USA's Jaskaran Malhotra stole the show with his feat of six sixes in an over against Papua New Guinea, though it was just the icing on the cake of a multiple-record day in Oman.
Herschelle Gibbs, Yuvraj Singh, Kieron Pollard, and now, Jaskaran Malhotra.
Becoming the fourth player to strike six sixes in an over in an international fixture, the American joins an exclusive club that includes some of the game’s greats.
Swatting 173* from 124 balls at the Al Amerat Ground in Muscat against Papua New Guinea, Malhotra’s innings was trailblazing in several senses of the word. Not only is it the first ODI century by an American, it stands as the highest score made from No.5 in the batting order, surpassing AB de Villiers' 162* against West Indies at the 2015 Men’s Cricket World Cup at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Entering at 29/3 in the tenth over and seemingly behind the match, Malhotra joined Aaron Jones in the middle on the outskirts of Muscat, lifting the tempo gradually before the late crescendo. In the final over, Malhotra single-handedly moved the total from 235 to 271/9. In response, and despite possessing batting firepower of their own through Tony Ura and captain Assad Vala, Papua New Guinea were unable to hit back, falling 134 runs short.
Video credit: USA Cricket
Malhotra’s last-over heroics off the bowling of quick Gaudi Toka took him 16 sixes in the innings, one short of Eoin Morgan’s record of 17 against Afghanistan.
Just two men stand above Malhotra when discussing highest scores by Associate players at One Day International level: Paul Stirling and his 177 against Canada in 2010 some eight years before Ireland gained Full Membership, and Calum MacLeod, who compiled 175 in 2014, also against Canada, in Scotland’s successful 2015 Cricket World Cup qualification campaign.
Malhotra and the USA side are in Oman preparing for Cricket World Cup League 2 action, as part of their pathway to the 2023 tournament in India. Taking on Nepal and the hosts in a tri-series, it’s a long-awaited return to international cricket for the USA, who last played against the same pair of opponents back in February of last year.
The USA team appear to have shaken off the rust and malaise of over 18 months ago, and look streets ahead to their last tri-series when they were bowled out for 35 in Nepal, thanks largely to Sandeep Lamichhane and a spin ground that tied the team up in knots.
Cricket World Cup League 2 resumes on 13 September.
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