Was Fakhar Zaman’s 193 the highest score by a batsman in a losing cause in a one-day international? asked Navjot Bhatia from India
Fakhar Zaman’s remarkable solo innings of 193 against South Africa in Johannesburg last week (the nexthighest was Babar Azam’s 31) just missed out on this distinction. The bespectacled Zimbabwe batsman Charles Coventry clattered 194 not out against Bangladesh in Bulawayo in August 2009, but his side ended up losing by four wickets. In all, there have been 18 innings of 150 or more in a losing cause in ODIs.
Zaman’s onslaught did set a different record, though: it was the highest score for the side batting second in an ODI, beating Shane Watson’s 185 not out for Australia against Bangladesh in Mirpur in April 2011.
Was Harshal Patel the first player to take a five-for against the Mumbai Indians in the IPL? And who had the previous best figures against them? asked Lakshmi Narayanan from India
The Haryana seamer Harshal Patel‘s 5 for 27 for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the opening match of the 2021 IPL, in Chennai last week, did indeed make him the first to take five in an innings against five-time champions the Mumbai Indians. The previous best against them was 4 for 6 by Rohit Sharma – now Mumbai’s captain, but then with the Deccan Chargers – in Centurion in 2009. Eight seasons later, Samuel Badree took 4 for 9 against them for RCB in Bengaluru.
Patel’s haul was the 22nd five-for in the IPL: the best figures in the competition remain 6 for 12, by Alzarri Joseph – in his first match – for the Mumbai Indians against the Sunrisers in Hyderabad in April 2019.
Darren Stevens scored a century in Kent’s first match of the season, aged 44 – who’s the oldest to score a hundred in the Championship? asked Michael Caldwell from England
In making 116 not out for Kent at Northampton last week, Darren Stevens – who turns 45 on April 30 – became the oldest man to make a hundred in the County Championship since 45-year-old Chris Balderstone, for Leicestershire against Sussex at Grace Road in July 1986. The previous day, Geoff Boycott, who was about a month older than Balderstone, had made his final Championship hundred for Yorkshire.
But they are all a fair way behind the oldest County Championship centurion. It’s WG – but probably not the one you immediately think of. WG Grace hit his final first-class hundred (in a non-Championship game for London County vs MCC at Crystal Palace) the day after his 56th birthday in 1904 – but WG “Willie” Quaife was 139 days older when he made 115 for Warwickshire against Derbyshire at Edgbaston in 1928.
According to his player page, Hansie Cronje also played for Ireland – when was this? asked Zaheer Gill from the United States
The former South African captain Hansie Cronje played three matches for Ireland in 1997, as their permitted overseas player during the Benson and Hedges Cup, an English domestic competition. Cronje scored 94 not out in a victory over Middlesex in Dublin, and added 1 against Somerset in Taunton and 85 against Glamorgan in Cardiff. Cronje was not the only notable overseas player to feature for Ireland: the Waugh twins, Shahid Afridi, Saqlain Mushtaq, Jesse Ryder and Jonty Rhodes are among those who also made a few appearances for them.
Who was the first Test player born in Afghanistan? asked Jamal Khan from Kabul
It’s usually said (and shown online) that the mercurial Indian allrounder Salim Durani, who collected 75 wickets and more than 1200 runs in his 29 Tests, was born in Kabul in 1934. But it might not be as simple as that, as Gulu Ezekiel explains in his entertaining new book Myth-Busting: “Salim has stated that he was born ‘under the open skies’ when his mother went into labour and gave birth while they were travelling in a camel caravan from Karachi to Kabul in the region of the Khyber Pass.” He did spend the first three of his life in Kabul, but has never returned there. So we will probably never know – he might have been born in Afghanistan, if the camels had made it across the border from what was then undivided India. But if they were still the other side of the line, then the first Afghan-born Test cricketers were the XI who took the field for their inaugural match, against India in Bengaluru in June 2018. Ironically, Durani was invited to that match as a guest of honour thanks to the legend of his Kabul birthplace!