Record Book – Batsmen who have scored a century in their hundredth ODI

  A hundredth international match – be it in any format – is a significant milestone in every cricketer’s career. Just as a century of runs in an innings is a matter of pride, reaching a century of matches is something which every player aspires to achieve when he sets out to respresent his country at the highest level.  

  While many batsmen have reached the coveted threshold of hundred matches, very few have been fortunate to have scored a century in this landmark match. In Test cricket, there have been eight such instances by seven players – Ricky Ponting remarkably scored two hundreds in his 100th Test against South Africa at Sydney in 2005-06.  

  ODI cricket too has its fair share of batsmen scoring a century in their hundredth match, and it is these few instances that we shall revisit in this post. A select group of seven cricketers have achieved this feat till date.

Gordon Greenidge (West Indies) v Pakistan, Sharjah, 1987-88

  The hard-hitting Greenidge became the first batsman to record a hundred in his hundredth ODI, but his effort went in vain as Pakistan comfortably won this Champions Trophy match by 84 runs.    

  Pakistan rode on half centuries from their top three batsmen – Javed Miandad’s 79 being the highest – to reach a formidable 294/6 in their 50 overs. In reply, Wasim Akram took three quick wickets to leave the West Indians reeling at 24/3.    

  Greenidge, opening the batting, dropped anchor but the damage had been done. He fought valiantly, putting on 50 with Gus Logie for the fourth wicket, 72 with Jeff Dujon for the fifth wicket and an unbeaten 64 with Roger Harper for the sixth.      

  But he too failed to keep up with the run rate and lacking adequate support, had to be content with remaining unbeaten on 102 off 154 balls – his tenth ODI century – with only five fours as his team crawled to 210/5 at the end of the innings.     

  In 1989-90, Greenidge became the first – and remains the only – batsman to score hundreds in both his hundredth ODI as well as Test match when he made 149 in the first innings against England at St. John’s.    

Chris Cairns (New Zealand) v India, Christchurch, 1998-99      

  The second instance occurred more than a decade later and it resulted in a crucial series-levelling triumph for New Zealand. Coming into this final ODI of the five-match series, India were holding a 2-1 lead.            

  The Kiwis got off to a scratchy start after being asked to bat, before the middle order solidified the innings. Cairns, who was at that point one of the world’s best all-rounders, walked out at 101/3 in the 25th over.

zzcairns          Chris Cairns acknowledges the crowd after reaching his hundred against India at Christchurch in 1998-99 (source – angelfire.com)  

  He went on to cream a game-changing and career-best 115 from just 80 balls, dominating stands of 69 for the fourth wicket with Roger Twose (63) and 85 for the fifth wicket with Dion Nash. He reached his century – his second in ODIs – in 75 balls and hit seven fours and as many sixes.         

  By the time he was dismissed by Anil Kumble in the penultimate over, the hosts were in a comanding position and eventually ended with 300/8. Despite half-centuries from Sourav Ganguly and Mohammed Azharuddin, India folded for 230 with the last eight wickets falling for 84.           

  Cairns’ innings was not a chanceless one though. When he was on 51, the Indians were convinced that he was caught behind but the appeal was turned down. When on 76, he was dropped on the mid-wicket boundary.      

Yousuf Youhana (Pakistan) v Sri Lanka, Sharjah, 2001-02         

  Youhana, now known as Mohammed Yousuf, celebrated his hundredth ODI with a fine knock which helped Pakistan rack up a big total in the final of the Sharjah Cup tri-series, which also included New Zealand.         

  Youhana came out to bat after the Lankan quicks had reduced Pakistan to 33/2. Imran Nazir’s rapid 63 provided an impetus to Pakistan but at 136/4 in the 25th over, the game was in the balance. Younis Khan joined Youhana in the middle at this juncture.      

  The two Ys proceeded to put the Sri Lankan bowlers to the sword as they strung together a 155-run partnership for the fifth wicket. Youhana was the more assertive of the two as he unleashed his vast repertoire of strokes.      

  Both the batsmen were dismissed in the final over. While Younis scored 66, Youhana returned with a then career-best 129 from 131 balls with eight fours and three sixes. This was his fifth ODI hundred. Pakistan were thus powered to 295/6.     

  Sri Lanka raced to 52/1 in the tenth over, but the ever-threatening pace trio of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar engineered a sensational collapse of 9/26 as Sri Lanka were shot out for 78 in the 17th over. Youhana capped a perfect day with the man of the match honour.     

Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka) v Australia, Colombo, 2003-04        

  Australia were leading the five-match series 2-1 and this fourth ODI at the Premadasa Stadium was thus a must-win for Sri Lanka. A tight bowling display led by spinners Muttiah Muralitharan and Upul Chandana ensured that Australia were bowled out for 233 in the 48th over after electing to bat.        

  The hosts lost the explosive Sanath Jayasuriya for a duck in the second over, thus bringing Sangakkara early into the middle. While the Australian attack made short work of the rest of the batsmen, Sangakkara seemed to be batting on a different planet altogether.       

  He shared in an 80-run partnership for the second wicket with his captain Marvan Atapattu (who contributed only 19) and then a further 63 with Mahela Jayawardene for the third wicket. At 143/2 in the 32nd over, the game was Sri Lanka’s to lose.       

  Sangakkara was already on 96 when Jayawardene fell and duly reached his third ODI hundred in the next over with a brace off Michael Kasprowicz (5/45). However just four balls later in the same over, he flashed at a wide one only to be pouched by Adam Gilchrist.     

  Sangakkara’s fluent 101 came off 110 balls and contained 15 boundaries. His one-man show however was futile – his dismissal triggered a lamentable collapse as the Sri Lankan batting imploded to 193 all out with 38 balls still unused, handing Australia the series.

Chris Gayle (West Indies) v England, Lord’s, 2004

zzgaylke        Chris Gayle cracked an unbeaten 132 in his hundredth ODI to inspire the West Indies to victory at Lord’s in 2004 (source – richard washbrooke/afp/fox.sports.au)           

  The winners of this penultimate league match of the Natwest Series were to meet New Zealand in the final at the same venue. The game was a high-scoring affair highlighted by as many as three hundreds.        

  After being put in to bat, England plodded around and slipped to 54/3 in the 19th over. This brought together Andrew Strauss and Andrew Flintoff and the two went on to create an England record partnership of 226 for the fourth wicket. Flintoff pounded seven sixes in a buccaneering assault.        

  It took Chris Gayle’s off-breaks in the last over to break the stand as the tall Jamaican accounted for both Strauss (100 off 116 balls) and Flintoff (123 off 104). England’s final total of 285/7 was in stark contrast to their start. Gayle had warmed up in his hundredth ODI with 3/57, but the main course was yet to come.        

  England got rid of Devon Smith early, but that was as good as it got. Gayle was in great touch and he found a willing partner in Ramnaresh Sarwan. Together they added 187 for the second wicket at nearly six runs an over to deflate the home bowlers before Sarwan perished for 89 off 78 balls. Gayle was however determined to see his side through.      

  When captain Brian Lara was out, 68 runs were needed off 52 balls. With the support of Ricardo Powell, Gayle ensured that the Windies got over the line by seven wickets and five balls to spare. He remained unbeaten on 132 – the highest score in this list – from 165 balls with 12 fours and a six. This was his ninth ODI ton.         

Marcus Trescothick (England) v Bangladesh, The Oval, 2005         

  Within a year, another southpaw opener became the sixth batsman to score a century in his hundredth ODI, in this case a round hundred. This was the opening match of the 2005 Natwest Series which also involved Australia.         

  England inserted Bangladesh in and the innings went on expected lines. Aftab Ahmed (51) was the only batsman to cross 30 as his side struggled to build vital partnerships. The innings terminated at a below-par 190 in the 46th over and it would have been worse as the score was 76/6 at one point.        

  The in-form Marcus Trescothick came out all guns blazing in reply as the Bangladeshi bowlers were reduced to cannon fodder. The Somerset batsman and his fellow opener Andrew Strauss (82*) mopped off the target all by themselves, reaching 192/0 in a mere 24.5 overs.

zztres        Marcus Trescothick scored his ninth ODI hundred in his hundredth match against Bangladesh in 2005 (source – bleacherreport.com)            

  Trescothick scored an unbeaten 100, coming off 76 balls. This was then the second-fastest ODI hundred by an English batsman and was his ninth hundred, going past Graham Gooch’s England record of eight. England’s ten-wicket win was only their second in ODIs.         

Ramnaresh Sarwan (West Indies) v India, Basseterre, 2006            

  The stylish Sarwan is became the latest entrant into this noteworthy list nine years back. His century helped the West Indies win this exciting third ODI of a five-match series which was locked at 1-1.          

  After India elected to bat, Virender Sehwag (97) and Mohammed Kaif (61) looked set to propel India to a substantial total as their 112-run stand for the third wicket took the score to 174/2 in the 29th over. However seven wickets were lost for just 68 and the total was restricted to 245/9.        

  The West Indies had an uncertain start as they fell to 31/2 in the tenth over, at which point Sarwan walked out to bat. He combined with Chris Gayle to add a rapid 85 runs for the third wicket. Gayle and Brian Lara fell in quick succession but Sarwan remained steadfast.        

  Sarwan snatched back the initiative as he shared in a match-winning partnership with his Guyanese teammate Shivnarine Chanderpaul. The two put on 106 in less than 21 overs to keep the chase on track. Chanderpaul (58) and Dwayne Bravo were dismissed in successive overs – the latter in the final over from which six runs were needed.      

  With two needed from as many balls, Sarwan crunched a fuller one from S. Sreesanth through the covers to the boundary, thus sealing a nail-biting win in the first international to be played in St. Kitts. He ended with a valiant unbeaten 115 from 119 balls with ten fours and two sixes.

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Who Would Have Thought It – Last wicket exploits floor Western Province twice over

  One of the most intriguing matches in South Africa’s first-class cricket history was played across two calendar years in the 1925-26 Currie Cup. Orange Free State hosted Western Province in the sixth match of the season from December 31, 1925 to January 2, 1926 at the Ramblers Cricket Club Ground in Bloemfontein.  

  This was the second match of the season for both the teams. In their respective opening matches, which ended just two days earlier, Orange Free State had gone down narrowly by 27 runs at home to Griqualand West while Western Province were handed an innings-and-74-runs defeat by defending champions Transvaal at Johannesburg.  

  Wicketkeeper-batsman Thomas Holmes, captain of Orange Free State, elected to bat after winning the toss. Very soon, openers Mick Commaille – who played 12 Tests for South Africa – and Augustus Hewitt-Fox were dismissed by fast bowler Victor Veal with just nine runs on the board.

  Colin Marran and Leopold Cusworth combined for a third-wicket stand worth 54 to attempt a revival, but timely inroads by the Western Province bowlers meant that the score was soon reduced to 139/7.   The Reid brothers William (37) and Alfred put on 46 for the eighth wicket but both were out to Veal (4/68) within three runs of each other.

  The score now read 189/9 as last man Lancelot Fuller, who was hardly known for his batting skills, joined Lindsay Richard ‘Len’ Tuckett in the middle. Tuckett, who formerly played for Natal, had featured in one Test – which happened to be his only one – back in 1913-14 against England at Johannesburg, scoring 0 and 0* and bowling 20 overs without a wicket.  

  Fuller surprisingly launched into the bowling attack and Tuckett provided solid support at the other end. It all began to come apart for the Western Province bowlers after a hitherto polished effort. Taken aback by Fuller, the last wicket proved to be elusive.

  23-year-old Fuller looked set for a memorable hundred until debutant Theodore de Klerk trapped him leg-before for 84, much to his teammates’ relief. This was his first and only half-century in first-class cricket.  

  Tuckett struck an assured unbeaten 30 and the partnership fetched a bountiful 115 runs. The final total swelled to 303 at a healthy rate of 3.75 runs per over. 32 extras – 24 of them through byes and leg-byes – helped the home team’s cause.  

  The Western Province innings too began poorly, with openers Pieter van der Bijl (father of Vintcent, who is widely regarded as the finest bowler never to have played a Test) and Francis Godfrey dismissed early to make the score 10/2.

  All-rounder Denjis Morkel, who was to play 16 Tests in the near future, was the only batsman from the top order to show resistance. But Alfred Reid scalped him for 43 and just before stumps, Tuckett trapped Nicholas Blanckenburg in front with his fast-medium pace to leave the visitors struggling at 89/5 at the end of the first day.  

  As day two comenced, Tuckett continued from where he left and sent back Stephen Steyn and Veal in the same over to dent the innings further. Western Province were now tottering at 91/7 and staring at a huge deficit. However de Klerk, who had come out to bat late on the first day at number seven, went on to enjoy a fine debut innings which rescued his team.

  De Klerk found a willing ally in Ian Goulden (60) and the duo put together a vital 135 for the eighth wicket. De Klerk was out hit wicket for 79 – which remained his highest first-class score – and his effort enabled Western Province to reach 259. Tuckett was the pick of the bowlers with 4/99.

zfgj       Lindsay ‘Len’ Tuckett had the unique distinction of being a part of century partnerships for the tenth wicket in both innings of a first-class match (source – remembered.co.za)  

  The lead for Orange Free State was 44, which could have been less or more depending upon which of two rearguard efforts are taken into consideration. In the second innings, Commaille and Hewitt-Fox provided a sound start, putting on 38 before the former was dismissed.

  Hewitt-Fox (60) was in good touch and along with Marran he guided his side to 81/1 and a clear position of strength. However the match took another turn as the visiting bowlers scythed through the middle order with a powerful collective display.  

  Morkel, Veal and Goulden (3/58) all captured two wickets each to rattle the middle order as Orange Free State crashed to 108/7, which further became 121/9. Eight wickets had fallen for the addition of just 40 runs, and the lead was now only 165 with the final wicket standing.

  First-innings hero Fuller was promoted to number ten but he perished for a duck, bowled by Goulden. Tuckett was still there in the middle, but surely it was only a matter of time before the last wicket fell?  

  Frustratingly for Western Province, it was not to be. Tuckett had a different partner this time in the form of debutant Frank Caulfield. The most crucial rescue act of the game ensued, as the two milked the bowlers on their way to an astonishing partnership worth 129 runs. Orange Free State ended the second day at 212/9, ahead by 256. 

  Captain William Stephen broke the stand in the first session of the final day by having Tuckett LBW for 70 while Caulfield remained unbeaten on a heroic 56. The tenth-wicket stand fetched more than half of the eventual team total of 250. 

  This was the first and remains the only instance of a team recording century stands for the last wicket in both the innings of a first-class match. Across both innings, the tenth-wicket realised as much as 44.12 % of the total runs scored. The deflated visitors now ended up facing a target of 295.

  A pepped-up Caulfield struck early to remove Godfrey and van der Bijl and reduce the score to 34/2. Morkel (39) tried to defy the bowling but Caulfield (3/63) got the better of him as well. A lack of substantial partnerships hurt the chase and besides Archibald Palm, who scored a gritty 75, none of the batsmen stayed long enough to provide hopes for a win.

  Western Province were eventually bowled out for 248 and were left to rue at what might have been. Orange Free State’s last-wicket stand had twice managed to stem a crisis situation and ultimately overturned it into a 46-run victory.

  However, this was to be their only win of the season as they lost three of the next four games to finish sixth out of seven teams with six points. Western Province finished fifth with two wins and ten points.  

  Tuckett (1885-1963) played for Orange Free State till 1929-30 before calling a day on his two-decade-long first-class career at the age of 44. His son, also named Lindsay, played nine Tests for South Africa and is currently the oldest living Test cricketer at 96 years and 164 days. Joseph Cox, brother-in-law to the senior Tuckett, played three Tests in 1913-14.  

  Fuller too played first-class cricket till 1929-30 before dying at the young age of 44 in 1946. Caulfield, in spite of his match-winning debut, played only two more first-class matches and his career did not extend into the next season. He too died at a young age of 42 in 1936.

Match Scorecard – http://cricketarchive.com/Archive/Scorecards/11/11751.html

Specials – Best of the ODIs : India v Zimbabwe

  With the three-match ODI series between hosts Zimbabwe and India getting underway today, let us go back in time to relive the most memorable ODI matches between the two nations.

  Since their first meeting in the 1983 World Cup, the two teams have met each other in 57 ODIs, with India winning 45 times to Zimbabwe’s ten. Two matches have ended in a tie. 19 matches have been played in India, 17 in Zimbabwe and 21 at neutral venues. Here are the five best matches in chronological order:

Tunbridge Wells, 1983

  Zimbabwe had proved to be a tough cookie in their maiden World Cup, having defeated Australia in their very first match. India had beaten them in the first round of the group stage, but this time there was the added pressure of a must-win game in order to remain in contention for the semifinals.

  In the only international ever played at the picturesque Nevill Ground, Indian captain Kapil Dev elected to bat after winning the toss. The start for his team could not have been more disastrous as Peter Rawson removed Sunil Gavaskar off the second ball.

  Things went from bad to worse as Rawson and fellow paceman Kevin Curran swung the ball around and made a mockery of India’s top order, reducing the score to a miserable 9/4 and then further to 17/5.

  Kapil, who came out at number six, was joined by Roger Binny and the two put on 50 for the sixth wicket. However Binny and Ravi Shastri fell in quick succession as the score slid to 78/7.

  Madan Lal shared a 62-run stand with Kapil for the eighth wicket as the Indian captain kept going in a free-flowing manner, as if batting on a different planet altogether. Syed Kirmani came in at number ten and what followed was one of the most sensational periods of ODI batting.

  Kapil unleashed himself on the Zimbabwean bowlers, completely dominating an unbeaten 126-run ninth-wicket partnership – a record which stood for 27 years. It was a one-man show in the truest sense as Kirmani contributed only 24.

  Kapil finished with a rampaging 175* from 138 balls with 16 fours and sixes, helping his team to 266/8 in 60 overs. It was then the highest individual score in a World Cup. Rawson and Curran took three wickets apiece. 

zzkappa     Kapil Dev en route to his majestic, match-winning innings of 175* which rescued India against Zimbabwe in the 1983 World Cup (source – gettyimages/sify.com)

  Zimbabwean openers Robin Brown and Grant Paterson gave their team a good start by posting 44, but a combination of accurate bowling and quality fielding from the Indians ensured that the score slipped to 103/5. Curran (73) walked in at this stage and threatened to take the game away from India.

  But the tail failed to support him and India tightened the screws. Kapil fittingly caught John Traicos off his own bowling to end Zimbabwe’s innings at 235 with three overs to spare. All the bowlers chipped in, with Madan (3/42) being the best of the lot.

  Thanks to his stunning knock, Kapil had kept India alive and they would eventually go on to win the World Cup. Unfortunately there is no video footage of this extraordinary day as the BBC were on strike.

Indore, 1993-94

  This thriller was part of the five-nation Hero Cup tournament played in Calcutta. Zimbabwe’s dynamic wicketkeeper-captain Andy Flower elected to field and David Brain provided an early breakthrough by removing Woorkeri Raman for nought.

  Manoj Prabhakar and Vinod Kambli (55) then got together and put on 122 for the second wicket. Off-spinner Stephen Peall (3/54) evened things out with two wickets in as many balls, but Prabhakar (91) and captain Mohammed Azharuddin (54*) added a further 69 for the fourth wicket. Late hitting from Azharuddin and Sachin Tendulkar carried the total to 248/5.

  The Indian pacemen tested the Zimbabwean top order as three wickets went down with 67 on the board. Captain Flower, who opened the innings, found support from Andy Waller and the duo stitched a 64-run partnership for the fourth wicket.

  Tendulkar accounted for Waller while Rajesh Chauhan captured the key wicket of Flower (56) who was stumped courtesy his off-spin. At 143/5, the contest was even and a close finish was expected. Guy Whittall and Ali Omarshah tilted the scales in Zimbabwe’s favour with an aggressive stand worth 64 for the sixth wicket, but Whittall’s run-out triggered a collapse of 3 for 5.

  The tail hit around with intent and when Peall was ninth out to Javagal Srinath (3/44), 12 runs were still required. It all came down to the last over where ten runs were needed. Streak and John Rennie managed eight from the first five balls.

  Streak scampered for a leg bye to level the scores off the final ball, but was run out going for the second run. The match was tied and points were shared. India went on to win the tournament, defeating the West Indies in the final.

Paarl, 1996-97

  The Indore result was repeated three years later in another multi-nation tournament, this time being a tri-series also involving hosts South Africa. Zimbabwean captain Alastair Campbell decided to bat but soon found his team on the back foot at 51/3.

  Coming in at number five, Campbell (61) shared a partnership of 94 runs with Paul Strang (47). However India kept the runs in check with timely wickets before Craig Evans added meat to the total with 40 off 32 balls. Zimbabwe finished at 236/8.

  Chicken farmer Eddo Brandes (5/41) gave his side a bright start with the ball as he sent back Sachin Tendulkar, Javagal Srinath and Mohammed Azharuddin to reduce India to 40/3. Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid attempted a revival but the asking rate was creeping up by the over.

zzbrangh

       Fast bowler Eddo Brandes took 5/41 and ensured that Zimbabwe force a tie against India at Paarl in 1996-97 (source – icc-cricket.com)

  At 110/5, Ajay Jadeja and Saba Karim came together and put on 56 before both were out within ten runs of each other. Robin Singh was however looking in good touch and he batted sensibly with the tail to give India a chance. Zimbabwe were favourites when India needed 25 in ten balls with two wickets left, but Singh’s aggression kept his side in the hunt.

  It all came down to the last ball from which India needed two runs to win with a wicket in hand. Brandes was the bowler and he bowled it wide down the leg side. The batsmen started off for a bye, but Brandes ran out Singh (48 off 32 balls) at the non-striker’s end after the wicketkeeper missed the stumps at his end.

  Amid the drama, Zimbabwe reckoned they had pulled off the win and started to celebrate, but the umpire had signalled the wide. The match was thus tied as India were bowled out with a ball to spare.

Leicester, 1999

  India had opened their World Cup campaign on a disappointing note with a defeat to South Africa. Four days later they faced Zimbabwe, who were coming off a win against Kenya. India’s star batsman Sachin Tendulkar missed this match as he had to rush to India to attend his father’s funeral.

  After being put in by Mohammed Azharuddin, Zimbabwe lost Neil Johnson early to Javagal Srinath. India kept a lid on the scoring as Zimbabwe fell to 87/3 in the 22nd over. The Flower brothers Grant and Andy broke the shackles by adding 57 for the fourth wicket in ten overs.

  Grant fell to Ajay Jadeja for 45 but Andy went on, putting on a further 60 for the fifth wicket with skipper Alastair Campbell. He remained unbeaten on 68, guiding Zimbabwe to 252/9. The total included a whopping 51 extras including as many as 21 wides.

  India’s slow over-rate meant that they were docked four overs. Thus their target was now was 253 in 46 overs. The innings began with a healthy run rate but the Zimbabwean bowlers, led by Heath Streak (3/36) kept themselves in the hunt by picking regular wickets.

  Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid as well as Azharuddin were all back in the hut by the tenth over with 56 runs on the board. Sadagopan Ramesh (55) and Jadeja (43) steadied the ship with a composed fourth-wicket stand worth 99. However within the next six overs, India lost 3 for 20 to slip to 175/6. The equation at this stage was 78 runs from 76 balls.

  Robin Singh and Nayan Mongia rapidly added 44 for the seventh wicket before the former departed for 28 to Guy Whittall. 34 runs were now needed off five overs with three wickets standing. Srinath tonked a 12-ball 18 to put India ahead. With two overs to go, India were only nine runs away from victory. Henry Olonga was entrusted to bowl the penultimate over.

zzolop      Henry Olonga picked up three wickets in one over to give Zimbabwe a thrilling three-run win over India in the 1999 World Cup (source – gettyimages/icc-cricket.com)

  Two runs were scored from the first ball. Off the second ball, Olonga dismissed Singh for 35, caught at cover by Campbell. Three runs were scored off the third and fourth deliveries and India now needed four runs off eight balls.  Would the match go into the last over?

  Olonga (3/22) ensured it did not, as he castled Srinath and then had Venkatesh Prasad LBW the very next ball. India were bowled out for 249 and lost by three runs with a full over remaining. This defeat cost India as they crashed out after the super six round on account of not carrying forward any points from the group stage.

Faridabad, 2001-02

  Douglas Marillier’s famous ‘Marillier Scoop’ sealed an unbelievable win for Zimbabwe in this first ODI of a five-match series in India. After Sourav Ganguly won the toss, India were served by fluent half centuries from Laxman (75) and the captain himself (57). The two put on 77 for the second wicket.

  Zimbabwe pegged things back well as they limited the score to 211/6 in the 44th over, but Mohammed Kaif (39*) and Ajit Agarkar (40* off just 19 balls) blitzed an unbeaten stand of 63 from 38 balls to propel the total to 274/6.

  In reply, Zimbabwe were in trouble at 21/2 in the fifth over with Zaheer Khan (4/47) crashing through the defences of Craig Wishart and Travis Friend. Veterans Alastair Campbell and Andy Flower stepped up to the task, sharing a stand of 111 for the third wicket before Flower fell for an attacking 71.

  Zimbabwe were in the hunt at 186/3 but then they lost 5 for 24, including Campbell for 84, in less than eight overs to crash to 210/8. Enter Marillier, who immediately began to take charge. He repeatedly stepped across and dispatched the ball over the keeper’s head.

  With 49 to win off 24 balls, Marillier collected 21 in an over from Zaheer, who had figures of 4/14 in eight overs till that point. The ninth wicket went with Zimbabwe still needing 23 to win off 14. But it was not a problem for Marillier, who took 13 more off Zaheer’s final over.

  Ten were needed from the last over, to be bowled by Anil Kumble. Marillier began with a four to reach his fifty in only 21 balls before taking a single. Gary Brent smartly took another single off the third ball.

  A dot ball followed, narrowing down the equation to four off two. Then the fifth ball (a no-ball) was top-edged over the keeper’s head for four to bring up an incredible one-wicket win. Marillier walked off the field unbeaten on 56 off 24 balls, laced with ten fours and a six. 

Watch Marillier pull off a coup at Faridabad – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWEBJqFGqOU

In Focus – 14 players to watch out for in the World T20 Qualifier

  The ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier gets underway on 9th July and will feature 14 Associate nations competing across eight venues in Ireland and Scotland. The teams will vie for the six available spots in the first round of the purported ’16-team tournament’ in India next year.

  Group A consists of Ireland, Nepal, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea, Namibia, United States and Jersey. Afghanistan, Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, Scotland, Kenya, Canada and Oman make up Group B.

  A total of 51 matches will be played, culminating in the final at Malahide on 26th July. The two group toppers will go through directly while the teams placed second to fourth in the respective groups will undergo playoffs to decide the remaining four places. 

  Of course, the claim of the 2016 event being a 16-team tournament is plain hogwash. Just as in 2014, the tournament proper will consist of only ten teams and thus an Associate nation may or may not make the grade.

  That the Netherlands actually finished ninth last time around will count for nothing as the Oranje will have to go through the grind of qualification all over again. By contrast, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, who finished in the tenth and thirteenth positions respectively, have got an automatic bye into the first round by virtue of their full-member status. How is that for ‘meritocracy’?

  Rantings aside, the eighteen-day long tournament can be expected to provide plenty of entertainment and fans of Associate cricket will no doubt be hooked to follow the fortunes of their favourite teams.

  The shortest format of the game throws up the likeliest opportunities for players from lesser-known cricketing nations to display their wares and a host of exciting players will be in action. We look at 14 such players  – one from each team – who will be worth keeping an eye on.

zbalbp

     Andrew Balbirnie’s stock has risen of late and the World T20 qualifier at home provides him a great chance to showcase his skills (source – gettyimages/cricbuzz.com)

Shapoor Zadran (Afghanistan)

  The long-haired Zadran can be a real treat to watch when in full flow. With a potent ability to generate pace and bounce, this aggressive left-arm seamer is a vital part of the Afghan bowling attack, which is arguably the most potent in the tournament. Batsmen will have to think out of the box in creating scoring chances off him.

  He tends to wear his heart on his sleeve and his emotional celebration after Afghanistan’s famous win against Scotland was arguably the defining image of the 2015 World Cup. In the 2012 World T20 he had given India a scare with a productive spell which showed that he clearly loves the big stage.

Cecil Pervez (Canada)

  The Pakistan-born Pervez has proved to be an effective fast bowler for Canada in recent times. His team has been on the downward slide but his efforts – nine wickets at 8.67 – in the ICC Americas T20 in May might have given hope to the Canadians of competing in seamer-friendly conditions. He will be expected to play a major role in the absence of talented off-spinner Nikhil Dutta who is plying his trade in the CPL.

Tanwir Afzal (Hong Kong)

  Afzal will not only be captaining Hong Kong but will also be spearheading their bowling attack. The right-arm paceman has the tendency of picking up early wickets while also maintaining a plug on the run-flow.

  He recently proved his worth with a dazzling spell of 5/17 in a 50-over game against Namibia, which saw the African side crash to 30/8. Besides, he is quite handy with the bat. If Hong Kong are to repeat their performance of 2013, a lot will depend on Afzal’s form.

Andrew Balbirnie (Ireland)

  The 24-year-old Balbirnie has been touted to be Ireland’s future batting star and he has backed those expectations by establishing himself in the middle-order. He can be both technically sound as well as highly innovative which is an ideal mix for T20 batting.

  His excellent fielding and tricky off-spin only adds to the package which underlines his value to the defending champions. A 96-ball 129 against a strong New Zealand A side followed by a breezy 97 against Zimbabwe in the World Cup showed that he is maturing at the right time. With the home crowd on his side, ‘Balbo’ should be looking to make an impact.

Jonty Jenner (Jersey)

  Hosts Jersey edged past established sides such as Denmark and Italy to win the ICC Europe T20 in May and thus book a berth in the qualifier. A pivotal part in this success was played by Jenner, a 17-year-old who also doubles up as a wicketkeeper.

  He was the leading run-scorer for his team with a tally of 160 at an excellent strike rate of 177.78 which included a destructive, six-laden 81 off 34 balls in the opening game against Norway. Most will expect Jersey to make up the numbers but if this hard-hitting teenager gets going, things might get interesting.

James Ngoche (Kenya)

  Off-spinner Ngoche topped the bowling charts in the ICC Africa T20 Championship with a haul of 11 wickets at 7.36. His bowling style is suited to the shortest format – he has an economy rate of 6.24 in T20 cricket – and Kenya will be hoping that he comes good. The erstwhile kings of Associate cricket need something special to revive their fortunes and a substantial showing from Ngoche might just be the key.

Louis Klazinga (Namibia)

  Klazinga has been one of the most consistent performers on the Associate circuit for quite some time now and the qualifier presents the seasoned fast bowler another opportunity to inspire Namibia into a world event. Boasting of a T20 average of less than 20, his experience and versatility should assume a lot of importance in conditions starkly different from what the Namibians usually play in.

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     19-year-old Sompal Kami is one of the exciting young bowling talents in the Nepalese squad (source – icc-cricket.com)

Sompal Kami (Nepal)

  Nepal finished as high as third in the previous qualifier in 2013 and went on to make an impact in the first round by defeating Hong Kong and Afghanistan. Their passionate fans will no doubt be hoping for a similar result and a lot will ride on how the team’s diverse bowling unit performs.

  The most exciting of the lot is 19-year-old Sompal Kami, who will look to utilise the conditions to the fullest. He is capable of generating enough speed to unsettle the best of batsmen and a few early strikes from him will hold Nepal in good stead.

Ahsan Malik (Netherlands)

  The Dutch have grown to become a bellicose T20 unit and quite a bit of credit needs to go to Malik’s medium-fast bowling. Whether opening the bowling or coming in the middle overs, Malik has smartly displayed the knack of collecting wickets at key moments.

  He was a leading performer in the 2014 World T20 where he finished as the joint-highest wicket-taker with 12 scalps including 5/19 against South Africa. In the just-concluded four-match series against Nepal he took 11 wickets averaging seven and it will be a surprise if he does not carry this form into the qualifier.

Aamir Kaleem (Oman)

  Kaleem’s left-arm spin befuddled many a batsman during Oman’s victorious ACC T20 Cup campaign in January. The Karachi-born cricketer can be an asset as shown by his ten wickets at 10.4 and an economy rate of 5.42. He is also a handy batsman. If Oman are to compete against stronger teams, Kaleem may prove to be their trump card.

Lega Siaka (Papua New Guinea)

  22-year-old Siaka’s aggressive stroke-playing is tailor-made for the T20 format and he can be expected to launch opening onslaughts and lay the platform for the batsmen to follow. He inspired PNG to a win in their very first ODI series with a typically attacking 109 against Hong Kong last November.

  Siaka had announced himself earlier in 2014 with centuries against Kenya and Namibia that helped his team secure ODI status. The Barramundis failed to progress last time and the presence of Siaka will undoubtedly boost their chances of doing better.

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       Papua New Guinea’s dashing opener Lega Siaka will be looking to provide his team with a few blazing starts (source – icc-cricket.com)

Michael Leask (Scotland)

  Co-hosts Scotland will be looking to extract the most out of Leask – the hardest hitter of the ball in the team – to ensure their passage. Leask has the ability to make a huge impact with the bat in a short period and it is bursts such as these which often decide a T20 match.

  Last year he smashed five sixes en route a 16-ball 42 in an ODI against England, clearing the ground with ease. Besides, his off-spin can be used as a surprise weapon. Home territory provides him the perfect opportunity to achieve the dual goal of enhancing his reputation and securing his team’s progress.

Shaiman Anwar (United Arab Emirates)

  By far the best batsman in the UAE squad, Anwar had an excellent 2015 World Cup where he logged 311 runs at 51.83 including a hundred against Ireland and fifties against Zimbabwe and Pakistan.

  The Sialkot-born shipping employee will be a source of inspiration for his teammates, especially since the long-serving Khurram Khan has now retired. He possesses a varied range of shots and is able to adjust according to the situation. A lot will depend upon him if the UAE are to progress for the second consecutive time.

Fahad Babar (United States)

  USA may have lost the Americas T20 final to Canada, but opener Babar was the standout batsman of the tournament. He totalled 242 runs at an average of 121 with a best of 78* that guided an edgy chase against Bermuda. The loss of Steven Taylor to the CPL is significant and Babar will be expected to play the role of the batting pivot for his team.

Record Book – Ireland’s first ODI victory

  In spite of their consistent exploits on the world stage, the Irish cricket team continues to get a raw deal from shortsighted administrators who fail to see beyond their own interests.

  Ireland may have been included in the ICC ODI table, but so far the move has proved to be an eyewash as there are simply no regular fixtures to allow them the scope of rising up the ladder.

  In the limited opportunities that they have received, the world’s leading Associate nation has time and again proved they are as good as most Test nations when it comes to ODI cricket.

  Their rise in recent years has been remarkable, especially when one considers the fact that it was only in 1993 that the national team – a combination of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland – was inducted as a member of the ICC.

  The turning point came in 2005 when Ireland finished second behind Scotland in the ICC Trophy on home soil, thus securing ODI status for the first time. They also qualified for the 2007 World Cup where they announced their arrival as a team to reckon with. In the summer of 2006, they played their first ODI, against England at Belfast. Led by Trent Johnston, the hosts impressed in defeat as they went down by 38 runs.

  Ireland’s next ODI fixtures were two months later in the 2006 European Cricket Championship Division One played in Scotland. This was the sixth time that they were participating in the biennial tournament, but the first time as an official ODI nation.

  They had won the inaugural edition in Denmark in 1996. The 2006 edition’s Division One consisted of five teams of which three – Scotland, Ireland and Netherlands – had ODI status. Ireland began their campaign with a 99-run win over Denmark at Glasgow before travelling to Ayr the next day, 5th August, to face traditional rivals Scotland.

  In the ICC Trophy final a year ago, the Scots had defeated the Irish by 47 runs and thus there was a healthy tussle between the two nations for the title of the best European Associate side. Scotland were the more experienced outfit and started as favourites for this clash, having given Pakistan a scare earlier in the season in their first ODI since 1999.

zzeio     Eoin Morgan scored 99 on debut to help Ireland build a defendable total against Scotland (source – pa photos/espncricinfo.com)

  Both the sides were at full strength, the teams resembling almost the same as those they would field in the World Cup eight months later. However a notable absentee from the Irish eleven was star batsman Ed Joyce, who had been picked to play for England in Ireland’s inaugural ODI.

  Joyce would go on to represent England in the 2007 World Cup. The evergreen Johnston captained Ireland while his opposite number was ODI debutant Craig Wright. Among the Scottish ranks was Dougie Brown, who was playing for his country of birth in an ODI for the first time, eight years after last turning out for England.

  Scotland won the toss and elected to field. Brown marked his ODI return with an early scalp as he trapped Jeremy Bray leg before. Bray’s fellow opener William Porterfield, on ODI debut, too did not last long as he edged one off Paul Hoffman to the wicketkeeper Craig Smith.

  The score was a worrying 19/2 when when Niall O’Brien, also on debut, came out to join Eoin Morgan, Ireland’s third debutant, in the middle. The two repaired the innings with a third-wicket partnership of 80 before O’Brien was dismissed by Wright for a vital 32.

  Medium pacer Wright (3/32) bowled excellently in the middle overs as he soon followed O’Brien’s wicket with those of Andre Botha and Peter Gillespie in the space of three balls. Ireland slid back to 118/5, but the impressive Morgan held one end with maturity. However, slow left-armer Ross Lyons dismissed Johnston and Andrew White cheaply to reduce the score to 164/7.

  All-rounder Kyle McCallan joined Morgan at the fall of the seventh wicket and the duo forged a game-changing alliance. McCallan’s counterattack was the perfect foil for Morgan’s flair as they put on a rapid 73 runs to swing the momentum towards their team.

  Morgan looked well set for a debut hundred, but he was most unfortunate in getting run out for 99 in the final over when he failed to make his ground at the keeper’s end following a throw from Neil McCallum.

  The Middlesex left-hander – who to Ireland’s frustration, was destined to play for England within the next three years – became the first and remains the only man to be dismissed one short of a century on ODI debut. He blurt out a few profanities due to his disappointment, for which he was later reprimanded by the match referee.

  Morgan batted for more than three hours facing 134 balls and hit seven fours and a six in his innings, while McCallan remained unbeaten on a breezy 46 from 35 balls with five fours and a six to give much-needed impetus to the total, which was eventually boosted up to 240/8 in 50 overs.

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   Dave Langford-Smith gave an early setback to the Scottish chase by taking the first three wickets (source – reuters/eurosport.com)

  In reply, Sydney-born pace bowler Dave Langford-Smith came up with a first-rate spell to put the Scots on the back foot. With the score on 20, he removed Neil McRae courtesy a catch from Trent Johnston.

  Opener Navdeep Poonia, who was looking in good nick, was the next to perish as Langford-Smith disturbed his woodwork to make it 49/2. Three runs later, Johnston took another catch to get rid of Ryan Watson – scorer of 94 runs in the ICC Trophy final – and thus give Langford-Smith (3/32) his third victim.

  From thereon, Scotland were always playing catch-up as no two batsmen were able to stitch a decent partnership. Brown had a scratchy stay before John Mooney’s medium pace induced an edge from him to O’Brien behind the wicket. At the other end, Botha struck McCallum on the pads to reduce the score to 84/5.

  It was to become worse as McCallan (2/37) turned the screws with a double-strike within the space of three runs. The off-spinner first bowled Omer Hussain and later had Smith stumped to leave the hosts tottering at 91/7 with only the tail-enders remaining.

  Hoffman, who came in at 119/8, launched a last-gasp onslaught as he cracked 31 off 14 balls including four sixes – the innings’ top score. White (2/31) captured the final two wickets, those of Wright and Hoffman (both caught by Bray), with his off-spin to condemn Scotland to 155 all out in 41.3 overs. 

  Morgan was named man of the match for his innings that guided the Irish to an ultimately defendable total. This convincing 85-run win against the tournament favourites set Ireland on the right track to win the title.

  Their next ODI against Netherlands was rained off after being in a strong position, before which they had romped to an easy win over Denmark. By virtue of three wins and a no-result, Ireland won the tournament after ten years.

  This win no doubt served as a morale booster in the lead-up to the 2007 World Cup where wins over Pakistan and Bangladesh resulted in a massive change in Ireland’s cricketing landscape.

  Eight years later, the admirable levels of professionalism are there to see as the boys in green recently enjoyed their most productive World Cup campaign in the Antipodes, where they won three out of six matches and agonisingly fell short of a quarterfinal berth.

Match Scorecard – http://www.espncricinfo.com/scotland/engine/match/253010.html

Famous Test Matches – England v Australia, Lord’s, 1888

  Prior to this match, Australia had lost seven successive times to England. The streak began with the deciding fifth Test of the 1884-85 Ashes, followed by three matches in 1886, two in 1886-87 and one in 1887-88.

  Moreover, Australia had not yet won an Ashes Test in England; their only win in the mother country was the 1882 epic at the Oval which gave birth to the legend of the little urn.

  The Australians of 1888 were a strong unit. Captained by Percy ‘Greatheart’ McDonnell, who had four years back reeled off hundreds in successive Ashes Tests, the team boasted of, among others, that fine wicketkeeper Jack Blackham, the seasoned New South Welshman Alec Bannerman and a pair of dynamic bowlers in Charlie Turner, who bowled right-arm fast and John Ferris, who was a left-armer known for his swing.

  Yet England, despite the absence of stalwarts Arthur Shrewsbury and George Ullyett, were strongly considered as clear favourites given their recent record and also because man-to-man, they possessed a much superior outfit.

  Leading the home side was Lancashire great Allan Steel, who had cracked 148 in his maiden Test appearance at Lord’s in 1884. The batting line-up featuring W.G Grace, Bobby Abel (who made his Test debut) and Walter Read was as good as any, while the bowling was even stronger, with the pace of George Lohmann combining with the slow bowling of Johnny Briggs and Bobby Peel.

  Australia came into the first Test on the back of seven wins in their previous eight tour matches. This match, scheduled from 16th to 18th July, 1888, was their third Test appearance at Lord’s. They had suffered innings defeats in both of their the previous two Tests at the Mecca, in 1884 and 1886.

  The weather during the build-up to the Test had been overwhelmingly wet, and this worked in the favour of Turner and Ferris, who were at the forefront of their team’s impressive streak in the tour games.

  A muddy wicket greeted the teams on the first day and it was not until 3 p.m that the first ball was bowled. Keeping in mind the treacheries of the pitch and the fact that it would steadily become worse, the toss assumed massive importance. Fortune favoured the visitors as McDonnell called correctly. 

zcharly       Australia’s Charlie ‘Terror’ Turner took ten wickets in the opening Test of the 1888 Ashes at Lord’s (source – news.com.au)

  Lohmann immediately got the ball rolling by removing Bannerman for no score courtesy a catch from Grace. Debutant number three Harry Trott soon also fell for a duck to Peel to make it 3/2. McDonnell showed admirable application in making 22 before being caught by Irishman Tim O’Brien off Peel.

  Blackham (22) and Sammy Woods, another debutant, got together at 32/4 and shared a partnership of 33. The next five wickets fell for only 17 runs as Peel (4/36) and Briggs (3/26) cut through the middle and lower order. The score had slipped to 82/9 when Ferris came out to join Jack Edwards, Australia’s third debutant.

The last pair hit out and put on an invaluable 34 runs, which turned out to be the highest stand of the match. Edwards remained unbeaten on 21 as Australia were dismissed for 116 in 71.2 four-ball overs, which could be said to be above par on the deteriorating track.

  As the day grew longer, England lost three wickets – those of Abel (bowled by Ferris) , Billy Barnes and Lohmann (both falling to Turner) – to finish at 18/3. 13 wickets had fallen for 134 runs on the opening day.

  Early on the second day, Blackham stumped Read off Turner while Grace, who was unbeaten on 10 overnight, failed to add to his score and was caught by Woods off Ferris to make the score 22/5. Turner captured two more scalps, first castling O’Brien and then having Steel stumped to complete his five-wicket haul.

  England were in complete dissaray at 26/7, still 11 runs short of avoiding the follow-on. Briggs, who came in at 35/8, ensured that the ignominy was averted by sharing a stand of 14 with Peel for the ninth wicket before the latter was run out.

  Four runs later, Briggs was bowled by Woods for 17 – the highest score of the innings – as England folded for just 53 in 50 overs. Turner bowled incisively to return 5/27 off 25 four-ball overs while Ferris provided adequate support with 3/19. Australia’s cushion of 63 was worth its weight in gold.

The wicket was virtually hell for the batsmen by now as the visitors began their second innings. England’s improved bowling and groundwork made it all the more tougher. Lohmann bowled McDonnell and Trott while Peel did the same to Bannerman.

  George Bonnor and Woods too succumbed to the guile of Peel, who no doubt relished bowling on such surfaces. Blackham got run out and Edwards was stumped by Mordecai Sherwin off Lohmann as the score was reduced to a woeful 18/7.

  Ferris, batting at number nine, put his hand up again as he scored an unbeaten 20 to spruce up the final total to a luxurious 60 in 29.2 overs. He shared a partnership worth 24 with his bowling partner Turner, who scored 12 from number six.

  Peel was the pick of the bowlers with 4/14, thus giving himself 8/50 in the match. Lohmann too took four wickets, giving away 33 runs. England were thus faced with a highly challenging target of 124, required to be chased amid the worst batting conditions of the match.

  The openers Grace and Abel provided a sound start by mopping 29 runs off the target. Grace in particular was batting very sensibly and for a moment it seemed that England were up to the task. But Ferris provided the opening by removing Abel, who was caught by Bonnor. 

zmagfer         John James Ferris turned in an all-round performance for Australia, taking 8/45 and scoring vital runs in both innings (source – magnoliabox.com)

  Five runs later, Grace too perished to Ferris, caught by Bannerman for a defiant 24 – the highest score of the match. England had lost their backbone. ‘Terror’ Turner then took over and proceeded to snuff out any faint hopes that the hosts might have had of challenging the Australians.

  He crashed through the defences of Peel, Read and O’Brien within the space of six runs to leave England reeling at 44/5. Steel and Billy Gunn took the score to 55 before Ferris sent back he latter. A run later, Turner accounted for Briggs to make it 56/7. Steel tried to thwart the bowling but he quickly ran out of partners.

It was not long before the tail caved in. With the score on 57, Ferris got rid off Barnes and Lohmann, both stumped by the brilliant Blackham, to complete his bag of five wickets. Five runs later, it was all over as Turner took his fifth wicket, that of of Sherwin who was fittingly caught by Ferris.

  England were shot out for 62 in 47 overs, achieving exactly half of their target. Steel was left stranded, unbeaten on 10. Turner took 5/36 to return an outstanding 10/63 in the match. Ferris claimed 5/26 and his match figures read 8/45. The match ended at 4.25 p.m and did not even last for two full days in entirety.

  On the second day, 157 runs were scored for the loss of an incredible 27 wickets – which till date remains the record for the most number of wickets fallen in a single day’s play of Test cricket. This was Australia’s first win at Lord’s, a ground which they would grow to love in the future – they did not lose a Test here between 1934 and 2009. 

  A total of 291 runs were scored for the loss of 40 wickets in the match which was a new record for the lowest aggregate in a completed Test, obliterating the 363/40 in the aforementioned Oval Test of 1882. The record stood till 1931-32, when the Melbourne Test between Australia and South Africa produced 234 runs for 29 wickets.

  It was a significant victory for Australia, as their previous Ashes successes at home had come against English sides weaker than those they faced in England. The urn could not be wrested however, as England bounced back with two resounding wins – by an innings and 137 runs at the Oval and by an innings and seven runs Old Trafford. Australia were bowled out for 80 and 100 in the second Test and 81 and 70 in the third.

  Peel was the star for the hosts, finishing the series with 24 wickets at an average of 7.54. Turner, who would go on to become one of the greatest bowlers in the history of the game, was not too far behind either as he collected 21 wickets at 12.42.

  Amazingly, not a single batsman reached a hundred runs in the entire series, further underlining the degree of wetness experienced throughout the summer. In 1891-92, Australia won the Ashes for the first time while they had to wait till 1899 to win their first series in England.

Match Scorecard