USA 271 for 9 (Malhotra 173*) beat Papua New Guinea 137 (Paradkar 4-26) by 134 runs
Having spent close to two years out of the national team after being dropped following USA's first ODI series on home soil in September 2019, Jaskaran Malhotra marked his return to the national team with a bang in Muscat striking USA's first century in ODI cricket and finished the historic day with a cherry on top in the form of six sixes in the 50th over to finish with an unbeaten 173 off 124 balls in the second ODI at Al Amerat.
Papua New Guinea medium pacer Gaudi Toka began the fateful over bowling over the wicket aiming for wide yorkers. However, he misfired on his length each time as Malhotra smashed him over long-on, extra cover and long-off. Switching the angle to come around the wicket for the fourth ball, Malhotra took a guard a foot outside off stump, then heaved another full delivery over wide long-on. Toka returned over for ball No. 5 and was driven back down the ground over long-off. A waist high full toss on the final ball was clubbed high over square leg to put Malhotra in the record books alongside Herschelle Gibbs in ODI cricket as well as Yuvraj Singh and Kieron Pollard in T20Is as the only men to hit six sixes in an over in international cricket.
Entering the day, Malhotra's List A average for USA was just 19.70 in 25 innings, with a best of 80 against Guyana during his debut tour for USA at the CWI Super50 tournament in Antigua in February 2018. His performances on that tour, where he finished as USA's leading scorer, earned him selection in the 2018 CPL Draft by St Lucia Stars (now known as the Kings), but he never made it into the XI and was not retained for the 2019 season. Malhotra more than doubled his List A career-best on Thursday afternoon, though with a bit of good fortune along the way.
Malhotra benefitted from some uncharacteristically poor fielding from Papua New Guinea after entering the middle in the 10th over with USA struggling at 29 for 3 having lost the toss and been sent in to bat. Medium pacer Chad Soper was unfortunate bowler on two of three occasions: Malhotra was spilled on 3 by Lega Siaka at short midwicket, again on 20 by Siaka on a straightforward chance at deep square leg after being bounced by Damien Ravu, and once more on 62 by Toka who shelled another sitter at long-on off of Soper.
Malhotra was scoring at better than a run a ball for much of his innings as he feasted on the offspin of captain Assad Vala and the leg spin of CJ Amini, repeatedly slog sweeping them over the midwicket rope. Back-to-back sixes off Vala in the 28th over brought up a 48-ball fifty, while another pair were heaved over the leg-side rope off Amini in the 34th to take him to 76. Malhotra slowed down considerably in the 90s as he milked nine singles and a two to get to the three-figure landmark off 102 balls. With the pressure of getting to a century gone, Malhotra scored his next 73 runs off just 22 balls.
He turned on the rocketboosters in the 46th, hitting medium pacer Nosaina Pokana for six before two more boundaries off Ravu. He was then dropped a fourth time on 118, mistiming a scoop trying to clear short fine leg where Pokana failed to hold on to a difficult leaping chance. Malhotra rubbed salt into the wound with another six off Pokana in the 48th before one more off Ravu in the 49th, taking a single off the last ball to ensure he had the strike heading into the final frame on 137, setting the stage for further history to be created.
Among the other records Malhotra set on the day, he surpassed AB de Villiers for the highest ODI score by a player entering at No. 5. He also helped set a mark for USA's highest 10th wicket partnership in ODI cricket alongside Saurabh Netravalkar, who contributed one run in their unbroken 55-run stand which spanned 17 balls.
Papua New Guinea were eventually bowled out for 137 as USA won by 134 runs to sweep the two-match ODI series. USA begin the first of four ODIs as part of a Cricket World Cup League Two ODI tri-series against Nepal and Oman on September 13.
Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent @PeterDellaPenna