“As of now, Zaman has established himself at the top and pressure of being consistent will be on him”
Old records were shattered while new were scripted on Friday at Bulawayo. Pakistani opener Fakhar Zaman scripted history by becoming the first cricketer from his country to belt 200 runs in ODI cricket. On a whole, he is now the sixth international cricketer to have achieved the milestone.
Zaman accounted for a record 304 runs stand with Imam-ul-Haq in the fourth ODI against Zimbabwe at Bulawayo. With the help of 24 boundaries and five sixes, the southpaw smashed an unbeaten 210 runs off 156 deliveries as Pakistan recorded 399 for 1, which is also their highest score in ODI cricket. The record 304 runs stand at the top is also a world record for the opening wicket.
— Waqar Younis (@waqyounis99) July 20, 2018
Zaman has been an integral part of the Pakistani side and did well to see his name being mentioned with the legends. Although the pitch was flat and had nothing for the bowlers, but scoring a double ton demands a different set of skills. He is now the highest run-scorer in an innings for Pakistan in ODIs as his 210 not out shattered the previous best of 194 by Saeed Anwar against India in 1997.
@FakharZamanLive What a superb achievement brother.
— Brendon McCullum (@Bazmccullum) July 20, 2018
Since his inception into the Pakistani side, Zaman has been a prolific run-scorer at the top. His inclusion in the ICC Champions Trophy last year worked wonders for Pakistan. In fact, he was one of the key reasons behind Pakistan’s revival in the tournament. He also scored a scintillating ton in the final against India to steer his side to command.
In 17 innings so far, Zaman has garnered 980 runs. He has a golden opportunity to become the fastest player to 1000 runs if he manages to get the required runs in the next three games, which he should.
Talking about experience, every other player with a double century under his belt had played over 100 ODIs by the time they achieved the record. Zaman, on the other hand, did the same in just 17 games, which also makes him the least experienced player to score a double hundred.
Brilliant performance Fakhar Zaman! You're turning into a world-class opener. Richly deserved, champion in the making. #ZIMVPAK
— Shahid Afridi (@SAfridiOfficial) July 20, 2018
Zaman made a mockery of Zimbabwe’s bowling and went all guns blazing on a batting friendly wicket. He scored his ton off 92 deliveries after which, he shifted gears and went berserk. There was an opportunity to be grabbed and Zaman ensured he grabbed it with both the hands. Cricketing greats around the globe praised Zaman on achieving the landmark. Despite the bowling attack being a little weak, Zaman didn’t throw it away after a brisk fifty or a hundred. He sensed an opportunity to go big and scripted history.
Pakistan won the game by 244 runs and Zaman was awarded man of the match award for his Herculean performance. Zaman spoke how coach Mickey Arthur pushed him before the start of the match to go out and score a double century. “Mickey told me before the toss that if we win the toss we will bat first and ‘I want you to score a double hundred’. So I applied myself today and scored one”, Zaman was quoted in a report from ESPNCricinfo.
Well done to Fakhar Zaman to become the first Pakistani to score a Double 💯 in ODI. #gun #210
Also to our little dynamo @AasifAli2018 for his first 50! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
— Dean Jones (@ProfDeano) July 20, 2018
Pakistan’s batting coach Grant Flower said, “Some coaches like giving their players totals to go for and targets, some people play better under those pressures and some people feel the pressure more than others. It just depends on your players”.
Zaman banks on his magnificent hand-eye coordination. His game is not much complicated and likes to take on the bowling attack from the outset. An aggressive batting approach like that only puts the bowling attack under the pump with the new ball and with the field restrictions being on, it only aids Zaman’s game.
Pakistan have had a mixed run in ODIs in the recent times. They whitewashed Sri Lanka after which, New Zealand gave them the taste of their own medicine. The upcoming World Cup is just a few months away and all the teams are gearing up for the high-voltage tournament. Pakistan have a solid bowling attack, their players are peaking and establishing themselves at the right time. As of now, Zaman has established himself at the top and pressure of being consistent will be on him.