Iftikhar Ahmed, a Pakistani cricketer, achieved the distinction of scoring the fourth fastest century in the history of the Asia Cup. This milestone was reached during a match against Nepal in the tournament’s opening game, which took place at the Multan Cricket Stadium in Pakistan. Pakistan’s innings had a shaky start, with openers Fakhar Zaman and Imam ul Haq being dismissed rapidly, leaving the team at a precarious 25 for 2 after 6.1 overs.
Nevertheless, the team’s fortunes turned around thanks to a crucial partnership between captain Babar Azam and wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan. This partnership yielded 86 runs before Rizwan was out after scoring 44 runs off 50 balls. Subsequently, Babar joined forces with Iftikhar, and their remarkable collaboration altered the course of the match. Their partnership yielded an impressive 214 runs, with both players achieving individual centuries.
Twitter Reactions after Iftikhar Ahmed’s knock
➡️ Highest ODI partnership for Pakistan for the 5th wicket— Sher Ali (@SahabShero) August 30, 2023
➡️ 6th-highest ODI partnership for the 5th wicket
An epic 214-run partnership between Babar Azam & Iftikhar Ahmed 🔥#PAKvNEP | #AsiaCup2023 | #CricketTwitter #AsiaCup pic.twitter.com/whbJQiucBg
Pakistan sets a humongous target of 343 runs for Nepal to chase. Kudos to Babar Azam and Iftikhar Ahmed.#PAKvNEP— Muhammad Abbas 🇵🇰 (@AbbasSays786) August 30, 2023
Babar Azam’s performance was particularly noteworthy, as he became only the second player to surpass the 150-run mark in Asia Cup history, the first being India’s Virat Kohli. On the other hand, Iftikhar’s century was his first in the 50-over format, and it was achieved in a mere 67 deliveries. This feat positioned him as the fourth fastest century scorer in Asia Cup history and the second-fastest Pakistani to reach this milestone.
Iftikhar’s achievement was surpassed only by former Pakistani skipper Shahid Afridi (53 balls), former Sri Lankan opener Sanath Jayasuriya (55 balls), and former Indian batter Suresh Raina (66 balls) in terms of the fastest centuries in the tournament’s history. Additionally, the 109 runs he remained unbeaten on, achieved through 71 deliveries including 11 boundaries and four sixes, helped Pakistan accumulate a total of 342 for 6 after 50 overs, making it the third-highest score by a batter batting at number six or below in the Asia Cup.
Furthermore, the partnership between Iftikhar and Babar, which resulted in 214 runs, set a new record for the highest fifth-wicket partnership in the history of the Asia Cup. This achievement was significant in securing Pakistan’s commanding position in the match.