ISLAMABAD - Babar Azam was at his brilliant best as Khushdil Shah’s late cameo ensured Pakistan did enough to sneak past Shai Hope and the West Indies in Multan.

Babar Azam continued to make a mockery of opposition bowlers and the Pakistan captain was at it again in Multan as he helped himself to yet another ODI century. It was Babar’s third century on the trot and it also meant he becomes the first player in the history of ODI cricket to score three consecutive centuries on two separate occasions.

If that’s not enough then consider the fact that Babar’s innings also saw him become the quickest player to notch 17 ODI centuries and the fastest to complete 1,000 ODI runs as captain, as per ICC. Not bad for a 27-year-old, who was seemingly still on improve and recently targeted becoming the first player to be ranked No 1 in all three formats of the game.

Babar wasn’t the only player to reach three figures in Multan, with West Indies opener Shai Hope scoring his 12th ODI century with a stylish 127 that helped the Caribbean side post a highly competitive score of 305/8. While Hope’s innings was unlikely to receive the same amount of plaudits as Babar’s, it was a knock of similar class and really laid the platform for West Indies’ big total. Hope smashed 15 fours and one massive six during his 134-delivery stay, with his 154-run stand with No.3 Shamarh Brooks a particular highlight. It looked like Pakistan’s run chase was going to prove futile when Babar and Mohammad Rizwan were dismissed in quick succession, but finisher Khushdil Shah had other ideas.

The left-hander smashed four sixes and scored an unbeaten 41 during the closing stages of the chase to ensure Pakistan drew first blood in the three-match series. It was only Khushdil’s fifth ODI, but he is making a name for himself as a reliable closer after he performed a similar role with aplomb against Australia in March.