By William Hill
Last Updated: 20th April 2021
115, 80, 112.
These are the last three scores of Pakistan top-order batsman Babar Azam heading into the ICC World Cup and you’ll do well to find anyone heading into the tournament in similar levels of run-scoring form.
Yet, Babar is outside the top 10 in the top tournament batsman market, priced up at odds of 22/1 to score more 2019 World Cup runs than anyone else.
Babar in England
Pakistan may have been beaten 4-0 in the recent one-day series, but for both their batsmen and bowlers, it was a chance to familiarise themselves with English conditions to a level that other World Cup-competing nations won’t have the chance to.
What’s more, Babar ended the five-match series having scored 277 runs – the joint most throughout the series with England’s Jason Roy. This suggests that the 24-year-old is perfectly at home batting on English pitches.
Since the England series, the Lahore native has followed up with another century against Afghanistan and batting at number three, he certainly heads into the World Cup as Pakistan’s most in-form and dangerous batsman.
One-day batting average
He also arrives at the World Cup with the second-highest one-day batting average among competing players.
Babar has batted 62 one-day innings for Pakistan, averaging 51.68. This is behind only Virat Kohli with an average of 59.58.
This is backed up by the Indian captain being the 7/1 favourite in the World Cup top tournament runscorer betting.
However, Kohli’s 22 previous innings in England and Wales have brought more ducks than centuries. He has twice been sent back to the pavilion having failed to trouble the scorers, with his top score of 107 coming back in Cardiff in 2011.
To add further context, Kohli has registered a greater score in every other country in which he has played one day cricket, suggesting he may find runs tricky to come by at the World Cup.