2016 was a mixed year for Pakistan cricket. On one side, the team’s performance in the limited overs format was disappointing, getting eliminated from the Asia cup and T20 world cup 2016 in the first round and getting dominated by England in the ODI series. On the other side, the test team managed to defy the odds and reach the top spot in ICC test rankings for the very first but also managed to lose it during the very next series. From the ascension of Babar Azam to the triumphed return of Mohammed Amir at Lords to the gritty fight back of Asad Shafiq against, here is a look at 5 moments of 2016 that every Pakistan cricket fan will fondly remember.
- Push up at Lords
Without a doubt, one of the best moments of the year 2016 was the victory of Pakistan team over England at Lords. It was one of those feel good moments which made us forget every problem associated with Pakistan cricket. To start off, Pakistan was clearly the underdog coming into the first test match against England. Despite supporting a strong record, the test team hadn’t proved itself outside Asia. The test match started promisingly with Misbah scoring a brilliant hundred and helping Pakistan to make a first innings total of 339. In reply, England started off strongly but soon started to falter courtesy of Yasir Shah’s brilliance, who, picked up 6 wickets for just 72 runs helping Pakistan to bowl England out for 272. Despite taking a lead, Pakistani batsmen could only manage to get 215 runs on the board, giving England a target of 283. England started off their chase positively scoring 19 runs in just three overs but soon Rahat Ali managed to turn the momentum in Pakistan’s favor taking three quick wickets. Garry Ballance and Jonny Bairstow showed some resilience but both of them were eventually removed by Yasir Shah. Ironically, it was Mohammed Amir who managed to pick up the last wicket hence, making his successful return to test cricket. Pakistan won the match and as a tribute to the army officials who led a training camp in Kakul before the series, the entire team did 10 push ups to celebrate their win.
- Younis Khan scores a double hundred
Question marks were laid on Younis khan’s form and place in the side going into the fourth test match of the series against England. Until this point, Younis hadn’t managed to reach a score of fifty or more in the three test matches. The match at the Oval was labeled as the last opportunity for the star batsman and boy did he deliver. England managed to score 328 runs and in reply, Pakistan started off well with Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq establishing a strong partnership. However, Azhar soon lost his wicket and Younis Khan walked in but this time he didn’t feel uncomfortable at the crease, he was driving the ball confidently. Soon enough, we were seeing the Younis Khan of old who was dominating the England bowling and eventually, he scored a historic double hundred helping Pakistan to score 542 runs. Pakistan eventually won the match, and Younis was declared the player of the match silencing his critics.
- Babar Azam third hundred in a row
Pakistani ODI squad was down and out after losing the series against England 4-1. The series against West Indies was extremely important for the team to regain confidence and improve its ranking. Enter Babar Azam, the young batsman was always labeled as promising prospect, however, until this point he hadn’t proved his worth. In the three-match series, though, he managed to score hundred in both games helping Pakistan to easily win the series. Realizing the importance of winning the series 3-0, Azam delivered again and managed to score third consecutive century making a world record in the process and immediately ascending to the top position in the Pakistani batting line up.
- Asad Shafiq fights back
Pakistan vs. Australia series was one of the most anticipated series of the year as it was the first time a Pakistani side had a chance to create history against the mighty Australians. But the hopes of Pakistani fans were tarnished after a poor display of performance by Pakistan both with the bat and the ball. Pakistan was given a target of 490 to win in the fourth innings and most fans had already lost hope, however, the men in green staged a brilliant fightback and almost completed the monumental task. The fightback was led by Asad Shafiq who scored a brilliant 137 runs and managed to bring life to a one-sided test match. He was also supported by the tale. Even though, Pakistan lost the match, Shafiq was highly applauded for his brilliant effort by the greats of the game and no Pakistani fan will likely forget his innings.
- Azhar scores big
Drawing a series against England, Pakistani test squad was high on confidence playing its first day and night test match against West Indies. The team was regarded as favorites and the players delivered winning a brilliant test match despite an amazing fightback by West Indies. The key reason that Pakistan managed to win was Azhar’s brilliant triple century in the first innings. Azhar became the first batsman to score a triple century in day and night test matches and managed to cement his place as the best batsman of the test squad, silencing his critics in the process.
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