posted on 2019-05-15 12:48:56
posted by Sritama Panda
Image Source: PA
In the year 2012, a 16-year-old burst into the scene while representing Pakistan’s U-19 team in the Asia Cup. And today, the nephew of Pakistan Cricket Board’s chief selector, Inzamam-ul-Haq, stands tall amongst his contemporaries with a maturity and understanding of the game par excellence. When he does not hold back, he’s a fine stroke-player and as a fielder, he’s very animated on the field.
His career-best innings of 151 at Bristol on Tuesday is but an example of his brilliance. By that, he also became the youngest player(23) to score more than 150 runs in ODI Cricket. Imam entered the record books by overhauling Kapil Dev's 36-year-old record as the former Indian captain had scored 175 runs against Zimbabwe, at the age of 24, in the year 1983.
Standing at the crease in Bristol, donning spectacles like Sehwag from his senior days, or a life-long Daniel Vettori, Imam-ul-Haq was seen setting his eyes only for the ball that was often sent to touch the boundary by him.
The left-handed batsman full took advantage of the batting pitch, the small boundaries and a quick outfield to amass 151 off 131 balls, that included 16 fours and a six, which is the highest ODI score by a Pakistani batsman against England, and fifth highest overall amongst his country’s players. Hence, Pakistan were able to set a huge target of 359 for England.
As for the 23-year-old Imam-ul-Haq, it was his sixth ODI hundred in 27 matches and his average just jumped up to 60 after yesterday’s innings. He might not be a power striker like his contemporaries who are just looking for runs, even from the wrong places. He brings quaint energy to the side while batting with glasses on. For a team like Pakistan that is so unpredictable, Imam stands out as a consistent. In fact, amongst his six ODI tons only two have slightly crossed the margin of the run-a-ball strike rate, including yesterday’s innings.
However, despite Imam’s heroics England were able to chase down the target of 360 runs at ease and only lost four wickets in that process. The game was over in 45 overs and the hosts have now taken a 2-0 lead in the five-match ODI series. It is England´s second-highest successful run chase ODIs.
England's star opening pair Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow gave England an effective and consolidating start with their 159-run stand for the first wicket. Ginger ninja Jonny Bairstow smashed 128 off 93 balls, extending his recent IPL exploits into the International scenes.