May 21, 1997 just isn’t a date Indian cricket followers would bear in mind fondly. Against their arch rivals Pakistan, India have been blown away by a batsman with a reasonably sturdy record in opposition to them. At the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, Saeed Anwar not solely took the Indian bowlers on however smashed his method into the record books, hitting the then-highest particular person rating of 194 in ODIs, eclipsing the 189 Viv Richards had scored 13 years in the past.
Anwar’s record stood for over a decade, together with Zimbabwe’s Charles Coventry who remained unbeaten on an an identical rating in 2009. The following yr, by the way it was none apart from Sachin Tendulkar – the captain of India on that fateful day – who introduced up ODI cricket’s first-ever double hundred. However, even in the present day, 27 years eliminated, when an ODI double is not an oddity, Anwar’s hammering of India’s bowlers stays a particular knock.
Opinions stay divided over his knock. 118 of his 194 runs got here with Shahid Afridi working as his runner, permitting Anwar to pay attention extra on his boundary hitting abilities. It was the 18th over of the innings, when Afridi, earlier out caught to a splendid catch by Sourav Ganguly, raced out when Anwar complained of muscle cramps. Yet, on an especially scorching Chennai afternoon, Anwar set on to supply a knock extremely demoralising for the opposition.
Anwar fancied batting in opposition to the Indian bowling. He averaged 43.52 in opposition to them and 47.28 in wins. The sixth match of the Pepsi Independence Cup was to show why. Despite critics questioning the choice to have a runner, Anwar’s potential to carve out boundaries – he hit 22 fours and 5 sixes – was nothing ever seen earlier than. Three of these sixes have been on the trot – within the 41st over of the innings, off the bowling of Anil Kumble. The over learn: 2, 2, 6, 6, 6, 4.
It was within the 26th over that Anwar reached his 100, India’s poor fielding and unusual aiding him. As an unimaginable 200 in ODI loomed, Anwar, who was cramping up fairly unhealthy in direction of the tip of the innings, high edged a sweep off Tendulkar, and was held properly by Ganguly at high-quality leg. He was dismissed with three overs to go. Had it not been for the cramps, Anwar might have carved the pores and skin off Indian bowlers, which is unfair to say he didn’t already, having taking the rating to 327/5.
Anwar’s damaging 194 shadows over Aqib Javed’s 5-wicket-haul and Rahul Dravid’s maiden ODI hundred, which was largely influential behind India ending on 292.