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Cricinfo Awards: the nominees for the best ODI batting performance
January 2, 2009
Jamie How, 139 (116 balls) v England, Napier
How piloted New Zealand's chase of 340 adroitly. He reached his hundred from 86 balls, cashing in on the short square boundaries with a series of shredding drives and emphatic pulls. It was an uncharacteristic knock - in 16 ODIs before this game he had scored at a strike-rate of 67.27, without a century. With this one innings he pushed that figure up by over six percentage points, to 73.75. However, he couldn't quite finish the job as he was run out on the penultimate ball of the match. New Zealand managed a single off the next ball to tie the game.
Yuvraj Singh, 138 not out(78 balls), v England, Rajkot
Eleven months after he had last scored a hundred, Yuvraj burst into form with a sensational one. Shortly into his innings, he had problems with his back and needed a brace. Steve Harmison tested him with some short balls, and though Yuvraj took his eyes off them, he pulled consecutive boundaries to kickstart his innings. Yuvraj, who had Gautam Gambhir running for him, hit sixes off Andrew Flintoff and Harmison, and swatted Stuart Broad for six and four off successive balls. He reached his ninth hundred off the 64th ball he faced, lofted Flintoff for two sixes in the 47th over, and took another 18 off him in the 49th. It was the second-fastest century by an Indian, and the fastest by anyone against England.
Salman Butt 129 retired hurt (136 balls) v India
Kitply Cup final, Mirpur
Butt punched and slapped his way to his fifth ODI century against India. He let his partner, Younis Khan, who hit a charming century, provide the aesthetic touches, and himself focused on forcing the ball through the gaps. His signature strokes - the slap through point and the flick shot - were on view in abundance, but the one he used repeatedly, and most profitably, was the slog-sweep. Strangely India, much like when Graham Gooch swept them out of the 1987 World Cup, never plugged the gap - Butt and Younis together picked up 84 runs in that region. Piyush Chawla, who had strung together a few decent performances before this game, came under the hammer, finishing with the most expensive spell by an Indian spinner in an ODI.
Sanath Jayasuriya, 125 (114 balls) v India
Asia Cup final, Karachi
India picked up four wickets in the first 12 overs, but Jayasuriya's 114-ball 125, and his 131-run partnership with Tillakaratne Dilshan, utterly changed the complexion of the game. Jayasuriya counterattacked with a pull for six off Ishant Sharma, and hit Irfan Pathan for three fours. Dilshan contributed only four to the first 50 the pair added, from 30 balls. Jayasuriya let rip against RP Singh in the 16th over: Sixes either side of the sightscreen were followed by two wallops over cover, and after a one-ball lull he pulled one over midwicket for six more. Ajantha Mendis then ran riot to bowl Sri Lanka to the title.
Yuvraj Singh, 118 (122 balls) v England, Indore
Even better than his 138 in the previous game. England had reduced India to 29 for 3, but Yuvraj led the recovery with a 134-run partnership with Gautam Gambhir and charged India to 292 for 9. Yuvraj hit his stride quickly, glancing a no-ball from Flintoff off his pads for four and pulling the free-hit into the stands at midwicket in the ninth over. Those two balls seemed to settle him down, and thereafter he placed a flurry of pulls and drives into gaps in the outfield to give the innings direction. He took 61 balls for his first fifty; his next 61 balls produced 66 runs as he attacked England's weaker bowlers and peppered the leg side with 12 of the 17 boundaries he hit in all. It was Yuvraj's 10th century, and he became the second Indian (the ninth player overall) to score 1000 or more ODI runs against England.
Sachin Tendulkar, 117* (120 balls) v Australia
First final, CB Series
In 38 previous ODI innings in Australia, Tendulkar had never scored a hundred. He made up with a memorable 117 to help India beat Australia in the first final of the CB Series. In the first 10 overs he only found the boundary once, though he exhibited precise footwork and correct judgment of length. After the early threat of Brett Lee had been negated, Tendulkar turned his attention to the others: Brad Hogg was driven over extra cover for two glorious fours, and Mitchell Johnson was perfectly tipped over slip. All along, Tendulkar pierced the infield, took the singles, and ensured the asking-rate never got beyond control. He cramped towards the end of the innings, which restricted some strokes, but he eventually got to his century with a dab to gully - the celebrations that ensued indicated how special it was.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 62* (63 balls) v Sri Lanka, Port-of-Spain
Chanderpaul took West Indies to a thrilling final-ball one-wicket win after they were left needing 10 off two deliveries. He pinged the penultimate ball for a straight boundary, and then swung a Chaminda Vaas full-toss over deep midwicket to seal it. Sri Lanka had seemed to be in control when Dwayne Bravo was run out at 169, still 67 runs short of the target. Chanderpaul then took control and guided the tail. Though he struggled to find the boundary, and the strike in the final stages, he hit a four off the final ball of the 49th over. Only three runs came off the first four balls of the last before the next two went for 10. "I'm happy, I'm very, very happy. I prayed and prayed and asked God to give me the strength to hit that ball out of the ground," he said later.
Shakib Al Hasan, 108 (120 balls) v Pakistan, Multan
Shakib's hundred lifted Bangladesh from a depressing 109 for 8 to a respectable 210 - though it wasn't enough to stop Pakistan running away to a seven-wicket win. Shakib came in at 10 for 3 and continued from where he had left off in the previous ODI, in which he had hit a fine 75. He added 97 runs with Mashrafe Mortaza, who turned the strike over well. Shakib pulled and cover-drove Umar Gul for two boundaries in the 33rd over, and picked singles and twos off Fawad Alam and Shoaib Malik. Never hurried in attack or defence, he finally got to a richly deserved hundred in the 47th over.
Sachin Tendulkar, 91 (121 balls) v Australia
Second final, CB Series
Twenty-three years after India's last significant limited-overs title in Australia, Tendulkar helped them clinch the CB Series with a determined 91. In nearly three hours of nimble-footed driving, mainly to the off side, interspersed with soft on-side strokes, he treated an appreciative crowd to some fine work. He had a life on 7, when Ricky Ponting dropped a hard reflex catch at short cover, and he made it count. His fifty came up on his 70th delivery, and he went on to ensure India reached 258, which eventually proved a match-winning total.
Chamara Kapugedera, 95 (117 balls) v West Indies, Port-of-Spain
Sri Lanka recovered from 49 for 5 to post a competitive total, thanks to Kapugedera's career-best 95 in a record sixth-wicket stand of 159 with Chamara Silva. Kapugedera accumulated 56 of those runs on the on side, running his singles and twos hard. He expanded his strokeplay in the closing overs, taking two sixes off Sulieman Benn and one off Fidel Edwards, but fell five short of the century. To add insult to injury, he ended up on the losing side, after Chanderpaul won the game with a last-ball six.
Jacob Oram, 88 (91 balls) v England, Auckland
Another losing cause. Oram hit a flamboyant 88 to lift New Zealand from a dire 95 for 6 to 234 against England. On 5, he survived a confident lbw appeal from Ryan Sidebottom, but he shrugged it off to produce an innings of intense power and perfect timing. The highlight of the knock was a stunning square-drive for six off Dimitri Mascarenhas, and consecutive sixes in Stuart Broad's final over. Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood hit 73 and 70 not out respectively to propel England to a six-wicket win.
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