Today: first in a series: the five fastest ODI hundreds in the knockout stages of a tournament.
This is my effort to use stats to find those batsmen that perform best on cricket’s biggest stages, that have that certain bit of chutzpah that few cricketers have.
The ability to hit in the clutch, in other words.
Now, mind you, I don’t think this is a definitive list, nor do I think this the best stat to use, but it is one gauge, I think.
Plus it is something fun to write about, which is why we all do this in the first place.
Oh, and by “quick”, I mean number of balls faced. And by “tournament”, I mean every tournament, as long as the majority of the teams involved were nations of test status.
Our first stop: The Final of the Pepsi Champions Trophy on November the 5th, 1993, at the Sharjah National Stadium, in the United Arab Emirates.
The tournament itself was a tri-nation series involving Pakistan, the West Indies, and Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka had lost all four of its matches, while the West Indies and Pakistan had each won three and lost one, and so they met in the final.
The West Indies won the toss and elected to field.
Pakistan were slow out of the blocks. They lost their first three batsmen, having only scored 56 runs off of 127 deliveries.
The fifth batsmen was Basit Ali.
Only 23 years old at the time, playing in only his 11th One Day International.
His highest score to date was 60 against the West Indies at Kingstown the previous spring.
A flashy batsmen, a risk taker, he was already a favorite among the Pakistani faithful.
That day in Sharjah, he scorched the West Indian attack for 127* off of a lightning fast 79 balls.
12 fours, five sixes. A strike rate of 160.75.
His display gave Pakistan a reasonable total of 284 for the West Indies to chase.
Which they did, successfully, with 27 balls to spare, thanks to Brian Lara’s 153.
But without Basit Ali standing up and taking charge when Pakistan needed him, the Final would have been over before the lunch break.
Good on you, Basit Ali. You made the list.
And for that, I won’t even talk about the match fixing allegations that ruined your career.