On This Day: October 2, 1997 - Ijaz Ahmed smashes 139* off 84 balls in an ODI chase against India

Gotham Cronie

Test Debutant
Jun 15, 2006
16 years ago on this date, Ijaz 'Axeman' Ahmed put together one of the finest innings in ODI history.

With the ODI series level 1-1, Pakistan and India moved to Lahore for the decider. Skipper Saeed Anwar won the toss and elected to bowl, disregarding having to chase a total under lights.

The bowlers did their part, bowling the Indian batting lineup for 216 in 49.2 overs. Azhar Mahmood was the pick of the group, finishing with figures of 3/34 from 9 overs.

What followed was a true delight to see.

Out came Ijaz Ahmed and Shahid Afridi to face their arch-rivals and to chase a target under lights in the series decider. To add just a bit more pressure, one over was docked from Pakistan's innings due to slow-over rate.

What followed was an all-out massacre. In a time before the style of Twenty20 cricket, the openers blazed away to 80 in eight overs. Shahid Afridi was dismissed at that point, but not before he had smashed 47 runs off 23 balls.

His partner, Ijaz Ahmed, was in the midst of what Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar would end up calling one greatest one-day innings ever. The 'Axeman' finished on 139* off of 84 balls. He had 10 fours to go along with 9 sixes. The final six of which, won Pakistan the match with over 23 overs to spare. Batsman Mohammad Wasim had come in at #3 and scored 27 off 52 balls but Pakistan still managed to score 219 in 26.2 overs.

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Just goes to show that Indian trundlers had no answer to Ijaz's brilliance, and those who call Pakistan batting poor, should look at this innings and eat their words.
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I remember watching that game :)

It was those days for Ijaz , nothing went wrong , everything was coming on , as if in a fairy tale.
There is a comedy piece somewhere on the net of the great stage artist Amanat Chan describing Ijaz's batting style. Classic!
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I went to this game live! Was like throwing live animals into the blades of a helicopter! Pure butchery at its best! The Indian attack was poor but even so they got mamed that day!
Right up there as one of my favourite one day innings of all time. Brutal Stuff.
I went to this game live! Was like throwing live animals into the blades of a helicopter! Pure butchery at its best! The Indian attack was poor but even so they got mamed that day!

i was in Pakistan too during summer / autumn of 1997 following completion of my degree and saw the game. remember it vividly, one of my all time fav innings for sheer brutality
Pakistanis are best when they play aggressive cricket (be bowling or batting). But what our top order does is play 30 dots and then get out. Everything falls to Misbah who somehow manages a decent score.
Pakistan probably would have chased 350 with ease on that day!
Few things to note:

- Crowd was amazing those days. Look how even the roof is filled with spectators.
- Kamran Akmal catches one of Ijaz's six beyond the boundary.
- Look how freely Ijaz and Afridi are playing. I can hardly see this these days.
- Over the shoulder was a no ball those days, one of IJaz's six was of such a no-ball.
- The umpires couldn't see the ball few times, when it was dispatched for a six. Ijaz had to inform the umpire on 3 occasions that it was a six.
One of the most belligerent innings ever witnessed.

The sheer aggression and conviction of Ijaz is sorely missed.

That is a number 3 batsmen, not tailender nonsense like Hafeez.
Wow mind blowing innings when there was no concept of T20 cricket. That is unimaginable performance in those days.
Indian bowlers had no clue at all..and didn't have any answer to Ijaz's brilliance.
Saw it on TV and think this was after a disappointing Sahara Cup in Toronto so good feeling
Remember it like it was yesterday. A century with an SR of even 100 was pretty rare those days :))
That was an amazing knock. A match where we dominated India and it was totally one sided affair.

Still have memories of that innings from my childhood.

Amir Sohail & Ijaz Ahmed underachieved as International Cricketers. Ijaz should be amongst coaching panel of PSL because he has done well as a coach for Pakistan Under 19 and Pakistan A. He knows psyche of Pakistani players especially batsmen too well. Remember Ijaz’s comments on national tv for Shehzad and junior Akmal. (Perfect assessment and analysis)
For a kid who used to eat, sleep, dream cricket I had nightmares for a long time after this innings. I say this confidently just because things have turned now!
And today, our U19 team failed to make the semi finals of asia cup, from where to where we have fallen :dw
Rajesh Chauhan's action was amazing.

Smooth as hell.

It is to spin what Holding's action is to pace.
I watched this match. Had just given my 12th exams I think. But to be honest, the main Indian bowlers were absent. No Srinath, no Prasad. A B string attack even for those days. Plus home team advantage.
IMO the most savage knock by a Pakistani batsman against India. Anwar had his 194 and Afridi that Kanpur 100, but the level of brutality in Ijaz's innings was something else.

Just a few days before that India had crushed Pakistan 4-1 in Toronto, previous match our number 9 batsman Rajesh Chauhan hit that famous 6 in the last over to seal the match, Saqlain was the bowler. Ijaz sealed the series with this 139 at Gaddafi. Great memories, Indo-Pak cricket rocks.
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Because i was a kid during those years , somehow all the matches are fresh in memory about those years esp of Pak and Ind..
I always rated Ijaz. He was a proper test match #3.
Ijaz was an enigma, he had what looked like a seriously faulty technique against pace, bounce, seam , or swing - yet when in the mood he looked like a champion batsman even against the best bowlers of his time. At one point in the 90s unless I’m imagining a parallel universe I recall that Ijaz was only behind Lara and Tendulkar for for scoring most test 100s v Australia.

An entertainer for sure and would have been ideal for modern day T20 cricket.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/OnThisDay?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#OnThisDay</a> in 1997. Pakistan were set 217 to win in 49 overs against India in Lahore. They reached the target in just 26.2 overs with Ijaz Ahmed smashing 139 not out off 84 balls, including 10 fours and 9 sixes <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Cricket?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Cricket</a> <a href="https://t.co/RUKx8loy5M">pic.twitter.com/RUKx8loy5M</a></p>— Saj Sadiq (@Saj_PakPassion) <a href="https://twitter.com/Saj_PakPassion/status/1311932001147068417?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 2, 2020</a></blockquote>
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Damn ijaz. what a player he was when he gets on.

robin singh

these were the bowlers though rofl.
Damn ijaz. what a player he was when he gets on.

robin singh

these were the bowlers though rofl.

Ganguly was a force of nature though when bowling to Pakistan early in his career.
The mid-to-late 90's Pakistan team was more of a T20 team than any team Pakistan has ever put since 2006. Anwar, Sohail, Ijaz, Inzamam, Moin, Wasim all of them had the ability to score at 200 SR. Now in the current team, probably only Hafeez can play at that SR for a considerable period of time.
Ganguly was a force of nature though when bowling to Pakistan early in his career.

Literally any bowler who can seam the ball at 120-125kph would be a force of nature against Pakistan. Just look at Colin de Grandhomme. Averages 17 with the ball against Pakistan. Lol .
Robin Singh
Nilesh Kulkarni
Rajesh Chauhan

I cannot think of a bigger popgun attack than the above. Poor Sachin had to endure his captaincy with these sorry bunch of losers. If not Ijaz, somebody had to put them to the sword.

I remember Pakistan managed to lose a match to the same set of bowlers. Pakistan being Pakistan that day. :ashwin
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Despite that innings from
Ijaz, India still had an upper hand.

They won sahara cup 4-1 in September 1997
And on top of it managed to win in karachi via chauhan six on saqlain in last over. Pak won tight series 2-1

But over all it was 5-3 in India’s favor during that epic month of 8 ODI Matches between them in Sept-Oct 97.

They met earlier that year as well in summer of 1997 when Saeed Anwar blasted 194 in Chennai and won, both teams met again in Singer akai cup in Dec 1997, another close encounter which Pakistan won in Sharjah, but Pakistan choked against England later on. Holliaoke won the cup beating Walsh.

Just a month later Pak met india in that decisive final of indepence cup 1998 in january, india chased down 314 in 48 overs. Anwar’s century was in vain as pathetic bowling and Rashid’s missed stumping of robin singh sealed pak fate and Ganguly stole the show.

If my memory serves me well i think Princess Diana funeral also took place during that phase sept-oct and Queen Elizabeth visited pakistan too in October.
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