Asian countries have been the stalwarts of World Cricket. The fight among the Asian Cricketing giants is scheduled to start in next couple of days with Bangladesh taking on Sri Lanka in the inaugural match at the United Arab Emirates. This time the teams are split into 2 groups. India, Pakistan and Hong Kong are put into Group A while Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan are put into Group B. The subcontinental tracks have facilitated the batters and there have been a lot of high scores in the past. In this piece, we will take a look at the top 5 individual batting performances in Asia Cup.
#5 Sourav Ganguly’s 135 vs Bangladesh, Asia Cup 2000
In response to Bangladesh’s score of 249/6, India, led by the openers Ganguly and Tendulkar started off well. With Tendulkar failing to convert the good start to a big score, Ganguly carried all the burden upon his shoulders and bashed the then weak bowling attack of Bangladesh. His innings of 135 which came off just 124 balls, including 6 fours and 7 sixes. As a result, India chased down the target in 41 overs. Dada was adjudged as the Man of the Match.
#4 Virat Kohli’s 136 vs Bangladesh, Asia Cup 2014
Bangladesh set a target of 280 to India thanks to the skipper Mushfiqur’s knock of 117. But that proved to be insufficient for the Bangladeshi bowlers as Kohli produced a blinder of innings, partnering with Rahane after the two openers fell in quick succession. Kohli brought up his 19th century which included 16 fours and 2 sixes and helped India seal another high run chase. Kohli’s contribution in winning causes had earned him the tag as the biggest player of the generation.
#3 Shoaib Malik’s 143 against India, Asia Cup 2004
Shoaib Malik’s performance against India has been overpowering with an average of just under 50. This time also he didn’t let down his batting average as he smashed his career-best 143 off 127 balls. Shoaib was on the crease for almost 45 overs and got decent support from the rest of the middle order, thus, ensuring the runs came at a brisk pace. His innings propelled Pakistan to set a daunting target of 301 as Pakistan handed India a thumping 59 run defeat.
#2 Younis Khan’s 144 vs Hong Kong, Asia Cup 2004
Pakistan on winning the toss, elected to bat first without hesitation. Shoaib Malik and Younis Khan were into the business. Shoaib Malik was having the run of his life and Younis Khan, on the other hand, was going through a rough patch and had not scored a fifty in a year. His initial innings which comprised mostly of glides and paddle sweeps put the bowlers off track and slowly Younis gained confidence batting along with Malik who was in supreme form. Younis’s innings of 144 off 122 balls and Malik’s innings of 118 off 110 balls helped Pakistan post a huge total of 343 and Hong Kong batters did not bother Pakistan bowlers much and were bundled out by 165 runs.
#1 Virat Kohli’s 183 against Pakistan, Asia Cup 2012
Hafeez and Jamshed with a 224 run opening stand helped Pakistan reach 329 and ensured that there won’t be much pressure on Pakistan bowlers going ahead but Virat had other plans. After the first wicket falling off quickly, the two masters Tendulkar and Kohli were on the crease. Kohli was in the zone and hit his career-best 183 off 148 balls with the help of 22 fours and one six. Kohli got good support from Tendulkar and Rohit Sharma and India looked well on course and eventually chased the target of 330 with 2 overs to spare. Critics had started touting Kohli as the master of the run chase. So impactful was his innings that Pakistan skipper Misbah cited the innings as one of the best innings in one day cricket he has ever seen.Published 14 Sep 2018, 11:51 IST