The Pakistan cricket team is considered to be the most unpredictable team of all. The Men in Green have seen many ups and downs this year but the green shirts flourished with bright colours, making record breaking partnerships, personal and team records and many more. We have collected some major events that happened in cricket in Pakistan and how the year 2021 was for the Shaheens.
Our champions reshaped the face of T20I Cricket in 2021. Have a look at their phenomenal performance.
PSL 6 Winners
Mohammad Rizwan, leading the Multan Sultans, won the sixth edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL) in 2021. Sultans beat Peshawar Zalmi by 47 runs in the final to win their maiden trophy of the tournament in June, 2021. Rizwan replaced Shan Masood as the captain of the team after he was traded from the PSL franchise Karachi Kings.
Sultans started at the second leg of the PSL fifth on the points table, having lost four of their first five matches but led by their captain Rizwan, went on to win four of the next five to finish the league stage second. They then swatted the Islamabad United challenge in the first qualifier and lead themselves to the win in the final, a crowning glory in their magnificent UAE leg of the season.
Pakistan beats India in T20WC
Pakistan made history by beating arch-rival India for the first time in a T20 World Cup match in October. The green shirts’ 10-wicket win ended a decades-long defeat streak that began in 1992. Pakistan had lost all 12 of their previous World Cup matches against India.
The two former champions clashed after more than two years in the 2021 T20 World Cup opening fixture at the Dubai International Stadium.
Pakistani openers Azam (68) and Mohammad Rizwan (79) produced a batting masterclass to chase down the 152-run target without losing a wicket, and finishing the game in the 18th over.
Rizwan and Babar partnership
Babar and Rizwan made a formidable partnership for Pakistan at the top of the order. They scored a total of 6 century stands, which is the most by a batting pair in the history of T20Is. Out of these, 4 were in excess of 150 runs which is also the most for a batting pair in T20Is and came against the likes of England, India, South Africa, and West Indies.
The duo was magnificent for Pakistan throughout the 2021 T20 World Cup. They were influential as Pakistan defeated arch-rivals India for the first time in World Cup history. The batting pair scored an unbeaten knock of 152 runs and registered the highest opening stand in T20 World Cup history.
Babar and Rizwan’s opening partnerships were all the more impressive because of pressure situations. Out of their six century partnerships, three came while chasing a target. This also included 197 run stand against South Africa at Centurion.
The duo also became the first batting pair in history to score more than 1,000 runs in a year. They scored 1,380 runs at an average of 57.50 in 25 innings while batting together.
Rizwan T20 Runs
Mohammad Rizwan rounded off a magnificent year in T20 cricket by becoming the first batter in the history of the format to cross 2,000 runs in a calendar year. The wicket-keeper batter scored 2,036 runs at an average of 56.55 and a strike rate of 132.03 in 45 innings he played in the year. Rizwan also became the highest run-scorer in T20Is in a calendar year as he became the first batter in history to cross 1,000 runs in T20Is. He scored 1,326 runs at an average of 73.66 and a strike rate of 134.89 in 26 innings.
The star wicket-keeper batter was Pakistan’s most influential player in all formats this year. Rizwan won a total of 6 player-of-the-series awards in 2021, equaling the record of most player-of-the-series awards held by Sachin Tendulkar since 1998. Rizwan bagged 4 player-of-the-series awards in T20Is and 2 in red-ball cricket.
Record 20 T20I wins in a year
During the year, Pakistan played 29 matches in the shortest format and won 20 – the most by any team. They lost six while three ended with no result.
The Men in Green played seven bilateral T20 series, and won six – against South Africa, Zimbabwe, West Indies and Bangladesh. They only lost to England.
Pakistan also won all group matches in the T20 World Cup – against India, New Zealand, Afghanistan, Namibia and Scotland. They lost the semi-final against Australia in a thriller.
Babar number 1 T20 and ODI player
Babar Azam’s incredible 2021 has been capped off with a number1 T20I batting ranking.
Combining in an opening partnership of 158 with Mohammad Rizwan against the West Indies in Karachi to set up a 3-0 series win, Babar’s 79 from just 53 balls propelled him back to the top, overtaking Aiden Markram and Dawid Malan. He now sits number1 in both the men’s T20I and ODI rankings going into the final days of the year.
This was only the second time in history that a batter was ranked number one in both formats at the end of a year. Australian legend, Ricky Ponting, achieved the feat in 2005.
Babar Nominated for ODI Player of the Year Award
The Skipper of Pakistan is also nominated for the ODI Player of the Year award. He scored 405 runs in six matches in the outgoing year at an average of 67.50 with two centuries in the 50-over format.
Alongside Azam, Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan, Ireland’s Paul Stirling and South Africa’s Janneman Malan have been named as contenders for the award.
Rizwan Nominated for T20Player of the Year Award
The star batter is also nominated for the T20I Player of the Year award for his exceptional performances with the bat.
Alongside Rizwan, Jos Buttler, Wanindu Hasaranga and Mitchell Marsh are the four nominees for the Men’s T20 Cricketer of the Year Award.
Two Consecutive Whitewash
The Pakistan cricket team had a great two series against Bangladesh and West Indies. First the green shirts beat Bangladesh with a 2-0 clean sweep in Test matches and 3-0 whitewash in T20Is and the national team later triumphed a T20I series at home against West Indies.
Meanwhile, led by the dynamic opening duo of Rizwan and Babar, Pakistan pulled off a record chase in the third and final T20 international to register a 3-0 series whitewash over the covid-hit West Indies team.
Pakistan beats India in U19 Asia Cup
Pakistan beat arch-rivals India by two wickets in a nail-biting match of the group stage of the Asian Cricket Council’s (ACC) Under-19s Asia Cup, with young stars Muhammad Shehzad and Zeeshan Zameer’s heroics leaving the Men In Blue surprised.
Skipper Qasim Akram put India to bat after winning the toss and restricted the Men In Blue to 237 in the 50-over match at the ICC Academy Ground.