For those of us growing up in the 90s, Ajay Jadeja was THE MAN. He wasn’t as celebrated as Sachin Tendulkar, or as revered as Sourav Ganguly, not even as respected as Rahul Dravid. But he was loved just as much by Indian fans, because he was a lower order batsman who was often entrusted with the responsibility of finishing off matches or giving India a fighting total with a quickfire knock. In his 196 ODIs, Jadeja has scored 6 hundreds. We’ll take a look at all of the ones which proved to be match-winning, plus a special mention should be given to the 45-run knock in the 1996 World Cup Quarter Final against Pakistan which proved to be match winning considering India won the match by just 39 runs.
A scintillating partnership between Mohammad Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja saw India go from 26 for 3 to 301 for 3. His innings was peppered with 6 boundaries and two sixes, which means there was a lot of running between the wicket as well. Jadeja was known for that.
Again, Ajay Jadeja combined with Azharuddin to form a vital 104-run 4th wicket partnership, and helped India post an imposing total of 309, which was considered unreachable during those days. The knock was peppered with 12 boundaries and came at a quick nip, with the No. 5 batsman taking just 109 balls to get there.
India were set an imposing target of 252 by West Indies, and it was a match where Jadeja opened the innings with Sachin Tendulkar. Along with Sachin, he formed a crucial 176-run partnership to make the target look extremely easy. By the time Jadeja was dismissed, there was very little left for the other batsmen to do.
Playing at No. 4, Jadeja’s 103 helped India post a daunting total of 286 at Pune. It was a quickfire innings, with Jadeja reaching the target in just 102 balls. He hit 6 boundaries and 3 sixes en route to the century. His partnership with Amey Khurasia was the highlight of the match.
Featured image courtesy: The Quint