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Cricket World Rewind: #OnThisDay - Aamer Sohail & Inzamam-ul-Haq run riot with 263-run stand against Kiwis

Pakistan's batsman Inzamam Ul Haq
©Reuters
 

April 20, 1994 -  After Saeed Anwar's quick-fire start, the young Inzamam-ul-Haq came to the crease and for the next 179 minutes, gave a fine specimen of his lazy elegance. The 137* remains Inzmam's highest score in one-day cricket even after 378 ODI appearances.

 

Six teams were part of 1994's AustralAsia Cup. The tournament was supposed to be the clash between the teams of the Northern and Southern Hemisphere. While India, Pakistan and United Arab Emirates were part of Group A i.e Northern Hemisphere, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Australia occupied Group B.

 

In the first semi-final of the tournament, India had registered an unlikely win by beating Australia comprehensively as they chased down 245 in the 46th over. The next day, New Zealand and Pakistan were up against each other to qualify for the final.

 

After New Zealand skipper Gavin Larsen won the toss, he invited Pakistan to bat first. On a flat pitch at Sharjah, it was opener Saeed Anwar who set the tone for the side. Anwar spent only half an hour at the crease but his 37 runs came off just 23 deliveries at a strike rate of 160, including 6 fours and 1 six. New Zealand bowlers dishing out freebies on the pads helped his cause further.

 

This eased Pakistan's early nerves. The message was clear to the dressing room: the pitch is playing no tricks, the ball is coming on the bat nicely, go for it. After Anwar's dismissal, the young Inzamam-ul-Haq came at the crease and for the next 179 minutes, gave a fine specimen of his lazy elegance.

 

 

Aamer Sohail and Inzamam-ul-Haq took a particular liking to off-spinner Shane Thompson and skipper Gavin Larsen. Thompson struggled to find his length and was dispatched to all parts of the park. Larsen also ended up conceding 71 from his 10 overs.

 

The two added 263 for the second wicket, at the time a record one-day-international partnership for any wicket. The partnership took the score to 320/2 as Inzamam remained not out and scored 137 in 129 balls whereas Aamer Sohail got out scoring 134 runs in 146 balls. The 137* remains Inzmam's highest score in one-day cricket even after 378 ODI appearances for Pakistan.

 

 Their partnership was the highest stand for any wicket in One-Day internationals beating the previous record of unbroken 224 runs between Dean Jones and Allan Border against Sri Lanka in 1984. The 263-run stand was broken in the final over of the innings when Sohail was dismissed by Chris Pringle.

 

It was when Pakistan openers Fakhar Zaman and Imam ul-Haq wreaked havoc in the 4th ODI against Zimbabwe in 2018 to blast their way to world-beating 304-run partnership, that the record for Pakistan’s highest-ever ODI partnership was broken. Zaman and Haq also broke the record for the highest opening partnership in ODIs but it only lasted for a year.

 

The stand between Inzmam and Amer remains the 4th highest partnership for the second wicket in ODI cricket even 26 years after it was created. Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels top the list with a 372-run partnership, followed by Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid's 331. Dravid makes an appearance in the list again, just above the Pakistan duo with a 318-run partnership with Sourav Ganguly.

 

Aamer Sohail fired again in the final of the Austral-Asia Cup with a valuable 69 as the Men in Green beat India by 39 runs to win the title.

 

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