Matthew Hayden has highlighted that Babar Azam enjoys a better record than Virat Kohli at this stage of his ODI career. He expects the Pakistan skipper to deliver the goods in their Asia Cup 2023 must-win Super Four clash against Sri Lanka.
The two sides will lock horns at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Thursday, September 14. Babar, who played a 151-run knock in Pakistan’s tournament opener against Nepal, was dismissed cheaply in his last two innings against Bangladesh and India respectively, and will hope to play a match-defining role in the crunch game. Follow your favourite cricket team with attractive betting odds from Nextbet.
During an interaction on the Star Sports show Game Plan, Hayden was asked whether he expects Babar to deliver against Sri Lanka after a brief lean run in his last two hits, to which he responded:
“Babar Azam is a champion. He comes back from these things time and time again because that’s what champions do. When you think about the statistical comparison at the same stage, Virat Kohli vs Babar Azam, Babar Azam is actually leading that shoot-out match.”
The former Australian opener highlighted the Pakistan skipper’s significance in the Men in Green’s batting lineup. He explained:
“So that’s how significant he is to the Pakistani team lineup and I am sure that he can do it in this shoot-out against Sri Lanka. Babar is central not only because he is the captain but he is absolutely central in terms of the talent of that batting unit.”
Babar has amassed 5380 runs at an excellent average of 58.47 in 107 ODIs. Kohli aggregated 4376 runs at an average of 49.16 in the first 107 games of his ODI career.
Matthew Hayden pointed out that Pakistan’s batting fortunes are closely tied to those of Babar. He said:
“We all understand that Pakistan cricket over the years and particularly this side is very top-heavy and Babar carries the weight of that always. So when his performances aren’t quite on song, it matters.”
Pakistan have made wholesale changes to their playing XI for Thursday’s game. While Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Wasim and Zaman Khan have been included in the bowling lineup, Mohammad Haris and Saud Shakeel have replaced the out-of-sorts Fakhar Zaman and Agha Salman in the batting department. Get free cricket betting tips from Nextbet Sports.