Mohammad Azharuddin: Vadodara ton in 1988 one of my best ODI performances

The former India captain remembers his 62-ball century against New Zealand in the fourth ODI of a five-match series.

Azharuddin hit 10 fours and three sixes in his whirlwind knock. - THE HINDU ARCHIVES

Mohammad Azharuddin, the former India captain, remembers well his quickfire century in a One-Day International against New Zealand in December, 1988. The footage of that knock isn’t available even though the contest was aired live on Doordarshan as the transmission was lost when India batted.

It was the fourth ODI - held in Vadodara - of a five-match series, and India had been set a target of 279. “It was at the Moti Bagh Palace ground. A lovely open ground where there would be shamianas for the spectators. I think I had hit three or four sixes (three), two of which landed outside the ground and one hit the tree. That day, it seemed I could do no wrong and I didn’t realise that I had completed hundred in 60-odd balls (62),” Azharuddin told PTI.

The Indian bowlers were expensive in the absence of Kapil Dev; Sanjeev Sharma was hit for 74 runs in 10 overs while Rashid Patel was hit for 58, and Chetan Sharma for 54.

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“Chasing 279 was like 340 in these days,” Azharuddin said. “The best part was I batted at No. 6 in that game. I don’t remember now but I came in when either Dilip bhai (Dilip Vengsarkar) or Sanjay (Manjrekar) got out. But Ajay (Sharma) gave me good support as we had a 100-plus stand in quick time.

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“I remember I got stuck into one of their two off-spinners (Chris Kuggeleijn, other one was John Bracewell). Hit him for some massive sixes. I also hit some good boundaries against Ewen Chatfield and Snedden. I think (Richard) Hadlee didn’t play that game,” Azharuddin recalled.

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“I have had some great ODI performances but yes, this one will be among the best if not the best. You have to check the record books but this was one of our highest chases if not the highest run-chase back then. I am not sure but it must be somewhere close,” Azharuddin said.

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