Saeed Anwar hits a shot during his world record innings of 194
It was a Sunny evening on the 21st May 1997 and everyone was sitting in front of their television as it was the sixth match of the Pepsi Independence Cup. This match was special in more ways than one. Firstly it was an India-Pakistan clash, secondly it was a decider match for both the teams as they had to advance to the finals of the tournament. Saeed Anwar is easily one of the most memorable cricket legends of all time and on that evening he made the impossible possible. He was a left handed opening batsman of the Pakistani cricket team and was renowned in the world for his consistency and his favorite flick shot.
The excitement started with Pakistan batting first and one of the best opening pairs in the world, Shahid Afridi and Saeed Anwar were at the crease. Anwar was not in very good form in that series and he struggled to score runs against Sri Lanka and New Zealand. Though India removed the dangerous Shahid Afridi (5) in just the 2nd over but Saeed Anwar stood tall in his approach and continued scoring runs and that too at a brisk rate. India managed to get a second wicket off Pakistan at the score of 97 but Anwar was just ‘unshakeable’ and kept scoring runs all over the ground. He managed to complete his century very quickly and became the first Pakistani cricketer to score a century against India on Indian soil.
Although the Indian team managed to get wickets at regular intervals they had no answer to Anwar’s big hitting. Saeed Anwar crossed his career best score of 131 which he scored against the West Indies in Sharjah in 1993 and reached his 150 in less than 100 balls. At that moment it was looking as if he was going to break all the records in that match and headed towards breaking one more record. Saeed Anwar broke the World record of highest individual score in ODI’s. He broke Sir Vivian Richard’s 189 and looked good for even a double century as Pakistan had more than 5 over’s in their hand when he reached 194. But then he played a loose shot bowled by Indian Captain Sachin Tendulkar and was caught by Abey Kuruvilla, and with that wicket the historical innings of a cricket maestro came to an end. However no one can still forget such a wonderful innings. Saeed Anwar scored 194 runs from 146 balls at a strike rate of 133. He hit twenty two 4’s and five 6’s in his majestic innings. Interestingly it was Sachin Tendulkar himself that broke his record 12 years later when he scored 200 not out against Sri Lanka at Gwalior.