Who is Ibrahim Zadran, who shattered Shubman Gill's ODI record with heroic 98 to power Afghanistan to 1-0 lead vs SL
Donning the number 18 jersey, just like Kohli does for India, Zadran smashed 98, en route to which he shattered Shubman Gill's ODI record
The entire focus was on Matheesha Pathirana when Sri Lanka hosted Afghanistan at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium in Hambantota on Friday for the first of three ODIs. Fresh from his maiden IPL campaign, where he won the trophy for Chennai Super Kings under the leadership of MS Dhoni, who had nothing but praise for the youngster, Pathirana was expected to emulate the same donning national colours. But inflicting his poor start, rose a hero from the visiting side, in opening batter Ibrahim Zadran. Donning the number 18 jersey, just like Virat Kohli does for India, the youngster smashed a heroic and match-winning 98, en route to which he smashed Shubman Gill's ODI record to hand Afghanistan a 1-0 series lead.
Zadran simply continued with his sublime form in the format despite being in action in this format after a gap of six months. Having made his debut in 2019 for Afghanistan, Zadran's magical run started in exactly a year back when the team had travelled to Zimbabwe for a series. He smashed an unbeaten 121 in the second game before smashing 106 and a colossal 162 in the tour of Sri Lanka in November.
On Friday, against the target of 269, Afghanistan lost Rahmanullah Gurbaz early in the chase, but Zadran single handedly inflicted an attack against Sri Lanka bowlers, especially against the 145-plus kmph deliveries from Pathirana as reached his half-century mark in just 35 balls. This allowed Rahmat Shah to take his time and settle in before the pair added a stunning 146-run partnership.
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Zadran was eventually denied a well-deserved century by Kasun Rajitha as he departed for 98, but Afghanistan by then were left with less than 100 runs to chase in 20 overs. The chase was completed in the 47th over as the visitors took a 1-0 series lead. En route to his knock, Zadran, who was handed the Player of the Match award, was became the second fastest batter to 500 ODI runs, having reached the feat in his ninth innings, with South Africa's Janneman Malan still holding the record (7 innings). It is the joint-fastest by an Asian batter, equalling Pakistan's Imam-ul-Haq and going past India's best Shubman Gill (10 innings).
Consistency has defined Zadran's career so far, whether it has been during his domestic days or in his international career. Six years back, the right-handed batter had burst into the scene in List A cricket in the Ghazi Amanullah Khan Regional One Day Tournament and later in the Shpageeza Cricket League. But rise has down to his phenomenal show in the 2018 U-19 World Cup in January 2017 where he had ended up as the team's leading run-getter.
In 2019, he was picked in the one-off Test against Bangladesh and he became one of the youngest to score a fifty on debut en route to his 87 in the second innings in Chattogram. Shortly after, he was picked for ODIs and T20Is as well. With Shahzad’s sudden exit from the game, Zadran cemented his spot as an opener with his consistent show across format, a glimpse of which was seen against Sri Lanka on Friday.