Former Pakistan captain, current coach and administrator, Pakistan's Misbah-ul-Haq is a man of many talents. On his 46th birthday, let us relive some of his most memorable knocks.
Misbah as a captain has been more celebrated than Misbah as a batsman. He was Pakistan's most successful Test skipper with 26 wins under his name. However, his contributions with the bat too were truly extraordinary at times. From equalling the record for the fastest Test ton, taking the fewest balls to a fifty in the process, to becoming one of the oldest batsmen to score a Test hundred – his performances form a major part of Pakistan's cricket history.
101* v Australia, Abu Dhabi, 2014: Perhaps, the most un-Misbah like innings ever. Traditionally known for his cautious and restrained batting approach, Misbah defied the norm to produce one of the finest batting displays as he slammed the then fastest Test hundred – equalling Viv Richards' record – in just 56 balls. Already building on Pakistan's solid score of 332/3, Misbah took the Australia bowlers on, taking his team past the 500-mark. His performance ensured Pakistan also achieved their then-largest victory over Australia, by 356 runs.
114 v England, Lord's, 2016: At 42, Misbah became the oldest captain to score a century in his first Test appearance in England. His was the only centurion in Pakistan's first-innings, taking their total to 339. He came to bat when the visitors were struggling at 77/3 and proceeded to hit his 10th Test ton, pairing with Younis Khan and Asad Shafiq in the middle order. He celebrated the knock by removing his helmet, getting down on the ground and performing a flurry of push-ups. Misbah's knock coupled with excellent bowling from Yasir Shah gave Pakistan a famous 75-run win over the hosts.
82 v India, Delhi, 2007: Although the slow 82-run knock came in a losing cause, his performance went a long way in helping Pak put up a strong fight. Electing to bat first, the visitors had lost half of their side before reaching the 100-run mark. Misbah then shouldered the burden with a cautious half-century even as wickets fell at the other end. The next best score after him was Kamran Akmal's 30, but Misbah dropped anchor and continued to grind. He added 87 with Akmal for the ninth wicket and was the penultimate wicket to fall, helping the visitors to a modest 231. He followed that up with a fighting 45 in the second innings but a low target meant that India achieved a six-wicket victory on the final day.
161* v India, Kolkata, 2007: After losing the first Test of the series in Delhi and with India piling on 616/5d in the first innings of the second game, Pakistan were up against a mountain to try and save the series. Additionally, at 85/3, they were in a bit of a fix until Misbah walked in at No.5. He put on a 207-run stand for the sixth wicket with Kamran Akmal (119) and a 91-run stand for the seventh wicket with Mohammad Sami to save Pakistan from following on. His unbeaten knock helped them post 456 in the first innings – a score that ensured the match resulted in a draw.
102 v England, Dubai, 2015: Another Pakistan win, thanks to a 350-plus first-innings total steered by Misbah's lone century. Having elected to bat first, it was imperative for the hosts to put up a good total. While Shan Masood and Younis Khan both scored fifties, Pakistan were losing wickets at regular intervals. But captain Misbah stabilised them with a 93-run fourth-wicket stand with Younis (56) and 104-run fifth-wicket stand with Asad Shafiq (83), taking them to 378. A remarkable bowling effort from Wahab Riaz and Misbah's 87-run knock in the second innings sealed a 178-run victory for the hosts.
83* v Sri Lanka, Colombo, Cricket World Cup 2011: Pakistan had a good campaign in the 2011 Cricket World Cup, making it to the semi-final of the tournament. It was a memorable World Cup for them, with captain Misbah-ul-Haq doing the bulk of scoring with crucial knocks. He was their highest run-getter in the tournament with 248 runs in six innings at an average of 49.60. His best came against Sri Lanka in a Group A fixture in Colombo where he slammed a 91-ball 83. After a top-order failure, he combined with his favourite batting partner, Younis (72), to share a 108-run stand for the fourth wicket. It helped Pakistan to a competitive 277/7. It was also Misbah's third-highest score in ODIs.
96* v West Indies, Champions Trophy, 2013: While Misbah produced quite a few hundreds in Tests, he could not reach the triple-figure mark in the 50-over format. The closest he came to the milestone was a scintillating 96 against West Indies at The Oval. In a disappointing batting performance, Pakistan were bowled out for just 170 in the group B fixture. Misbah was one of Pakistan's only two batters who reached double figures in the game. The other being Nasir Jamshed, who scored a 50 at the top. If not for Misbah, Pakistan would have succumbed for a far bigger loss. His unbeaten knock consisted of five fours and three sixes.
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