Ever since Imam-ul-Haq came into the Pakistan team, nepotism charges have been levied against him due to his relation with chief selector, Inzamam-ul-Haq. However, silencing all of that he has been an influential batsman for Pakistan in the last couple of years and ended his maiden World Cup with over 300 runs, the second most by any Pakistan player.
Imam, who had enjoyed some good form in the build-up to the World Cup, was a key figure in Pakistan's plans. He, alongside Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam were expected to shore up Pakistan's top-order concerns. Azam topped the run charts for Pakistan with 474 runs in the World Cup but the other two had a rather ordinary tournament until Imam turned it around, albeit in an inconsequential game.
Imam had made just one half-century in the World Cup prior to his hundred against Bangladesh on Friday. He braved Australia's sharp bowling attack for a fine 53 in a 300-plus run chase even as his partners perished after starts. The signs pointed towards Imam rediscovering his form post that. He had made a 44 in the match before that against England.
However, his performances continued to be inconsistent and he made 7 against India before another 44 against the Proteas and 19 and 36 in the matches against New Zealand and Afghanistan. The tournament had been underwhelming for him given how he had embraced consistency prior to it. But at Lord's on Friday, Imam managed to go on the Lord's ODI honours board by recording his first ever World Cup hundred. He was soon after dismissed hit-wicket off Mustafizur Rahman but the run-a-ball hundred had taken Pakistan to a formidable total.
Since his debut in 2017, Imam has been Pakistan's most consistent ODI player. He has racked up seven hundreds and six half-centuries in this short time frame and averages 54.58 in the format while scoring over 1500 runs. His tally of 1692 runs in this period is even better than Babar Azam.
One issue that has plagued Imam is his strike rate. A career strike rate of 80.57 batting at the top of the order hasn't sat well with quite a few. This World Cup, it has dipped further to 76.25 but with a run-a-ball hundred at Lord's, Imam has managed to salvage his World Cup. His World Cup 2019, though, ended in a unique manner. He became only the second Pakistan batsman to be out hit-wicket in World Cups after Misbah-ul-Haq in 2015.