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Gilly goes gonzo, and Malinga strikes
January 30, 2008
Daryll Cullinan and Tony Greig weigh in on the top ODI performances of 2007
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Best ODI Batting Performance

A blast in Barbados: Gilchrist takes the aerial route © AFP

Adam Gilchrist: 149 v Sri Lanka, World Cup final

Daryll Cullinan: Adam Gilchrist had a quiet World Cup by his standards, and leading up to the final he had only scored 304 runs in ten innings. He battled with his game, getting out in odd fashion, and it was really the form of Matthew Hayden, which carried Australia upfront. But things change, and if ever there is a man for the big occasion, it's Gilchrist. It was his third world Cup final - on the two previous occasion he had gone past fifty - and he left his best for last.

It wasn't that easy batting upfront, with Australia batting first, but the way Gilchrist played, it just defied that belief. The crispness of his ball-striking was clean, and he was very selective upfront, which allowed him the chance to lay a foundation.

Then it was Gilchrist of the old, and at his best - those trademark flicks and pick-ups through the on-side; some good, straight powerful hitting; and when the ball was up to the bat, he launched into it. It was a selective innings and it was an innings by a genius on an occasion which really required someone to be at their best.

It just underlined the belief that everyone has felt, and particularly with his retirement, that if ever there was a better batsman-cum-keeper in the game, then certainly in our time we have not seen it. For Gilchrist it was a crowning glory, and it really took Australia all the way.

It will be remembered for his ball-striking, the way he got himself in, played straight and how when he hit it, it stayed hit. A great performance and he thoroughly deserves the best one-day batting performance of the year.

Tony Greig: Adam Gilchrist's 149 against Sri Lanka in the World Cup final was just out of the world. Australia put the seal on the most dominant campaign in World Cup history, securing their fourth title and their third in a row since 1999, thanks to Adam Gilchrist's 149 off only 104 balls.

For all the romantic notion that Sri Lanka brought to their second final appearance in four tournaments - the mysteries of their bowling attack and the impishness of their batsmen, Australia's ruthlessness was absolute as they extended their unbeaten run in World Cup matches to 29 since May 1999. It was Adam Gilchrist who stormed to the fore, demonstrating the eye for the big occasion that is the preserve of very few players - and believe me he is one.

This was his third scene-stealer in consecutive World Cup finals - against Pakistan at Lords in 1999, he cracked 54 of 36 balls; four years later in Johannesburg, he made 57 off 48, but nothing quite compared to this. Once the sun had come out, and Gilchrist had gauged the pace and bounce of this rock-hard and true surface, there was just no reining him in.

Adam Gilchrist's innings was the highest ever made in the World Cup final, and we are unlikely to witness such a dominating innings in such a big game for a long time.

Best ODI Bowling Performance

Lasith Malinga: 4 for 54 v South Africa, World Cup Super Eights

Daryll Cullinan: It was a quiet match - South Africa against Sri Lanka. It wasn't quiet after Malinga got the ball, though.

Just a recap: Sri Lanka had batted first; they hadn't batted well at all. They were 209 all out and South Africa got there with nine down, but not without drama and a brilliant bowling performance by Malinga, which really put him on the map. Everyone was aware of his unusualness and his talent, but when it comes to really making a name for yourself, the World Cup is the stage, and Malinga did it in emphatic fashion.

Malinga: killer sequence © AFP

South Africa had five wickets in hand and they only required four runs to win. Despite Sri Lanka making only 209, South Africa hadn't really got on top of the Sri Lankan bowling attack. They got there slowly and cautiously on the back of a well played 86 from Jacques Kallis, but one sensed that with the ball reverse swinging, and the deadly pace of Malinga, something was going to happen. And Malinga did not disappoint.

After removing the likes of [Shaun] Pollock and other in-form batsmen with a mixture of slow balls and fast ones that were reverse swinging, suddenly South Africa still required four to win with nine wickets down. Malinga should have, in fact, got five in five. He beat [Charl] Langeveldt, who was late on the stroke - he hadn't picked it up ¬- and survived by sheer luck. The ball shaved off stump. Had Malinga got it straight, it would have been one of the most incredible victories and one of the most brilliant bowling performances one-day cricket has ever seen.

What was great about Malinga's performance was - there is no doubt in his talent - that in an age where technical analysis of the game is so important, he has come along with pace and an unusual action. Sri Lanka may have lost the game, but one felt that even after a not-so-great batting performance they had the belief that they could go on to the World Cup final, which they did in the end.

It was an exciting performance, which put a man on the map and deservedly so, and it was probably one of the performances of the 2007 World Cup.

Tony Greig: Lasith Malinga produced an extraordinary spell of fast bowling when he strung together a devastating sequence of four wickets in four balls, and in so doing threatened to produce the greatest one-day turnaround, against South Africa.

South Africa needed a mere four runs to win with five wickets in hand when Malinga was given the ball. He fooled Shaun Pollock with a superb slower delivery, and then fired a yorker at Andrew Hall who spooned it to cover. His first ball of the next over produced a hat trick, the fifth one in World Cup history, when Jacques Kallis - big wicket that was - nicked him to the wicketkeeper. Then another great delivery nailed Makhaya Ntini.

As it turned out, South Africa scrambled to a dramatic one-wicket victory in a heart-stopping World Cup clash. Before Malinga's feat, no bowler in one-day history had managed four in four. Saqlain Mushtaq, I think, managed four in five. South Africa tried to laugh off the tag of chokers, but they were within a hair's breadth, on that day, of doing what even they have never done before.

Lasith Malinga, without doubt, was the star of game. He took four for 54 in 9.2 overs, and four wickets in four balls. What a performance.

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Comments: 3 
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Posted by anilkumar on (January 30, 2008, 13:54 GMT)

Gilchrist has taken Australia to new heights with his stupendous work behind and in front of the wickets. He could have played a year more.

Posted by m.a.c. on (January 30, 2008, 9:28 GMT)

He is not one of the best opening batsman,but BEST. Every batsman has a favourite shot and if you see Gilchrist every stroke comming out of his bat appears his favourite one and I do not hesitate to put my comment that rising,lifting deliveries attacking rib cage of fearsome pace are best dealt by Gilly only with most of the time one bounce and ball crossing the rope or high flying in to the stands. He has the Biggest and Bravest Heart like Desmond and Gordon. He carries always broad smile.

I can write pages n pages on Gilly the GREATEST.

Best of Luck for the remaining One Days and for the whole of his life. Muhammed Afzel

Posted by mychamps on (January 30, 2008, 4:24 GMT)

adam gilchrist is the greatest wicket keeper ever in the history of cricket.he has changed the defination of "wicket keeper".his innings of 149 at wc final was one of the best ever of ODIs.even in the final of wc 2003 he gave aussies a flying start.

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