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93 days to go: Mohammad Azharuddin's finest World Cup knock goes in vain

Azharuddin came agonisingly close to getting his maiden World Cup century but fell short, just like India did against Australia at Brisbane in 1992.

Published: 26th February 2019 10:03 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th May 2019 05:34 PM   |  A+A-

Mohammad Azharuddin

30 games across four World Cups and the closest Azhar ever came to getting a hundred was in a losing cause| AFP

Online Desk

Mohammad Azharuddin may be a polarizing figure in Indian cricket but what cannot be denied is his achievements with the bat on the field. With over 9,000 ODI runs in 334 matches, he will forever go down as one of India's finest ODI batsmen.

There were a lot of firsts, plenty of accolades and many memorable moments in his ODI career. But one thing that eluded him was a World Cup century.

30 matches across four World Cups and the closest he ever came to getting that historic hundred was in a losing cause against Australia at Brisbane. With 93 days to go to the ICC World Cup 2019, here's a look at his 93 that almost got India over the line in 1992.

After losing to New Zealand and South Africa, defeat to India in the group game would have been the final nail in their World Cup defence. After winning the toss, Allan Border elected to bat.

Australia lost both openers early but David Boon and Dean Jones steadied the ship. While India continued to pick up wickets at regular intervals, Jones continued on his crusade for a century. Although he fell 10 short, he did enough, despite a late collapse to get Australia to 237/9.
 
In response, India lost Kris Srikkanth early but captain Azharuddin looked determined to get his side over the line and also claim his maiden World Cup century in the process. After a rain interruption with the score at 45/1 in 16.2 overs, the target was revised to 236 in 47 overs.

After the resumption of play, Ravi Shastri fell but with his trademark array of strokes, Azhar kept the scoreboard ticking. He played his best innings of a World Cup that saw him hit four fifties and also stitched crucial partnerships with Kapil Dev and Sanjay Manjrekar and

But just when the equation was starting to get out of hand, the Indian captain was run-out by his counterpart. And just like that India's hopes came crumbling down. It didn't help that Azhar was the first of four to be run-out in that innings, with the last one being Raju, going for the run that would have tied the game. 

In the end, a combination of rain and run-outs meant that Australia won the game by one run. While Azhar would go on to score five more fifties and amass 826 runs in the World Cup, that elusive century never came.



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