Twenty20 batting winner

A freak of an innings

Perhaps the best batting feat in the shortest format so far

Andrew McGlashan

February 14, 2011

Comments: 7 | Text size: A | A

Best Twenty20 Batting Performance

Michael Hussey
60 not out v Pakistan World Twenty20 semi-final, St Lucia

One of the criticisms of Twenty20 is that there is little time to fight back from difficult positions, unlike in the 50-over game. Try telling that to Mike Hussey, who produced one of the finest Twenty20 innings in the format's short history in St Lucia, an unbeaten 60 off 24 deliveries from No. 7, to propel Australia into the World Twenty20 final in Barbados.

Pakistan had produced a powerful batting display to reach 191, and when Australia slipped to 62 for 4 it looked assured Pakistan would reach their third consecutive final. But Cameron White began the recovery with 43 off 31 balls, including five sixes, then Hussey entered at 105 for 5 in the 13th over with 87 needed off 45 balls. Two a ball is considered pushing the limits of attainability, even in Twenty20.

The equation was an even tougher 68 off 27, seemingly past the point of no return, when Hussey hit Shahid Afridi for his first six and immediately followed it with another. However, he kept losing partners as White and Steve Smith departed. Still Hussey remained calm and calculated his options. Australia's tactics of batting Hussey so low in the order had been questioned, but they insisted it meant that all-out attack was possible. It was 48 off 17 when Mitchell Johnson arrived. It turned to 34 off the last two overs.

That was when Hussey showed his class as a batsman. Although the innings was studded with awesome power, he also gave a lesson in touch and placement. Mohammad Amir's final over was far from a disgrace, as he homed in on the blockhole in an attempt to cramp Hussey for room. Yet it cost 16 as Hussey paddle-swept the first ball for four, then ran like a whippet between the wickets to ensure he kept the strike, before a final-ball boundary set up the last-over denouement.

The jury says...

  • "An incredible knock from Hussey, one of the very best in this format. The pressure of the situation, a semi-final, against the defending champions, and up against a good bowling attack. He planned it beautifully and pulled it off perfectly." Osman Samiuddin
  • "The greatest Twenty20 knock of all time. He was reading the bowlers as if with telepathy, and hit some astonishing angles to win the game. The guy simply thrives under pressure." Ramiz Raja
  • "In a transformation of breakneck speed, Michael Hussey inflicted some serious whiplash on Pakistan, as a requirement of 48 from 17 became victory with a ball to spare, and the bounds of Twenty20 possibility were extended once again." Andrew Miller

The offspinner Saeed Ajmal was given the responsibility of the final over - a gamble by Afridi, but Ajmal had done it before. Johnson did his job by scrambling a single and Ajmal suddenly lost the fast yorker that made him tough to score off. Hussey seized on length deliveries to launch consecutive sixes; the Beausejour Stadium's decent-sized boundaries were cleared with ease. A boundary through cover then levelled the scores, but Hussey wasn't going to dink a single; his sixth six sealed an extraordinary victory. In the end, they had a ball to spare.

Hussey, a player who had achieved great scoring feats in the game, roared with raw emotion as the Australia dug-out sprinted towards him. "Michael Hussey is an absolute freak," is how Michael Clarke summed up the performance. Before this tournament Australia had struggled to embrace Twenty20 cricket, but Hussey was in no doubt about what he had achieved. "I can't believe we have won the game," he said. "This is the best feeling of my career."

Twenty20 remains a young game but this innings will stand the test of time.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by paklover444 on (February 15, 2011, 7:42 GMT)

Ya it was one of the finest innings, It always make my throat sore even when I think about was semi final of T20 WC and he played a gem of innings.....and pak lost alass alass

Posted by Something_Witty on (February 15, 2011, 3:21 GMT)

@ Joseph Ward, the context of the match has to be taken into account. Also BB's 116 was scored on one of the tiniest dinkiest little grounds in the world. - And remember in the same match, Cameron White went out and showed exactly how quickly it was possible to score there with 64* off 26 balls. The only "long hop" that Hussey hit for six was the one bowled by Saeed Ajmal on the 2nd ball of the last over. Pretty much everything else was on a good length or just missing yorker length.

Posted by   on (February 15, 2011, 1:31 GMT)

how this beats mccullums 116 i do not know. hussey was hitting long hops by spinners for six whereas mccullum was slog sweeping and mcscooping 155kph deliveries for six and for the whole innings! Poor bowling here but mccullum was great batting to great bowling.

Posted by   on (February 14, 2011, 20:49 GMT)

greatest performance of t20

Posted by straight_drive4 on (February 14, 2011, 20:01 GMT)

the best T20 knock ive ever seen

Posted by johnson49 on (February 14, 2011, 18:39 GMT)

The best ever T20I innings, absolutely brilliant. I could watch it over and over again, it shows how much Australia will miss him in the world cup. The only other contender was Jayawardene's 98, but hussey's was just incredible

Posted by   on (February 14, 2011, 15:08 GMT)

Undoubtedly one of the best all time innings in any format of limited over cricket by my favorite.

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Andrew McGlashanClose
Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
About the ESPNcricinfo Awards

The ESPNcricinfo Awards recognise the best individual batting and bowling performances in cricket over the calendar year and across the three international formats. The awards are voted on by an independent jury of former cricketers, commentators, and ESPNcricinfo's senior editors. Shortlists are drawn up by the site and made public at the start of every year, and the jury votes on the shortlisted performances to determine the final winners. Previous winners have included Virender Sehwag (twice), Adam Gilchrist, Shahid Afridi and Kumar Sangakkara.

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