Cricket is a game of uncertainties, in which a team sees a number of ups and down. The player who emerges for the team when the chips are down is the one who is remembered for long. Carrying the bat is defined as an opener batting through the innings to remain as the not out batsman with the team all out. This tests the true character of a player.
Standing in the middle of the wicket and having the belief that you can bat through the innings requires a strong mind set. Apart from this it also requires a very seasoned temperament to slog it out when you see wickets falling at the other end. We at The SportsRush bring for you a collection of batsmen who carried their bat when their team was in a difficult situation.
In the first one day international between India and New Zealand TWM Lotham displayed exceptional skills with the bat. He showed how to bat on a seaming Ramshackle track and looked solid when others were falling like a pack of cards. He played through the innings scoring vital 79 runs to take New Zealand to a respectable score of 190. This knock saw him respecting the good deliveries. The intent to bat long was clearly visible in his approach towards the game.
He struggled initially against some swinging deliveries from Hardik Pandya and Umesh Yadav but he adjusted pretty quickly. Though the Indians did not give many scoring opportunities, he capitalised on whatever was on offer. If he would have got any support at the other end then the scoreboard might have looked completely different. Twm Lotham is the latest addition to the players who have carried their bat through the innings.
4th One day international between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at Colombo on 16th July 2012 also saw an epic inning by Azhar Ali. In spite of his brilliant effort Pakistan landed up on the losing side. Batting first Sri Lanka scored 243 runs on a track having some purchase for spin.
Azhar held his ground on one end trying to salvage Pakistan from a difficult situation due to poor shot selection from his fellow teammates. Despite his heroic innings Pakistan could only manage a modest 199, losing by 44 runs. Chasing a target of 244, Pakistan were in control at 169/3 before panic struck. They lost their next five wickets for 7 runs with Thisara Perera taking three of those wickets. Pakistan were bowled out for 199 with opener Azhar Ali remaining unbeaten on 81 not out off 126 balls with 4 fours and one six.Azhar throughout his innings took calculated risks to up the ante against a balanced Sri Lankan bowling line up. He particularly played well against N Kulasekara who was moving the ball both ways.
Every opener aims to bat through the innings to give the team the best chance of a win. Sometimes, the opener has to bat till the end as wickets keep falling at regular intervals. Damien Martyn did something similar as he scored 116 not out off 135 balls with 13 fours and one six in a team’s total of 191. The next highest score was Adam Gilchrist’s 22. However the efforts did not pay dividends as Australia ended up on the loosing side. New Zealand chased down the target comfortably with 7 wickets to spare. Stephen Fleming was instrumental in this win for New Zealand as he scored an unbeaten 60.
England opener Nick Knight anchored the innings with a knock of 125 not out in a team’s total of 246. Knight took 145 balls with 9 fours for his knock. Pakistan romped home with 2 wickets to spare as Saeed Anwar and Ijaz Ahmed struck crucial fifties.
Despite cracking 103 not out, Saeed Anwar failed to take Pakistan across the line as Zimbabwe forced a tie, taking the last wicket of Wasim Akram with the scores level. Pakistan was given a target of 220 and they were cruising at 172/4 before Zimbabwe bowled out the opposition for 219 with Anwar stranded at 103 not out. Even though Anwar earned a spot in the list of players who carried their bat through the innings, he could not ensure Pakistan’s win.