Jaskaran Malhotra created history in a number of ways with his unforgettable 173 not out against Papua New Guinea in Oman.
Photo credit: Peter Della Penna
By Peter Della Penna (Twitter @PeterDellaPenna
DreamCricket is once again celebrating USA’s top performers from the calendar year through the New Inning Foundation USA Cricket Awards. This edition of the awards recognizes performances in 2021.
The first player recognized is the recipient of the New Inning Foundation USA Individual Performance of the Year Award: Jaskaran Malhotra
. The big hitting batter set numerous world records with his unbeaten 173 off 124 balls in a victory over Papua New Guinea on September 9, 2021 at the Oman Cricket Academy in Al Amerat, Oman.
Entering the day, Malhotra’s highest score for USA in List A cricket had been 80 against Guyana in the 2017-18 CWI Super50 tournament in Antigua. But Malhotra more than doubled that on this occasion, capping it off in grand style by smashing six sixes off the final over bowled by medium pacer Gaudi Toka. In doing so, he became just the fourth player to do it in international cricket, following in the footsteps of Herschelle Gibbs, Yuvraj Singh and Kieron Pollard.
Malhotra entered in the 10th
over with USA in trouble at 29 for 3 and could have been out very cheaply had Lega Siaka held on to a chance at short midwicket when Malhotra was on just 3. Malhotra was subsequently spilled three more times on 20, 62 and 118. But just like Brian Lara’s early letoff on the way to scoring 501 not out in County Cricket, these would become part of the historic lore of the day on the way to a number of incredible milestones.
Malhotra reached his half-century off 48 balls, and slowed down upon reaching the 90s before crossing three figures off 102 balls to register USA’s first ever ODI century in the country’s 17th
official ODI. But Malhotra caught a second wind in the brutally hot conditions upon moving past 100, and scored his final 73 runs off just 22 deliveries.
Among the marks he achieved that day were the highest ever score by a No. 5 batter in ODIs, surpassing the previous best by AB de Villiers; most number of sixes (16) by an Associate player in an ODI and second most by any player, one short of Eoin Morgan’s 17 against Afghanistan at the 2019 World Cup; sixth highest score in a maiden ODI century; fifth highest percentage of team runs in a completed ODI innings (63.83%); the second highest score by a USA player in any format behind Sushil Nadkarni’s 197 against Suriname at Florida in 2008; and set a record alongside Saurabh Netravalkar for the highest 10th
wicket partnership in USA’s 50-over history, as they added 55 runs across the final 17 balls (with Netravalkar contributing one run).
Malhotra’s innings was so monstrous that he virtually beat Papua New Guinea that day single-handedly by 36 runs as the opposition were bowled out for 137 in reply for what was officially a 134-run win for USA. It was USA’s 26th
ever century in one-day cricket going back to the first made by Neil Lashkari against Fiji at the ICC Trophy in 1986, but instantly became USA’s most iconic one.
In recognition of his achievement, Malhotra will receive a plaque as well as a $500 DreamCricket.com Pavilion Shop gift card sponsored by New Inning Foundation.