The game of cricket has historically been played by only a few nations in the world. England, India, Australia, West Indies, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and South Africa have been the powerhouses in the sport over the years. Although few countries like Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Ireland and Netherlands have made their mark in the last few years, cricket is still quite far away from being recognized as a global sport.
International Cricket Council (ICC) have taken few major steps in recent times to expand the game across the globe. With cricket coming to the continent, Europe has seen some really exciting talents coming through the ranks and displaying their skills and abilities at a big stage. An example of the hidden potential among those European players was on display recently in Waterloo.
Best-ever knock-in T20I cricket?
Austria are currently on a tour of Belgium and are playing 3-match T20I series. After the hosts had won the first match, they came out to seal the series in the second contest. However, things dramatically went downhill for them as they found themselves in all sorts of bother while batting first, with the score reading 14/8 in 5.5 overs. They needed some miraculous to turn around the situation and something magical did happen in the next hour, which left everyone in shock.
Belgium's all-rounder Saber Zakhil was still at the crease and he was the only hope for the home side. Batting with the tail, the 24-year-old had to pull a rabbit out of the hat and he certainly did that in style. With the situation going out of hands, Zakhil launched an unbelievable counter-attack and went on to score 100* off 47 deliveries, smashing Austria's bowlers all over the park. He hit 5 fours and 11 sixes during his knock where he scored at a strike rate of 212.77 as Belgium finished the innings at a total of 156/8 in 20 overs.
Notably, Saber Zakhil became the first player to smash a century in T20Is while batting at no. 8 (or) below. He was well supported by Raja Saqlain Tasawar, who scored 26 runs off 39 deliveries. Belgium eventually won the match by 12 runs as per the D/L method as they sealed the series.