When Saeed Anwar fought heat and cramps to record 194

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20 May 2020 | 09:05 PM
authorAshish Pant

When Saeed Anwar fought heat and cramps to record 194

On this day in 1997, Pakistan opener Saeed Anwar achieved the then highest individual score by a batsman in the 50-over-format slamming 194 against India in Chennai

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A batsman scoring anywhere close to a double century in a One-Day International is still considered an incredible feat and back in the 1990s, the possibility of such an event occurring was deemed implausible.

On this day, in 1997, Pakistan opener Saeed Anwar came close but fell for 194 in an ODI against India, in Chennai. He did, however, manage to achieve the then highest individual score by a batsman in the 50-over-format, breaking Sir Viv Richards's 13-year-old record of 189 that he scored against England in 1984.

THE BACKDROP

India, Pakistan, New Zealand and Sri Lanka took part in a four-nation Independence Cup with all matches being held in India. The arch-rivals, India and Pakistan met in the sixth match of the tournament with both teams having won one and lost one match each.

Pakistan had lost the first game of the series in Mohali to New Zealand by 22 runs but bounced back strongly in Gwalior to get the better of Sri Lanka by 30 runs. India, on the other hand, defeated New Zealand convincingly but lost to the Lankans in Mumbai. 

THE KNOCK

Ramiz Raja won the all-important toss and had no hesitation in batting first on what was expected to be a batting-friendly surface at the Chepauk Stadium. His decision was vindicated and rather convincingly by Anwar. Pakistan lost Shahid Afridi early but Anwar, who had more often than not proved to be a thorn in India's flesh resumed normal services. 

The left-hander was in his elements on the day as he creamed every Indian bowler he came across. Reputation meant nothing to him as he slammed boundaries aplenty on a sultry afternoon in Chennai. He cut, he drove, and he pulled as he sent the Indian bowlers into a tizzy with some exceptional stroke-play. 

Anwar started off in top gear smashing Venkatesh Prasad nonchalantly over midwicket for a six and never really put his foot off the pedal. He reached his half-century before the 15th over but soon started to feel the Chennai heat and suffered from cramps. Afridi was called upon as his runner as early as the 19th over and remained there till the end. 

While the injury did hamper his movement, there was no stopping Anwar as far as the audaciousness of his strokes were concerned. The effortless drives and pulls were all on display as the Indian captain Sachin Tendulkar slowly began running out of options. 

Anwar lost his captain with the score on 97 but found an able ally in Ijaz Ahmed. The duo put on a 116-run stand for the third wicket with Anwar easily being the dominant partner. The left-hander reached his century - 12th in ODIs and first against India - off just 82 balls and with more than 23 overs left in the innings had the liberty to go all guns blazing.

Anwar did that and much more. While the others around him struggled to get their timing right, the southpaw made sure Pakistan's run rate remained close to six runs an over almost through the course of the innings. That he was going for a double-century was made clear when Anwar carted Anil Kumble for three successive sixes and a four in the 41st over the innings that also got him past the 150-run mark. 

It did not take him long to glide through the 160s and 170s and with a superbly-timed sweep behind square off Tendulkar, Anwar thundered past Richards' 13-year-old record to break the record for the highest individual score in an ODI. 

Anwar carted Tendulkar for four more over point two balls later and it seemed a double ton was there for the taking for the Pakistan opener.  However, just the next ball, going for another boundary Anwar top-edged Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly running behind from short fine leg completed a wonderful catch. 

Anwar walked back to a standing ovation from the Chennai crowd finishing with 194 off 146 deliveries which included 22 fours and five sixes. 

THE MATCH

Pakistan plundered their way to a massive 327/5 in their 50 overs. India though made a fight of the chase with Rahul Dravid slamming 106 backed up Vinod Kambli's 65 but soon ran out of steam to be bowled out for 292 in 49.2 overs. With the win, Pakistan made their way into the final of the four-nation series. 

WHAT FOLLOWED

Anwar's record was equaled by Zimbabwe's Charles Coventry 12 years later against Bangladesh, in Bulawayo. However, it was Tendulkar who eventually broke the record when he smashed the first-ever double ton in ODIs against South Africa in 2010, in Gwalior.

Since then the 200-run mark has been breached seven times by Virender Sehwag, Rohit Sharma (3), Chris Gayle, Martin Guptill and Fakhar Zaman. Rohit currently holds the record for the highest individual score in ODIs - 264 against Sri Lanka in 2014.

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Saeed AnwarSachin Ramesh TendulkarIndiaPakistan

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