Shane Watson retires March 27, 2016

Champions Trophy heroics, and a boundary-laden assault in Dhaka

ESPNcricinfo picks out five of Shane Watson's best innings in ODIs and T20Is

Shane Watson led Australia to the Champions Trophy title in 2009, with centuries in the semi-final and final © AFP

136* v England, Centurion, 2009

The 2009 Champions Trophy didn't exactly start well for Shane Watson, who made ducks in Australia's first two matches against West Indies and India. But come the semi-final, he found his touch against England. Set 258 for victory, Australia lost Tim Paine in the second over but lost no more wickets as Watson and Ricky Ponting completed the chase on their own. It wasn't easy early on for Watson, who had to work hard to rotate the strike, but once he got going he was unstoppable. He finished with an unbeaten 136 from 132 balls and led Australia to the tournament final.

105 v New Zealand, Centurion, 2009

And Watson carried that momentum into the final. He started the tournament with a pair of ducks and finished it with a pair of centuries. Chasing 201 to lift the Champions Trophy, Australia made a shaky start and were 6 for 2 when Paine and Ponting both departed early. But Watson steered the innings safely from there, with the help of Cameron White and James Hopes. Watson finished the match with consecutive sixes off Jeetan Patel, the last one also bringing up his century from his 129th delivery. Ricky Ponting was Player of the Tournament, but Watson was the reason Australia won the Champions Trophy.

185* v Bangladesh, Dhaka, 2011

The highest ODI score by an Australian, Watson's unbeaten 185 against Bangladesh will also go down as his highest score in international cricket. "It's just one of those days where everything that you try comes out of the middle of the bat, a mis-hit goes into the gap or you get dropped," Watson said after the match. He also wanted to run as little as possible in the hot and humid conditions, and struck 15 fours and 15 sixes, a remarkable tally that meant 150 of his 185 runs had come in boundaries. Just as remarkable was that Australia were only chasing 230; Watson nearly got them on his own. It remains the highest score in the second innings of an ODI.

Shane Watson blitzed 124 against India in Sydney, the highest score by a T20I captain © Getty Images

70 v South Africa, Colombo, 2012

Consider this entry representative of Watson through the entire World T20 of 2012. On his muscular shoulders he carried Australia through the group stage, top scoring in all of their first four games. In this match against South Africa, Australia were set 147 for victory and Watson struck 70 from 47 deliveries; he was out with 38 runs still needed but had done enough to set up the win. That win proved adequate to see Australia into the semi-finals, where they lost to the eventual champions West Indies. But Watson was named Player of the Tournament.

124* v India, Sydney, 2016

For a number of reasons this was an innings of note. Captain Aaron Finch was injured and several of Australia's key men had already flown to New Zealand to prepare for a Test series, so Watson was asked to captain the T20 side for the first time. Having batted down the order earlier in the series, he moved back up to open and struck an unbeaten 124 from 71 deliveries, including ten fours and six sixes. It was the highest score by a T20 international captain and the second highest score in all of T20 internationals, as well as the second hundred by an Australian. It wasn't Watson's fault that Australia's total of 197 proved insufficient.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Saad on March 29, 2016, 1:14 GMT

    I would also add 150 he scored against England at MCG before 2011 WC

  • Sanjay on March 28, 2016, 20:22 GMT

    If I was picking a limited overs team and had Kallis or Watto at my disposal but could only pick one, it would be Watto everytime. I lost count of the number of times Kallis batted at snail's pace in ODIs for a man with such batting ability. I reckon Kallis got away with a lot of scrutiny and he almost always batted at one spot (#4) for most of his career.

    Watto on the other hand has batted everywhere; that proves his versatility. Don't recall any whinings from him either. As many have mentioned, Oz will feel his absence now that he's gone. Mitchell Marsh does look promising but it's hard to see him being good enough to open and like Watto he too tends to get injured. However, despite all the injury issues, Watto had a very long career.

  • Sanjay on March 28, 2016, 20:21 GMT

    @Paul Phillips: What about yesterday's perf? Didn't do much wrong, only he kept Oz in the game. Or maybe he made the mistake of taking the catch that dismissed Yuvi. With a couple more overs of confused Yuvi, India would surely have been out of it.

  •   Paul Phillips on March 28, 2016, 19:44 GMT

    As had been the case for Watson for a lot of his career, his 124 vs India this year came when the series was over. If you look back through his record, you will find numerous occasions where he failed to fire at the start of the series, only to do well when the series had been decided. That's in all forms of the game. He didn't handle pressure particularly well, and Australia should have recognised that and let him bat down the order.

  • Sanjay on March 28, 2016, 18:39 GMT

    Watson goes down as one of those rare players who wasn't appreciated by his own fans. Much admired outside of Oz and especially appreciated in India where he's put in sterling performances for the Rajasthan Royals franchise.

    The list above makes terrific reading. That 185 against Bangla is one they should play all the time on cricket channels.

    Agreed with others who point out his bowling. In his last game, we saw his fielding prowess. Overall, his career is far better than Flintoff's but for some reason he appeared to be in awe of Freddie who apart from the Ashes 2005 series did little of note.

    Enjoy your international retirement, Watto, and I hope to see you playing some domestic cricket before you hang up your boots for the very last time.

  • purushothaman on March 28, 2016, 9:29 GMT

    Modern era allround genius after jacques kallis

  • sri on March 28, 2016, 5:01 GMT

    His 6 consecutive sixes (3+3) in T20 wc 2010 against 'Sir Jadeja ' still haunts me. Could have played till 2017 CT. Anyways all the best for his future endeavors.

  • Nicholas on March 27, 2016, 22:11 GMT

    All of the focus here unsurprising on his batting, but his useful 'nagging' bowling and decent fielding should never be forgotten either. So often in so many games, it was Watson's knack of prizing out key wickets and/or keeping the pressure at one end, when all of the limelight was cast upon his pacier compadres, that swung matches in Australia's favour. Kuddos Watto; you'll be missed from the international scene.

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