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

Posted by RandyOZ on (January 12, 2012, 23:24 GMT)

Clearly Wattos 185 was the best. An attack hasn't been dominated like that since Gilly.

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 21:37 GMT)

I have a feeling that Sehwag's double will get the vote. However, personally, I feel that Kevin O'Brien's innings was of much higher class. Arguably, it was against a better bowling attack, and against the tide of the game. India were always going to beat the West Indies, so there wasn't as much pressure on Sehwag as there was on O'Brien. Also special metion to Malcolm Waller, wh oplayed a class innings, and didn't go for his ton, rather went for the win. What a wel measured kid.

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 19:57 GMT)

how come Abdul Razzak innings against S Africa is not here , it was one of the best odi match n one of the best odi inning played

Posted by Harmony111 on (January 12, 2012, 19:09 GMT)

If the match significance is not considered then Ross Tayor's was the best innings. That inninga had two diff flavors and the last 5 overs carnage was unbelievable. Strauss's innings should not have been there and neither Ponting's. My 2nd fav would be Malcom Waller - that man just kept his cool. The 3rd one would be Kevin O'Brien. If match significance is considered then Gambhir's 97 and then Dhoni's 91 are the best innings.

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 18:49 GMT)

Gambhir & Ross Taylor & also sahid afridi 75 & 5 wicket hall

Posted by kempson94 on (January 12, 2012, 18:47 GMT)

Strauss' 158 was the greatest English ODI performance ever, possibly even the greatest ever bar none. O'Brien and Watson's were sensational to watch but pretty much slogs in a far from pressure situation. Waller showed that playing for Zimbabwe does not make you a poor cricketer, suggesting that the attitude and determination within the team will soon lift them above Bangladesh to challenge WI and New Zealand. Therefore, Strauss is undoubtedly 1, followed by Watson in 2nd and O'Brien 3rd purely for excitement value, although Waller and Dhoni were also excellent.

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 18:24 GMT)

O'Brien. Hands down. Just... yeah.

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 17:17 GMT)

Kev O'Brien for sure.... noting can top that... :)

Posted by PakiLegacy on (January 12, 2012, 16:53 GMT)

Not sure why 20/20 games are not mentioned here but Michael Hussey's innings in the WC semi final against Pakistan should be listed here.

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 16:49 GMT)

Gambhir's was most influential

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 16:34 GMT)

Ricky´s innings in the world cup against in this list ? Siddarth Ravindran either you have taken sycophancy to new heights or this article is in contention for all fool´s day prize. Mate this was another selflish innings from a captain who wanted to put his personal performance over the team´s objective. For most of the innings the strike rate was less than 70 and made job of opposition team all the more easier.

Posted by Kri_91India on (January 12, 2012, 16:01 GMT)

@EspnCricinfo. Please correct your facts. It was Dhoni who was suffering from back pain and cramps during second half of his innings. I recommend you to go back and watch the footages again. Anyways, coming to ODI innings, definitely MS Dhoni's World Cup innings. The Indian Captain was outstanding in the night of the Finals. Hats off MS. A fearless ODI player, and as proved by him in this game and ODIs this year, the best ODI finisher in the World right now.

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 15:50 GMT)

First 3 are::Kevin O'Brien(unbelievable battng shw against a gd bowlng attack),,,Ross Taylor(liteally murdered Akthar and Razzaq),,,Dhoni(captain cool guidng his team to a historical vctory)...

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 14:56 GMT)

Sehwag sehwag sehwag!! i don't think any one on that list can break his record(except himself). kevin O brien and Waller rank 2nd.

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 14:38 GMT)

O'briens without a shadow of a doubt

Posted by jokerbala on (January 12, 2012, 13:29 GMT)

Kevin O Brein for sure, it earned an almost single handed victory against a top international side when his team were reeling. Besides there is always a bias towards performances during the second half of the match be it batting or bowling in ODIs.

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 13:26 GMT)

Kevin O'Brien's inning was most memorable!!!

Posted by sfitzy777 on (January 12, 2012, 13:14 GMT)

World Cup Final - West Indies

Adam Gilchrist - walks out in the final against Sri Lanka and with a squashball in his wrist murdered the attack and the downcast looks on the Sri Lankan player are as dark as the weather - never has a single innings in such an important game demoralised a team like that one did.

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 13:11 GMT)

Gambhir innings after two quick blows, in a pressure filled World cup final is a gem of a game. Its all time best even if he had missed out a ton.

Posted by ds_cricket_test on (January 12, 2012, 12:56 GMT)

Top 3 - Dhoni s WC wining knock, Jayawardenes classic hundred, and Sehwag s massive double!

Posted by DAHSUT on (January 12, 2012, 12:56 GMT)

kevin o'brien all the way

Posted by Raj_759 on (January 12, 2012, 11:29 GMT)

ricky pontings 104 was simply not good enough to be included in this list it was slow and contrary to the description was the most un-ponting innings ever played by ricky, coz it had no flair and very limited strokeplay.

Posted by Tigg on (January 12, 2012, 10:51 GMT)

For me it has to be either Watto, Strauss or O'Brien.

Watson would have scored a triple ton if he'd had the time, Strauss played possibly the innings of the world cup and O'Brien was about the minnows standing up to the big dogs and taking them on.

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 10:13 GMT)

Its a nice team selected by cricinfo.The best one from the above one is of Kevin O'Brien 113 v England.This inning from O'Brien was far different the other shortlisted players.

Posted by msrajani on (January 12, 2012, 9:56 GMT)

One more innings deserve to be listed here, When Afridi's 75 lifted Pakistan from 97-6 to tight 200.Later h also took five wickets to choke them when they were on comfortable 155-3 to chase target.If theres is any Best Match list for player My vote will be for him as he lifted pakistan on both occasion when needed.

Posted by zn264 on (January 12, 2012, 9:23 GMT)

Taylor's innings was EPIC! I have never seen someone hit the ball to the boundary like that repeatedly. He needs a few more innings like that at home this summer to really show his fellow countrymen he is the man to lead this new Black Caps side.

Posted by add2dxb on (January 12, 2012, 8:54 GMT)

Only Viru because he made a world record for double ton .......jai ho viru !!!

Posted by harshacc on (January 12, 2012, 8:52 GMT)

Ross Taylor's innings probably had the most impact.The WC final batsmen probably made runs under most pressure,Waller and Kevin O'Brien stories might appeal to the cricket romantic cheering for the underdog but Sehwag getting 219 stands alone

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 8:44 GMT)

kevin O' brien ofcourse..no one expected such an inning from the underdogs...

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 7:31 GMT)

Serously where is 161* by Watson chasing a huge target against England at Melbourne. It was a much better innings than 185* vs Bang. I'm pretty sure he would agree. I am not sure if Ponting's 104 should feature here. Only noteworthy thing about that innings was that it was his first in 13 months. I am also surprised that none of Amla's and de Villier's knock made it to the list.

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 7:20 GMT)

Kevin O'Brien by far. The gutsiest innings that really stood out in 2011

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 7:00 GMT)

I wud rather suggest world cup scores by Gauti n Dhoni is the best coz these two wer the crucial innings which made us the world champion, wer as all others wer in League stages. I will not say other innings are not important but these two r the most important..

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 6:39 GMT)

Viru and Dhoni were awesome !!!!

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 6:35 GMT)

The one which really mattered at the end was the knock of Gambhir which helped India win the world cup. Under pressure he lead India back into the game. Strauss' and Kevin O'Brian's are the only other two innings worth mentioning from the World Cup. Besides that, Sehwag's world record of course can't be ignored.

Posted by viki_08 on (January 12, 2012, 6:25 GMT)

My vote goes to kevin o brien that innings was something special

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 6:22 GMT)

Best innings was Gautam Gambhir's 97 v Sri Lanka in World Cup final, Mumbai

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 6:21 GMT)

kevin obriens innings was a gem of an innings...totally changed the scenario of minnow countries participation ...and ppl's interest in them!!!!!!!!cannot forget !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 5:59 GMT)

Watson could have easily broken Sehwag's record.... he still had over 24 overs left....

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 5:45 GMT)

Sehwag.....Sehwag....The title is Brutal....so it obviously goes to Sehwag....

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 5:29 GMT)

O'Brien's innings was easily the most memorable. More people expected Sehwag to hit a double century in his career than O'Brien to do what he did, and that is what makes it so special.

Posted by gururajan23 on (January 12, 2012, 5:27 GMT)

Kevin O'Brain is my favourite - he shown that minnnows cant be taken for granted and cricket has potential to grow if nurtured. I watched all innnings though Watson and Sehwag made me awe nothing gave more pleasure than Kevin's.

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 5:20 GMT)

No doubt its sehwag 219 thats uncomparable he is feb

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 5:08 GMT)

The amazing Sachin century against England, should have also been listed...

Posted by DrAtharAbbas on (January 12, 2012, 5:03 GMT)

A very interesting point here is: Pakistan won the most matches in 2011 against all oppositions: Why isn't an innings listed here from a Pakistani batsman : the answer is pretty revealing. THEY ARE WINNING AS A TEAM AND NOT DUE TO ONE PERSON"S HEROICS. All matches are like that. It is as amazing as it can get for Pakistani's. They are very predictably winning and winning as a team, combined efforts where everyone contributes. No heroics needed. there are no stars, no GODs. just simple combined team effort BRILLIANT

Posted by Poliwag060 on (January 12, 2012, 4:57 GMT)

Got to be Kevin O'Brien just for the sheer unexpected nature of it. It was a quality innings and proves that Associates, especially Ireland, deserve their chance to compete against the Full Members.

Posted by satish619chandar on (January 12, 2012, 4:54 GMT)

From the options, it should be Waller.. Everything was against.. Chasing, lost the matches before by a good margin, Coming in when set batsmen fell soon, Suddenly lost partners at end and finished it at the end.. Was very happy that he didn't worry about the 100 and completed the single when the ball was clearly heading towards boundary.. When this year saw a batsman helping other to get 100, and same guy playing for milestone and changed tempo and talks on 100th 100 having effect on a player who scored 99 before and everything, it was really refreshing to see a guy happy with win and not caring about his score.. He deserves it more than KOB and Gambhir my next bests in same order..

Posted by smudgeon on (January 12, 2012, 4:54 GMT)

To me, Kevin O'Brien's innings is the winner, hands-down. You couldn't script it better.

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 4:34 GMT)

Gauti's innings is the best of the lot coz of the tym he went in. Sehwag was dismissed early, Tendulkar followed him soon. Then it was on the shoulders of Gauti and young Kohli to take India home and most importantly without making any further damage.

Posted by jonesy2 on (January 12, 2012, 4:18 GMT)

wattos 161 against england? cmon guys

Posted by dinosaurus on (January 12, 2012, 4:11 GMT)

What about Gilchrist's amazing innings in the final in the Caribbean?

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (January 12, 2012, 4:08 GMT)

Hard to choose between Watson's 185* and Kevin O Brien's knock in the World Cup. Yes, we all know Watson got 185* against Bangladesh, but in reality, that was the most scariest destructive form I have ever seen a batsman in. Every other ball was smashed for 6 and by quite a large margin as well. He got his 185 at the halfway mark and I fear that if Australia was batting first, the first triple century in ODI's would have been gotten that day

Posted by sidzy on (January 12, 2012, 4:05 GMT)

waston at mcg vs eng desvers a mention & was best for me.

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 3:54 GMT)

There's been some great ODI knocks. And my short list would probably be Gambhir's 97, Dhoni's 91, and Sehwag's 219.

Although Jayawardene scored a brilliant century it wasn't enough to win the match. Gambhir's 97 might not have been as flashy as Dhoni's 91 with the cup winning 6 but one has to remember that india was at 33/2. And if it wasn't for Gambhir steadying the ship and scoring one of the best ODI knocks under pressure, India might have well lost that game. Its sad to see that if he had scored 3 more runs he would have got the man of the match. 3 runs shouldn't make that much of a difference right? Thats why I think Gambhir's 97 is probably the best ODI knock of 2011 :).

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 3:38 GMT)

has to be Kevin O'Brien's innings

Posted by   on (January 12, 2012, 3:28 GMT)

Sehwag didn't make a hundred in the world cup, it makes the whole list seem unreliable

Posted by nzcricket174 on (January 12, 2012, 3:27 GMT)

Kevin O'Brien or Ross Taylor for me. O'Brien's century was just pure magic and devastation. Ross Taylor's meant so much for the team, as he struggled so hard for 50 then cut loose afterwards.

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