Ajay Jadeja was one of the finest batters in the 90s and played some match-winning knocks for India in those days. Notably, Jadeja also played as a makeshift opener in some matches but could not achieve much success in that position. As Ajay Jadeja turns 53 on February 1, here’s a look at three of his top performances in international cricket.
3) 100 vs Australia, Oval, 1999 World Cup:
This was a must-win match for India to stay alive in the 1999 World Cup. Chasing a stiff target of 283 in the Super Six encounter, the Men in Blue were down and out at 17/4 and that is when Jadeja tried his level best to keep India in the hunt. He along with Robin Singh added 141 runs, but a defeat was inevitable once the latter was dismissed. However, Jadeja soldiered on throughout the innings and remained unbeaten on 100 as India’s margin of defeat was reduced to 77 runs.
2) 92 vs South Africa, Kochi 2000:
Centuries from Gary Kirsten (115) and Herschelle Gibbs (111) helped South Africa post a mammoth 302-run target for India in the first ODI in Kochi. In reply, the hosts lost the key wickets of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid early. Jadeja then carried out the rescue act with a 79-run stand with Mohammad Azharuddin and another 92-run stand with Robin Singh. He fell eight runs short of a deserving century but helped India get over the finish line in the final over.
1) 45 vs Pakistan, Bangalore, 1996 World Cup Quarterfinal:
Jadeja was in fifth gear in no time when arch-rivals India and Pakistan had locked horns in the second quarterfinal at Bangalore’s M Chinnaswamy Stadium. The middle-order sensation scored a blistering 25-ball 45 including four fours and two sixes and scored 40 runs off two overs bowled by the dangerous Waqar Younis. Jadeja’s onslaught helped India post a competitive total of 287/8 and India eventually came out on top by 39 runs to end the neighbours’ title defence and qualify for the semi-finals.