SHARJAH: Babar Azam knocked his maiden century to steer Pakistan to a 111-run win in the first of three day-night internationals against the West Indies on Friday, in a match hit by floodlight failure in Sharjah.
The 21-year-old right-hander notched a 139-ball 120 and added 82 for the second wicket with Sharjeel Khan (54) and 99 for the fourth wicket with Sarfraz Ahmed (35) after Pakistan were sent into bat on a flat pitch.
Pakistan were 260-6 after 44.3 overs when a floodlight failure stopped play for 70 minutes, before the match was reduced to 49-overs-a-side.
Under the Duckworth-Lewis method, West Indies need 287 to win in 49 overs.
Azam hit eight boundaries and three sixes in a commanding knock before he was smartly caught one handed by Kieron Pollard at long-on boundary, lobbing the ball inside as he was going over the ropes to complete a stunning catch.
Azam´s two strong partnerships laid the foundation of the total after Pakistan lost skipper Azhar Ali off the first ball of the match, caught behind off paceman Shannon Gabriel.
Sharjeel hit six boundaries and three sixes in an aggressive 43-ball knock before miscuing a drive off spinner Sulieman Benn and was caught at short third man.
Shoaib Malik fell to spinner Sunil Narine for six and from 93-2 both Azam and Ahmed batted sensibly, rotating the strike and hitting boundaries off bad balls.
Ahmed´s 45-ball knock had just one boundary.
Azam, whose previous best of 83 came against New Zealand at Auckland earlier this year, reached his hundred with a single off Narine.
Imad Wasim (24) and Mohammad Nawaz (19) gave final touches after the resumption as Pakistan added 24 more runs after the delay.
Paceman Carlos Brathwaite was the pick of the West Indies bowlers with 3-54.
Earlier, West Indies won the toss and invited Pakistan to bat in the first match of the three-match ODI series on Friday.
Pakistan ODI captain Azhar Ali said the wicket looked good for batting and the team was aiming to put up a big score.
“Team is in high spirits after clean sweeping West Indies 3-0 in the T20 series,” the captain said.
Fast bowler Umar Gul was included in the side in place of Wahab Riaz.
Opening batsman Kraigg Brathwaite made his ODI debut for West Indies today.
The second match will also be played in Sharjah, on Sunday, while the third will be in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
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