ODI batting nominees

Three from one game

Several memorable World Cup innings, including a trio from the final, and the second double-hundred in ODIs

Siddarth Ravindran

January 12, 2012

Comments: 66 | Text size: A | A

Click here for the ODI bowling shortlist


Kevin O'Brien smashed England all over Bangalore, England v Ireland, World Cup 2011, Bangalore, March 2, 2011
Kevin O'Brien: Minnow? What minnow? © Getty Images
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Shane Watson
185 not out v Bangladesh

second ODI, Mirpur
In the non-stop merry-go-round of international cricket, a three-ODI series between Australia and Bangladesh is likely to be low profile. The scheduling - a week after the World Cup - was another reason for it to head for oblivion. Watson, though, played the innings that people will remember it by. A world-record tally of sixes, the highest score by an Australian in an ODI, and a mind-boggling 79.74% of the runs scored in the innings were some of the records that tumbled as he hammered his way to an unbeaten 185. So brutal was the onslaught that Australia overhauled Bangladesh's effort of 229 in 26 overs.

Andrew Strauss
158 v India

World Cup, Bangalore
Strauss is among the more accomplished Test openers, but his one-day credentials aren't as sound. Though you wouldn't have guessed that when he was silencing the cauldron that was the Chinnaswamy Stadium during India's first home World Cup game. Set a seemingly unobtainable 339 to win, Strauss responded first with a "Lads, we can chase this" at the break and then with the highest score by an Englishman in World Cup history, which piloted England to 281 for 2 by the 43rd over. It wasn't all slam-bang either - 80 runs came in singles and twos, with Strauss showing his mastery against spin.

Ross Taylor
131 not out v Pakistan

World Cup, Pallekele
Few innings are as dual-natured as Ross Taylor's form-regaining 131, at Pallekele. Initially his feet didn't move and outside edges were the norm - and Kamran Akmal gave him a birthday gift by shelling one of the simplest chances of the World Cup. Even so, Taylor had scratched his way to 69 off 108 deliveries. He then pummelled a barely believable 62 from his final 16. His partnership with Jacob Oram had the best strike rate of any 50-plus stand in ODI history. The Pakistan bowling went to pieces, and the boundary was short, but Taylor's timing during the final barrage was top-class - he even sent one delivery out of the ground.

Kevin O'Brien
113 v England

World Cup, Bangalore
At 111 for 5, chasing 328, the game seemed pretty much over, especially since it was Ireland pursuing England. No one told O'Brien that. He stunned England with the fastest century in World Cups, and helped Ireland script one of their great sporting victories. The impossible begun to look probable during the batting Powerplay - taken early by Ireland - in which O'Brien and Co. thumped 62. As striking as the power-packed shots that took him to a hundred off 50 deliveries, was the pink hairdo he revealed when he took off his cap to celebrate the milestone.

Mahela Jayawardene
103 not out v India

World Cup final, Mumbai
No century in a World cup final had been scored in a losing cause until Mahela Jayawardene's lyrical unbeaten 103. His masterclass was proof that finesse has as much of a place at this level as brutality, but it was not enough to deny India their destiny. Four years previously, at Sabina Park, Jayawardene had produced a supreme century against New Zealand to carry his side to their second World Cup final, but this was an innings of even more exquisite application. He came to the crease with his side under the cosh at 60 for 2 in the 17th over. But he responded with a tempo that scarcely wavered from a run a ball, until, with Nuwan Kulasekara for company, he opened his shoulders to power through to his hundred.

Gautam Gambhir
97 v Sri Lanka

World Cup final, Mumbai
When India lost Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar early during the high-pressure chase of the World Cup final, Gambhir responded with a 122-ball statement of indomitability. Battling back pain for the second half of his innings, he crafted an 83-run stand with Virat Kohli that set the stage for a turnaround, before combining for a fluent 109 with MS Dhoni - the highest partnership between an Indian pair in three World Cup finals. The highlight of both partnerships was the manner in which the batsmen soaked up the pressure, kept the risks to a minimum, and yet scored their runs at an excellent rate. An unforgettable century beckoned but a tired attempt at a slog ended Gambhir's innings at 97, and robbed him of a Man-of-the-Match award.


Virender Sehwag reacts after getting to a double-ton, India v West Indies, 4th ODI, Indore, December 8, 2011
What was all that fuss about a one-day double? © Associated Press
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MS Dhoni
91 not out v Sri Lanka

World Cup final, Mumbai
Entering the final, Dhoni was in some of the stickiest form of his career. His highest score in two World Cups was 34, and he had already made some unpopular captaincy calls during the tournament. That didn't prevent him from audaciously promoting himself ahead of the eventual Man of the Series, Yuvraj Singh, and playing the gold standard for a captain's innings. Once again showing a sense for the occasion, Dhoni reverted to the mixture of the power and placement that has kept him near the top of the ODI batting rankings for a few years. And he finished it all off in inimitable style - a monstrous six over long-on, which may go on to become the most replayed shot in cricket history, followed by a casual twirl of the bat as though it was the end of a street cricket match.

Malcolm Waller
99 not out v New Zealand

third ODI, Bulawayo
When your team is on a 12-match losing streak across formats and the opposition has racked up 328 in a one-dayer, the expected response is to roll over for another defeat. Waller thought otherwise, answering with the innings of his life to pilot Zimbabwe to victory with one wicket and one ball to spare. He put on a match-turning 112-run sixth wicket stand with Elton Chigumbura to take the total to 295 for 5. There were some final nerves as he was dropped twice in the penultimate over, before he unselfishly and nervelessly clipped a single off the fifth ball of the final over to seal the win and remain unbeaten on 99.

Ricky Ponting
104 v India

World Cup, Ahmedabad
In what was almost certainly Ponting's final World Cup match for Australia, he produced a century that was a microcosm of Ponting the man. It had skill, grit, bloody-mindedness and daring. It was Ponting. It will probably be his only knock that won't be remembered for many scintillating shots and will instead be cherished for how responsibly he curbed his natural strokeplay. There was tremendous poise in how he dealt with the slow pitch, and a great amount of skill in the way he handled spin. Ponting showed his resolve in the way he held the Australian innings together and admirable character to do it when he wasn't in great form, on such a big stage, to bring up his first international hundred in 13 months.

Virender Sehwag
219 v West Indies

fourth ODI, Indore
Sehwag, the batsman most touted to break Sachin Tendulkar's record for the highest individual ODI score, didn't merely break it - he shattered it and raised the bar so high that it's hard to imagine anyone, apart from Sehwag himself, going past the new mark. Unlike Tendulkar in Gwalior, Sehwag wasn't running out of time as he raced towards 200 in Indore. He got there in the 44th over and had made 219 off 149 balls by the time he was dismissed in the 47th. Sehwag's performance led India to 418 for 5, their highest ODI total, and sealed victory in the five-match series against West Indies. It was an innings characteristic of Sehwag's approach to batting. He hit his second ball for four and simply did not stop.

Click here for the ODI bowling shortlist

Pick your favourite performance here

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by chuck.of.all.trades on (January 14, 2012, 20:45 GMT)

KoB for me! What an innings, what an innings!

Posted by Longmemory on (January 14, 2012, 20:10 GMT)

In 5 years time - possibly far less - nobody will remember any of these matches or innings. Well maybe a few diehard fans in each of the countries will remember a particular knock - that's about it. This meaningless and endless charade of one-day games has been exposed for what it is with the test matches currently going on in Australia and South Africa. The likes of Dhoni, Gambhir, Sehwag and so many others have been exposed as useless batters - unless the bowler is hemmed in with all kinds of idiotic rules and restrictions. This one-day stuff, especially in the subcontinent, bears as much relationship to the real game as a dartboard game in your den bears to an Olympic archery contest.

Posted by   on (January 13, 2012, 19:21 GMT)

I think Kevin O Brian's innings is the best. Sehwag's 218 was achieved on a flat track at Gwalior and a totally one sided match.

Kevin O Brian's innings clearly turned the game around, which would be the most famous upset in cricket history.

Posted by Saksham197 on (January 13, 2012, 12:50 GMT)

@valleypf.. This is a list of innings in 2011, and not all time, pretty evident that, considering soo many are from the world cup of 2011. You should have noticed that. And definitely this should go to Kevin O'Brien, for doing something soo miraculous for an Irish cricketer against virtually all odds.

Posted by valleypf on (January 13, 2012, 5:13 GMT)

Just admit you forgot Adam Gilchrist's 149 off 104 balls to destroy Sri Lanka in the 07 Final? Please tell me you forgot as it surely is one of the most telling ODI innings ever.

Posted by   on (January 13, 2012, 5:10 GMT)

It should be Kevin O'Brien

Posted by   on (January 13, 2012, 4:19 GMT)

How about Ryan ten Doeschate's innings (119 off 110 balls ; 9x4s + 3x6s) for Neds vs England in the WC 2011?

Posted by __PK on (January 13, 2012, 2:15 GMT)

Watson's innings is statistically the most astonishing innings in history. Don't forget, his 185 was cut short when Australia passed the run target WITH 24 OVERS REMAINING! If it had been the first innings Watson could have batted conservatively at about 4 runs per over from that point and still have made 300.

Posted by   on (January 13, 2012, 1:40 GMT)

My apologies, looks like 2011 only although I couldn't find it anywhere in the article.

But Watto's 161* against England WAS 2011 and was a successful, difficult chase on a big ground. Can't comment on all of them, but it was vastly better than his 181, or Ponting's 104, even allowing for context.

Posted by   on (January 13, 2012, 1:33 GMT)

The three best Aussie innings are categorically as follows: Ponting's 140* in 2003 WC final Gilchrist's 147 in 2007 WC final Watson's 161* (successfully) chasing against England

Best non-Aussie innings I have seen was: Gibbs' 175* (successfully) chasing 434

Preference obviously to successful (difficult) chases and World Cup finals.

The list is mostly rubbish

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