This day that year: Sanath Jayasuriya slams 17-ball 50, but Pakistan win title
The Singer Cup tri-series played between India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Singapore in 1997 was yet another opportunity for the newly crowned world champions Sri Lanka to showcase their prowess in front of their Asian rivals. The tournament belonged to the hard-hitting opening batsman Sanath Jayasuriya, who had slammed the then fastest ODI century in 48 balls in the tournament.
On April 7, 1997, 23 years from this day, Sri Lanka and Pakistan met in the final of the tournament. Arjuna Ranatunga won the toss and put Pakistan into bat. Ijaz Ahmed scored a defiant 51 as Pakistan were bowled out for a paltry 215.
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Chasing the modest total, Jayasuriya started in cavalier fashion, hitting the Pakistani pacers for a barrage of boundaries. Jayasuriya raced past the 50-run mark in just 17 deliveries, which was the then fastest half century in ODIs. Jayasuriya would eventually be dismissed for 76 in 28 deliveries, hitting 8 boundaries and 5 massive sixes.
There was little resistance after Jayasuriya’s dismissal as the Pakistani bowlers ran through the Lankan middle and lower order. Pakistan eventually won the match by 43 runs.
Jayasuriya’s record would stand the test of time and was broken only in 2015 by South African AB de Villiers, who reached his half century in 16 deliveries.