Did you see… Ibrahim Zadran’s ramp shot off Pat Cummins?

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3 minute read

Afghanistan’s batters hit several incredible shots in their 291-5 against Australia today, but Ibrahim Zadran’s ramp shot off Pat Cummins gets the nod from us as the most incredible.

Before we get into this, let’s first have a handful of honourable mentions.

Firstly, Azmatullah Omarzai’s cover drive off Mitchell Starc that for some gravity-defying reason never came down. (Azmatullah would also find himself on a hat trick later in the match.)

Secondly, Mohammad Nabi’s monstrous six off Josh Hazlewood. (A ‘second decker’ according to Geoff Lemon on commentary).

Love Nabi.

Thirdly, Rashid Khan’s hatless toe-ended four off Glenn Maxwell, which involved first stretching three yards down the pitch and then three yards across it.

Getting to the pitch of the ball is very much overrated.

Somehow one of these was pushed off the incredible shot podium for this Afghanistan innings because all three were outshone by the stroke we are about to describe to you now.

Ibrahim Zadran’s ramp shot

What was so amazing about Zadran’s ramp shot was the complete lack of premeditation.

That’s often how ramp shots are hit – but not here. Zadran had no intention of playing a ramp shot even once the ball was on its way to him.

Now here’s roughly the same moment as above, but from a different angle. This is after the ball has pitched and you can clearly see he still isn’t making any sort of move towards ramping the thing.

And then at some point between that 87.5mph delivery pitching and reaching him – which is what, a fraction of a picosecond – Zadran made a decision and acted on it.

And oh what a beautiful act it was.

Here he is perfectly balanced but very much not in the right position to play a ramp shot.

Now here he is having leant back ever so slightly and rotated his bat just enough to hit a nice four directly behind him.

There it goes!

We often talk about watching the ball onto the bat, but we’re not sure we’ve ever before seen quite such a pure example.

It was almost like Zadran was a passive observer, unrelated to his own arms, just calmly watching the ball hit his bat in slow motion.

This was not so much a shot as a delightfully productive geometric collision.

Ibrahim Zadran also hit another 125 runs in this innings.

Pretty good. Second-best knock of the day, we reckon.

> Rahmanullah Gurbaz has a point to make and a point boundary to pepper

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  1. That dropped catch at Short Fine Leg(ish) off Maxwell 🙁

    The match hasn’t finished yet, but…

  2. ‘The most remarkable thing you’ll probably ever see in cricket’ says Ian Smith.

    ‘Argument for the best innings ever played in any format’ says Vithushan Ehantharajah.

    Great knock. Ridiculous slogging. Mental. But….nah.

    1. Think it’s worth saluting. It’s not often someone walks in on a hat trick ball and takes their team from 91-7 to 293-7 in partnership with someone who makes 12 in any form of cricket, at any level.

      Just the sheer A to B nonsense of it is a feat, even without the one-legged Nathan Astle way he went about it.

      1. Yeah they definitely do, but a stuck clock and all that. We know we do our fair share of ranking things, but it’s mostly either stupid or tongue in cheek. We don’t have to assign this a position in a list of ‘greatest’ ODI innings to say that it’s a standout both in terms of match position and methodology.

        It was very Nathan Astle and that’s a rare thing.

      2. It was glorious. The words stick in my throat saying that, but its got to be said. It is up there with Richards’ 189 and Kapil’s 175, except this one’s while chasing – I don’t know if that means its easier (you know exactly what you’re going for) or harder (you know that if you get out, that’s the game).

      3. Not taking anything away from the innings, but I have noticed a general lack of acknowledgement to the Elephant in the room. That being that Afghanistan forced Australia into that position in the first place.

        Shame they couldn’t finish it off, but as said elsewhere here, that dropped catch at Short Fine Leg seemed to utterly deflate the whole team, and that was the end of it.

  3. Apparently it’s the first time anyone has scored 200 in the second innings of an ODI. So I guess harder!

    Likewise, I was rooting for Afghanistan to beat the mighty ‘Stralia; but you have to take your metaphorical hat off to such an incredible performance.

    1. Felt so bad for AFG, was rooting for them all the way through and cussing at ’em for bowling so poorly at Maxwell, esp when he was on one leg. The inexperience showed.

  4. I can’t believe I wasted my youth listening to coaches telling me to move my feet to the pitch of the ball.

    On a more pragmatic note, given he wasn’t able to move, you’d think the bowlers would have pitched it slightly wider of off and packed the off side.

    1. Yes. Aditya mentioned inexperience, I guess the bowlers suffered from that or a kind of rabbit-in-Glen-Maxwell-shaped-headlights effect. To be fair he seemed to be able to reach and hit and bisect the field even with limited movement.

      Given how well he could still hit, I did wonder briefly whether he was faking the cramp! or at least hamming it up, to freak out the Afghans. But I don’t think so – apart from anything else, turning down that many singles (& hobbling for those he did take) seems for real.

  5. I stayed up until 1 am to watch the highlights on Channel 5. Shame they couldn’t run them at 7 pm on one of their minor channels like 5 Select, if they couldn’t find room in the main schedule. The BBC sometimes stick “low level of public interest” sport onto BBC3 or BBC4, ITV do it on ITV4 and so on. And while sadly one of the most remarkable ever ODI innings probably qualifies into that category, making us wait until after midnight is a bit much really.

    What disappointed me is that I really badly wanted to see the singles. Or a little bit of how Cummins survived. Or even the medical treatment and Zampa getting ready to bat. Four, four, six, six… It was astonishing but repetitive, and the highlights reel really lost a lot of what was unique (and, importantly, hilarious) about the innings. They could have chopped a few of the boundaries out and given us more of the flavour of the context.

    1. Yeah, it’s the default option to focus on fours and sixes, but you’re damn right more is needed to tell the story of any innings and this one in particular. It’s those moments of weakness that accentuate the rest of it.

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