ODI batting nominees January 11, 2017

Big chases? Too easy

One-day batting just got bigger and better in 2016, as our shortlist of the best performances of the year shows

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Click here for the ODI bowling shortlist

Chris Morris
62 v England
fourth ODI, Johannesburg

Not often can a team make a total of 262 seem out of reach at the Wanderers. But if you can dismiss AB de Villiers for 36, like England did, you could be forgiven for thinking it's your day. Up 2-1, England left South Africa on the brink of a series defeat by reducing them to 210 for 8 in the 42nd over. Enter Morris, with a display of freakishly clean ball-striking ability, his strong bottom hand sending four sixes deep into the stands over midwicket when the bowlers dropped short. He also hit an assortment of drives and cuts. Perhaps most impressive was the manner in which Morris farmed the strike to protect the tail. No. 10 Kyle Abbott scored 3 in a ninth-wicket stand of 52 (off 34 balls). Morris' 62 was the highest score by a South African batting at No. 8 or lower in a successful chase.

AB de Villiers
101 not out v England
fifth ODI, Cape Town

When South Africa slipped to 22 for 3 in their chase of 237 in the series decider, all eyes were on de Villiers. He turned early restraint into natural aggression so effortlessly that the asking rate was never a factor. Playing his 200th ODI, de Villiers used his experience against an inconsistent bowling attack to get his 24th ODI hundred and lead South Africa to a 3-2 series win. "It has taken me years to feel comfortable and to feel like I have good composure in those situations," he said after the match.

Steven Smith
149 v India
first ODI, Perth

On a scorching afternoon at the WACA, India had, for the first 55 overs, turned the heat on Australia, amassing 309 and reducing the hosts to 21 for 2. The pitch, though, possessed nothing untoward for the batsmen and Australia returned to simple batting basics. Smith played out the seamers and got stuck into the spinners from the outset, leaving MS Dhoni with no one to go to. The Indian captain said afterwards that he was "disappointed with his spinners", who failed to adjust to Smith's impeccable footwork, with which he forced R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja to drop short. And when they did, he scored off the back foot. He finished with a 135-ball 149, then the third highest score for an Australia captain in ODIs.

Alex Hales' 171 is the highest ODI score by an England batsman © Getty Images

Chris Woakes
95 not out v Sri Lanka
first ODI, Trent Bridge

Two years ago England might have given up hope if they were left with just Woakes to shepherd a stiff chase. Since then, a diligent approach to batting, and a number of substantial contributions in the County Championship, helped him establish his credentials with the bat, and Woakes is now one of England's better allrounders. He showed why in a 92-ball 95 that included just four fours - a sign of how well he was able to milk the field. For most of his innings, he gave Jos Buttler strike, and found the gaps with nonchalant ease when he was facing. When Buttler fell, Woakes switched gears seamlessly, and not in a block-then-six kind of way. England needed 30 off 12; they managed 29. Woakes scored 15 of those, but the game will be remembered for Liam Plunkett's last-ball, match-tying six.

Jason Roy
162 v Sri Lanka
fourth ODI, The Oval

Jason Roy struck 13 fours and three sixes on his home ground in a merciless display of hitting that had Sri Lanka begging for clemency, and made England's chase of 308 from 42 overs seem like a dawdle. Roy's grip on the bat - hands high and tight on the handle - can occasionally have its drawbacks, but here it produced brutish ball-striking. Almost all his boundaries were the result of his fast hands through the line. When he was eventually bowled, Roy had made the then second-highest score by an England batsman.

In successful ODI chases, Virat Kohli has scored 14 hundreds, equalling a record set by Sachin Tendulkar © AFP

Alex Hales
171 v Pakistan
third ODI, Trent Bridge

After a troublesome few weeks in which his Test future hung in the balance, Hales produced this fluent, boundary-laden innings. When he decided it was time to go - around the third ball of his innings - Pakistan just couldn't find anything in their bag to make him change his mind. Trent Bridge's short boundaries were peppered: Hales hammered 22 fours and four sixes to help himself to the highest ODI score by an England batsman. Such was his command over that Tuesday afternoon that it seemed he didn't even need to change gears. He hit his last 120 runs off just 67 balls to set the tone for the highest ODI total made to date, 444 for 3.

Virat Kohli
154 not out v New Zealand
third ODI, Mohali

"We didn't bowl that badly" was James Neesham's succinct description of New Zealand's performance in the field. He was right. But New Zealand were up against a player at the top of his game, with everything in his favour. Ask Kohli what he'd have liked. A chase? Check. A bowling attack that wasn't bad, yet not fantastic? Check. Time to play himself in? Check. All of that came together to produce an innings of 154 off 134 in a chase of 286, Kohli's 26th ODI hundred in his 166th innings. New Zealand were denied any sort of chance. To put his efficiency in perspective, Kohli's average after his innings was 90.10 in successful chases.

In 23 ODI innings last year, David Warner made 1388 runs at 63.09 © Cricket Australia

Quinton de Kock
178 v Australia
first ODI, Centurion

De Kock's height entices bowlers to drop short. It's not exactly a tactic, but it plays right into de Kock's fast hands, especially in the Highveld. By the time an inexperienced Australia finally grasped why they were being pummelled repeatedly into the stands, de Kock was chugging along like a freight train. Fuller lengths was crisply driven through the off side, to show that shot was part of his repertoire. Almost all his boundaries came in the arc between long-on and midwicket, a result of a strong bottom hand and a closed bat face. Nine of de Kock's 11 sixes came in that area. He finished with the second highest score by a South African.

Centurion sentinel: de Kock has scored four hundreds and two fifties at the ground and his strike rate is 105.24 © AFP

David Miller
118 not out v Australia
third ODI, Durban

South Africa were making good ground in a steep chase of 372 in Durban, but losing 3 for 39 at one point meant they still required 193 off 26 overs against a team desperate to stay alive in the series. A scintillating 79-ball knock of pure striking from Miller at his home ground killed Australia's hopes, and delivered to South Africa the second biggest successful chase in ODIs. As he ran out of partners, the onus was continually on Miller to produce the bulk of the runs and keep the asking rate in check. Even his fans, who had endured months of inconsistency leading up to this match, would have had their doubts. Not Miller, who bludgeoned Australia's bowlers into the record books with a typical exhibition of brute force.

David Warner
156 v New Zealand
third ODI, Melbourne

David Warner didn't have a great 2016 in Tests, but he was sublime in coloured clothes. He ended it with one of his best centuries in the format, his seventh ODI hundred of the year. On a sluggish pitch on which no batsman found run-scoring easy, Australia were struggling at 73 for 4 against an attack that kept plugging away. Warner, though, going by his fluency, was batting on a featherbed. He was run out off the final ball of the innings for 156 off 128 balls in a total of 264, outscoring his team-mates and New Zealand, who were shot out for 147.

Click here for the ODI bowling shortlist

Nikhil Kalro is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo