March 5, 2012

Double impact

Virender Sehwag's 219 took the number of double-centuries in men's List A cricket to a neat 11. Here they are in detail

Alistair Brown, 268
Easily the highest score in senior limited-overs cricket remains Brown's astonishing 268 for Surrey against Glamorgan in a C&G Trophy match at The Oval in 2002. The free-hitting Brown - the only man with two entries on this list - hit 30 fours and 12 sixes from 160 balls: he shared an opening stand of 286 with Ian Ward (97). Glamorgan seamer Darren Thomas was left nursing figures of 3 for 108 from nine overs. "I'm probably in the best form of my life," said Brown, although he was forced to admit: "Mind you, it's 268 more than I got against Scotland a couple of weeks ago!" Even though Brown hauled Surrey to a total of 438, they came remarkably close to losing: with The Oval sporting an uncharacteristically short leg-side boundary of about 55 yards, Glamorgan's spirited reply ended up only nine short.

Graeme Pollock, 222*
The first man to reach 200 was one of the all-time greats: Pollock, the powerful South African left-hander, lashed 222 not out for Eastern Province against Border in a Gillette Cup match in East London in October 1974. Pollock admitted to a spot of good fortune: "The other captain mucked up his maths and bowled his best bowlers out early. He had to put on the part-timers at the end, so I got lucky and was able to score 78 off the last four overs." It didn't matter much: Border made no attempt at EP's 60-over total of 372 for 5, finishing with 166 for 2.

Virender Sehwag, 219
For years people had been wondering just how many Sehwag might score if he batted through the innings in a one-day international. And in Indore last December they found out (well, almost: actually he was out in the 47th over). Sehwag blasted the hapless West Indian bowlers for 25 fours and seven sixes as he joined his illustrious team-mate Sachin Tendulkar in the 200 club. Tendulkar wasn't there to see his record being broken, though - he was rested from that series and was flying to Australia at the time. Sehwag's game plan was simple: "Whenever I hit the ball into the gaps, it would go for four. Whenever I decided to hit a six, I would hit with a straight bat and it would go for six." Even he had to admit it wasn't always that easy: "This opportunity will come only once in a lifetime, and I am happy I have taken it."

Mohammad Ali, 207
Mohammad Ali (no, not that one!) is one of the lesser lights on this list. He's never yet made a hundred in a ten-year first-class career, while 31 senior one-day games have brought him just 854 runs. But nearly a quarter of those came in one innings - 207, with 24 fours and six sixes, for Pakistan Customs against the Defence Housing Authority in a Patron's Cup one-day game in Sialkot in April 2005.

Alvin Kallicharran, 206
One of the big days for a Minor County player a few years ago was the annual match against first-class opposition in the NatWest Trophy. Occasionally it produced an upset: more often a thrashing was the order of the day. One of the biggest of those came at Edgbaston in 1984, when the West Indian Test batsman Kallicharran caned Oxfordshire's part-timers for 206, as Warwickshire hurtled to 392 for 5. Just to make sure there was no argument about the Man-of-the-Match award, Kalli then dusted off his little-used offspinners and took 6 for 32.

Khalid Latif, 204*
Karachi Dolphins' captain Latif smashed 204 not out against Quetta in an RBS Cup match in Karachi in March 2009. He hit 19 fours and seven sixes, and piled on 239 for the second wicket with Asad Shafiq (105). Shafiq has since become a Test regular, while Latif has had to content himself with a handful of one-day and Twenty 20 international appearances. But he is still only 26.

Alistair Brown, 203
Brown's second entry on this list came in an AXA League match in Guildford in 1997, when he sprinted to what remains the only double-century in a senior 40-over match. Playing for Surrey against Hampshire, Brown peppered the modest boundaries - and endangered traffic in the adjacent Woodbridge Road - with 11 sixes to go with 19 fours.

Alan Barrow, 202*
Natal supporters in Durban in October 1975 groaned when the home captain, the great Barry Richards, was out for 12 in a Gillette Cup match against an South Africa African XI. But Richards' opening partner, playing his first senior one-day game, took his chance: 20-year-old Barrow, who never scored another one-day hundred, pummelled 202 not out and shared an unbeaten stand of 303 with Henry Fotheringham before Natal declared (allowed in one-day games then) at 361 for 2. Their No. 5, Bob Woolmer, never got to the crease. The overmatched African XI was then blown away for 78, and lost by 283 runs.

Ravi Bopara, 201*
Dropped by England after a disappointing 2007-08 winter, Bopara had something to prove when he returned to Essex. And several fine performances were crowned in June 2008, when in the Friends Provident Trophy quarter-final in Leicester, Bopara cracked ten sixes and 18 fours in an unbeaten 201, as his side ran up an impregnable 350 for 5 (they had been in some trouble at 37 for 3 not long after he came in at No. 4). Bopara's innings eclipsed Graham Gooch's highest score for Essex of 198, and made Grace Road the only ground to have witnessed two double-centuries in one-day cricket.

Vince Wells, 201
A dozen years after Alvin Kallicharran plundered a Minor County, Wells did likewise against Berkshire in a NatWest Trophy first-round match in Grace Road in June 1996, hitting 201 as Leicestershire galloped to 406 for 5 in their 60 overs. Berkshire made a spirited reply, reaching 300: Simon Myles and Harry Hall put on 152, with Hall making a fine century of his own.

Sachin Tendulkar, 200*
It was fitting that it was Tendulkar - the leading scorer in one-day internationals by a country mile - who collected the first double-century in the format, against South Africa in Gwalior in February 2010. It was a perfectly paced innings: he reached the landmark from the 147th and last ball he faced, in the final over of the innings, after hitting 25 fours and three sixes. MS Dhoni celebrated by clouting a couple of fours to take India past 400, and they ended up winning by 153 runs.

And... Belinda Clark, 229*
Just to stop everyone writing in, we haven't forgotten that Australia's Clark made the first double-century in official one-day internationals, male or female, with an unbeaten 229 against Denmark in Mumbai during the 1997 women's World Cup. England's Charlotte Edwards, 18 at the time, also broke the previous record (156) the same day, with 173 not out against Ireland in Pune.

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2012.