follow it up with one in the next over, Pakistan’s massive score looked a formality.

That would change when Babar’s mistimed hit over mid-off off Logan van Beek found Tom Cooper, the Pakistan captain falling 26 runs short of another century. Fakhar made no mistake in getting his in the next over, smashing Aryan Dutt for three fours, only to be sent back for 109 due to an erroneous bit of running. After exposing Pakistan’s shaky middle order, de Leede and Tim Pringle were able to establish a modicum of control.

A look at Fakhar Zaman’s ODI career

Fakhar made his ODI debut in the 2017 Champions Trophy against South Africa in Birmingham. In a career spanning over five years, the left-handed batter has slammed 2,599 runs from 60 matches at an average of 46.41. He remains the only Pakistani batter with a double century in ODI cricket. Fakhar slammed an unbeaten 210 against Zimbabwe in 2018.

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