‘Don’t regret not getting the double, regret losing the match’

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Temba Bavuma calls Pakistan opener’s innings “incredible… the best I’ve come across”

For a little while, the memory may have drifted back to Abu Dhabi, over a decade ago, when Abdul Razzaq pulled off one of Pakistan’s most improbable heists against South Africa. In the end Pakistan – basically Fakhar Zaman – fell desperately close, closer than the 17-run margin suggests. But had they pulled it off, it would’ve been of a different order of magnitude of improbable from that memorable Abu Dhabi night, even accounting for the runs inflation in the years since.

Pakistan were 70 for 2, 71 for 3, 85 for 4, 120 for 5, 186 for 6 and 205 for 7, all the while with Zaman at the other end, playing an unusually restrained innings. It was only after he got to his 100, at a shade under a run-a-ball in the 39th over that he really blew the game open. Pakistan were already seven down and 130 short at that stage, but a flurry of seven sixes across the next five overs, five of them off Tabraiz Shamsi, pulled Pakistan right back into it.

In the process Zaman broke a few records, and though the manner of his dismissal ultimately grabbed the attention, once the dust of settles there a proper appraisal of this innings might begin. And it may well see his 193 rank among the greatest one-day innings played by a Pakistani. Temba Bavuma, the South Africa captain, thought it a bit more. “He played an incredible innings,” he said. “It’s the best I have come across. To chase down 340 single-handedly is always tough. But the innings he played was an incredible one. He remained quite clear.”

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