PSL | Trying to play at 300 strike rate, sarcastic Babar Azam hits back at criticism

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Babar Azam did not hold back his words when probed about his strike rate in another one-man showing for Peshawar Zalmi, reiterating he was playing the circumstances instead of focusing too much on the strike rate. The batter delved deep into his thought process to further justify his performance.

Peshawar Zalmi had a disappointing showing against Islamabad United in Karachi on February 23, succumbing to a comprehensive six-wicket defeat. Asked to bat first, the Babar Azam-led side only managed a subpar total of 156/8 in their 20 overs on a track with plenty to offer for the batters. In response, United rode on the back of Rahmanullah Gurbaz's explosive unbeaten knock of 62 from 31 deliveries to chase down the target with over five overs still to spare.

In the post-match press conference, Azam once again came under the scanner for the result despite a valiant 75 off 58 deliveries, carrying his bat through the inning. However, the national team skipper responded boldly when the issue of his strike rate surfaced once again. 

"I try to play at a strike rate of 300," Babar sarcastically remarked.

Azam and Mohammad Harris had got off Peshawar to a good start, the latter contributing with a rapid 21-ball 40. However, once he fell, wickets kept tumbling one after the other while Azam held fort at one end. The side went from 76/0 to 99/5 even as the captain gunned his way to a half-century in just 33 deliveries. Dasun Shanaka provided some stability eventually by forming a 27-run partnership with the Lahori but he fell for a score of 11 as well in the 16th over, thereby bringing an end to all hopes of a competitive total for his side.

"In the first 10 overs, my strike rate was almost 160 but when six wickets fall you don't try and accelerate to a strike rate of 200. You instead try and build partnerships which is what I did in my innings today. If you look at the plan I had, once you have built up the momentum you just want to take it away and not let it break down. However, when wicket walls interrupt your rhythm and the shots stop coming off properly. My plan was to build a partnership in the last 10 overs. Shanaka and I agreed to play naturally till the 15th over and then take the charge to the opposition. But then back-to-back wickets fell in the death and so the strike was bound to get lower but I still managed to maintain it at 150," Babar further explained.

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