New Delhi: Hanif Mohammad is widely regarded as the first superstar to come out of Pakistan and it is also widely accepted that it was because of him that cricket gained the popularity in the nation, that it enjoys today.
On this day 59 years ago, Hanif rewrote history books by slamming 499 in the semi-final of Quaid-e-Azam Trophy in Karachi in 1959. Although 499 was in itself a world record then, the innings became famous because Hanif couldn’t take that one single that would have made him touch the magical number of 500.
Batting first, Bahawalpur were dismissed for 185 in their first innings, courtesy of some fine bowling by Ikram Elahi and Mahmood Hussain, who scalped four and three wickets respectively.
What followed was an innings of supreme grit and determination from Hanif, who simply batted according to his own will against a hapless Bahawalpur bowling attack. The right-handed batsman was out in the middle for 635 minutes, in which he amassed a staggering 499 runs.
However, as they say, the final step is the hardest, as it proved to be for Hanif, as he was disastrously run-out for 499. Hanif tried to steal a run while his team waited for him to raise his bat, but it wasn’t meant to be.
After Hanif’s mammoth innings came to an abrupt end — which included 64 boundaries — Karachi declared for 772/7. Their bowlers then did the trick once again in the second innings as they dismissed Bahawalpur for a paltry 108 runs to win by an innings and 479 and also clinch a place into the final.
Hanif’s 499 remained a record 35 years until Windies great Brian Lara slammed 501* while playing for Warwickshire against Durham in June 1994.