Mohammad Rizwan & Babar Azam – Record Breakers!
2021 was a special year for the Pakistani duo with Mohammad Rizwan in particular breaking records left, right & center.
As well as depriving Pakistan of their captain and unarguably best player, the injury to Babar Azam ahead of the series against New Zealand in December 2020 left Pakistan without their regular opener. While a few potential players in the squad were capable of opening in his place, that responsibility was eventually placed upon Mohammad Rizwan, who had a good campaign in the National T20 Cup prior to the three-match away series.
He failed to make much of an impact in the first two games before firing Pakistan to a consolation victory in the final match of the series with an excellent knock of 89 off 59. Everyone was full of praise for his superb innings, but a large section of Pakistan fans felt, perhaps rightfully so, that this was going to be more damaging for the Green Shirts in the long term – this was his first half-century in a format in which he debuted way back in 2015!
Some fans were a bit more optimistic, believing this could be the start of Mohammad Rizwan as a T20 player. However, no one could have foreseen that just a year later, the wicket-keeper would be the #3 ranked batter in the world, one of the most sought after players in T20 leagues all over the globe, and a serial record breaker!
While Rizwan was the star player of the year, Babar Azam also had a 2021, which, in any other year, would have seen him take all of the plaudits. Together, the duo formed a formidable partnership at the top of the order. We take a look at their year in numbers.
2036 – The number of runs scored by Mohammad Rizwan in T20 cricket in 2021. This is an all-time record for most T20 runs scored in a calendar year, followed by Babar Azam’s tally of 1779, also this year.
1225 – The number of runs scored by Babar Azam as captain in T20 cricket in 2021. This is an all-time record for the most T20 runs scored in a calendar year by a captain – breaking Kane Williamson’s record of 986 runs in 2018.
1326 – The number of runs scored by Mohammad Rizwan in T20I cricket in 2021. This is an all-time record for most T20I runs scored in a calendar year, followed by Babar Azam’s tally of 939, also this year. Naturally, Babar Azam’s 939 runs this year are the record for most runs for a captain in T20I cricket in a calendar year.
42 – The number of sixes hit by Mohammad Rizwan in T20I cricket in 2021. This is an all-time record for most T20I sixes hit in a calendar year, closely followed by Martin Guptill’s tally of 41 sixes, also in 2021.
4 – The number of Player of the Series awards won by Mohammad Rizwan in 2021 in T20Is. This is an all-time record for the highest amount of Player of the Series awards in a calendar year.
152 – The opening partnership Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam put on against India in the 10-wicket victory. This was the highest total to be chased down without the loss of a wicket in T20 World Cups and the second-highest in T20I cricket overall.
5 – Match awards won by Mohammad Rizwan in T20I cricket in 2021 – the most by any player in 2021.
6 – The number of hundred partnerships by Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan in T20I cricket – all of which came in 2021. This is a record for most hundred partnerships in T20I cricket by any batting pair! It is also an all-time record for the most amount of 100 partnerships in T20 cricket in a calendar year, overtaking the five hundred stands put on by AB de Villiers & Virat Kohli in 2016.
6 – The number of T20 centuries scored by Babar Azam, two of which were scored in 2021. He overtook Ahmed Shehzad and Kamran Akmal as the Pakistani with the most T20 centuries.
197 – The partnership put on by Mohammad Rizwan & Babar Azam in April when Pakistan successfully chased down South Africa’s target of 203/5. This is the highest ever partnership in a T20 chase.
4 – Number of 150+ partnerships between Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam, all of which came in 2021. Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma are the only other pair to have multiple partnerships of 150+, having done so on two occasions.
1380 – The number of runs put together by Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan in 2021. This is the all-time T20 record for most runs in a calendar year by a batting pair, beating the 939 runs put on between AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli for Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2016.
20 – The number of 50+ scores registered by Babar Azam in T20 cricket in 2021. This is an all-time record for the highest number of 50+ scores in T20 cricket in a calendar year, followed by Mohammad Rizwan’s tally of 19, also this year!
203 – The record for the most number of runs scored by a wicket-keeper in a 3-match T20I series. Rizwan achieved the feat in the home series against West Indies in December.
47 – Dismissals by Mohammad Rizwan in T20 cricket in 2021. This is an all-time record for the most amount of dismissals by a wicket-keeper in a calendar year, surpassing MS Dhoni’s 39 dismissals in 2016.
1 – Wicket-keepers to score a century for Pakistan in all three formats. Rizwan scored his maiden T20I (and Test) century in 2021.