Pakistan’s hopes in the upcoming T20 World Cup are pinned on two of their most prolific batsmen, Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan. Both the batsmen have been in a rich vein of form in the calendar year and have put in impressive performances for the national team and their domestic T20 teams.
Rizwan has been particularly impressive as he has completely transformed his game in the shortest format and has piled on the runs throughout 2021. He is currently the leading run-scorer in T20 internationals and T20s and has broken multiple world records along the way. He has already scored the highest number of runs in T20Is in a calendar year, surpassing Irish batsman, Paul Stirling’s record of 748 runs in 2019.
The 29-year old has broken various T20 batting records in 2021. He started the year with exceptional performances against South Africa in a three-match T20I series where he scored 197 runs, the most by a Pakistani batsman in a three-match T20I series. He also scored his first T20I century in the series. His innings of 104* included seven sixes which is also the most by a Pakistani batsman in a single T20I innings.
Babar, on the other hand, is right behind Rizwan in the list of top scorers in T20Is in 2021. He has continued his consistent performances in T20 cricket and looks determined to reclaim his top spot in the ICC T20I batsmen rankings. He is currently ranked number two in the world in T20Is, just a few points behind England’s Dawid Malan.
The 26-year old has also broken various batting records in 2021. Earlier in the year, he became the fastest batsman in the world to score 2,000 runs in T20Is. He achieved the feat in 52 innings as he surpassed the record of the Indian captain, Virat Kohli, who had scored 2,000 runs in 56 innings. Babar also became the second-fastest batsman in the world to score 6,000 T20 runs and just requires 121 runs in his next 7 innings to become the fastest to reach 7,000 runs.
The two batsmen have been brilliant throughout the year and have also put on some brilliant partnerships together for Pakistan. They both have played together on 13 occasions in 2021 and have scored 736 runs at an average of 56.61 and a run rate of 8.77. They have put together a century stand on three occasions and a half-century stand on two occasions in the calendar year. Their highest partnership of 197 in the third T20I against South Africa is Pakistan’s highest-ever partnership in T20Is. Both the batsmen also share Pakistan’s second-highest partnership, a 150-run stand in 1st T20I against England.
While both the batsmen have been prolific in 2021, let’s compare the two batsmen to determine the better batsman in T20 cricket this year.
Rizwan has played a total of 17 T20I matches in 2021 and has scored 752 runs at an average of 94.00 and a strike rate of 140.03 including seven half-centuries and one century. Meanwhile, Babar has scored 523 runs including four half-centuries and one century at an average of 37.35 and a strike rate of 132.74 in 17 matches.
Out of the 17 matches both the batsmen have played for the Men in Green in 2021, Pakistan has won 9 with the duo proving to be crucial in most of the matches. Rizwan has scored 575 runs, including five fifties and one hundred, at an astonishing average of 143.75 and a strike rate of 147.05 in the nine matches that Pakistan has won. Babar has also been crucial to Pakistan’s success as he has scored 394 runs, including three fifties and one hundred at an average of 43.77 and a strike rate of 148.12.
Here is the stats breakdown of the 9 matches:
Both the batsmen have had a stellar year in T20 cricket but have not shared the same success in domestic T20 competitions. While Rizwan led Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise, Multan Sultans to their first-ever title in PSL 6, Babar was unable to inspire Karachi Kings to retain their title. Despite this, the batting numbers for both the batsmen are outstanding.
Babar finished as the leading run-scorer in the sixth edition of PSL as he scored 554 runs, including seven half-centuries at an average of 69.25 and a strike rate of 132.53 in 11 innings while Rizwan was the second-highest run-scorer in the tournament with 500 runs, including four half-centuries, at an average of 45.45 and a strike rate of 127.87 in 12 innings.
Rizwan has scored 1,387 runs at an average of 63.40 and a strike rate of 135.44 in 29 T20 innings while Babar has scored 1,187 runs at an average of 47.48 and a strike rate of 133.52 in 28 innings in the calendar year.
Rizwan has won 18 out of 32 T20 matches in 2021, playing a pivotal role in the majority of the wins. He has scored 957 runs at an average of 79.75 and a strike rate of 140.32 in the 18 victories.
Babar, on the other hand, has won 16 matches in T20 cricket this year and has played a huge part in his team’s success. He has scored 743 runs at an average of 53.07 and a strike rate of 143.71 in 16 innings in the calendar year.
Who do you think has been the better batsman in T20s this year? Write down your suggestions in the comments section below!