Two weeks ago it was Virat Kohli and on Thursday, Babar Azam, his Pakistani contemporary, smashed a hundred to put an end to a run drought.

Kohli made his maiden T20I ton against Afghanistan in the Asia Cup and Babar reached the three-figure mark vs England

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Babar Azam struggled all through the Asia Cup 2022. The Pakistani captain scored 68 runs in six games at a strike rate of 107.94. He averaged 11.33. The 27-year-old was slammed by fans and critics. 

Only two matches after Pakistan’s loss against Sri Lanka in the final where Babar made five runs, thousands in the National Stadium Karachi chanted his name. The Pakistan skipper tapped Sam Curran for a single to bring his hundred. He jumped, pumped his fists, roaring and reminding all that he is back. 

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Babar’s 66-ball 110 was laced with 11 fours and two maximums. He and opener Mohammad Rizwan (88 off 51) helped Pakistan chase down 200 runs with three balls to spare. 

Lahore-born Babar also beat Kohli to become the second fastest batter to smash 8,000 runs in the shortest format. He achieved the feat in 218 innings while the former India captain took 243. Chris Gayle leads the list (213 innings). 

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Virat Kohli took 1,019 days to score his 71st century. During the period, India played Sri Lanka and West Indies thrice, Australia two times (home and away), England, New Zealand and South Africa twice, Zimbabwe and Ireland. A World Test Championship final and T20 World Cup went by but the 33-year-old was failing to convert his starts.

Kohli sat out of quite some matches, he quit T20I and Test captaincy and was sacked as the ODI skipper. His century celebration, against Afghanistan, showed that he was under immense pressure. The star batter took off his helmet, bowed down and kissed his engagement ring. 

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The calm on Kohli’s face, a quiet celebration, was quite the opposite of how Babar reacted. The Pakistani skipper roared and jumped like the hundred meant the world to him. 

The two hit back at their critics in the same month. Their hundreds were statements. And now Babar will again face Virat next month as Pakistan take on India in the T20 World Cup 2022.