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ESPNcricinfo Awards

ESPNcricinfo Awards 2007 ODI batting nominees: de Villiers goes berserk, Gilchrist squashes Sri Lanka

Some outrageous batting in our shortlist

Paul Collingwood engineered England's great escape in the first CB Series final  •  Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Paul Collingwood engineered England's great escape in the first CB Series final  •  Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Jacob Oram
101 not out vs Australia
CB Series, Perth

In the 13 months before this match, Australia had twice lost after scoring over 330 and Oram threatened to make it three times unlucky for them after New Zealand were set 344 to win. When he walked out to bat at No. 6, 194 runs were required, and there were fewer than 23 overs in which to get them. Oram took 21 balls to hit his first boundary but went on a rampage thereafter. Michael Clarke was smashed for consecutive sixes and a four, and even Glenn McGrath and Nathan Bracken were hit for sixes. Oram's 137-run partnership with Brendon McCullum was scored at more than a run and a half a ball, and his 71-ball century, which contained six sixes, was the fastest by a New Zealander before Craig McMillan bettered it a month later. But New Zealand were always way behind the required run-rate, and when Oram reached his century, in the last over, New Zealand needed an improbable 14 from two balls. Australia won by eight runs.
Paul Collingwood
120 not out vs Australia
CB Series, first final, Melbourne

England began well by bowling Australia out for 252 but their chase went awry when they were reduced to 15 for 3 in the first six overs. Collingwood, who hit a century in the previous match, joined Ian Bell at the crease and the two started cautiously. In the 20th over Collingwood opened up, with two leg-side fours off Shane Watson. Glenn McGrath tried to keep it tight in the next over, but Collingwood launched him for a straight six. Bell and Collingwood continued to rotate the strike after the spinners were brought on, and when Bell fell for 65, England needed 105 off 102 balls. Along with Andrew Flintoff and Paul Nixon, Collingwood pushed the score along. Watson came in for another beating late in the chase, being hit for consecutive fours yet again as Collingwood brought it down to 13 off 12 balls. From there it was a cruise to a four-wicket win, followed by a series win two days later.
Ross Taylor
117 vs Australia
Chappell-Hadlee Trophy, Auckland

Australia went to New Zealand for the Chappell-Hadlee series without Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist and the injured Andrew Symonds. They lost the first match by ten wickets but looked set to level the series when they scored 336 in the second. Taylor, though, set up the second-highest successful chase in ODIs, with 117 off 127 balls, which included 16 fours and a six. He used Shaun Tait's pace to help the ball on his way, and most of his best shots were conventional drives and flicks through the on side. Though Taylor fell with New Zealand needing 109 off 72 balls, he had given the middle order the platform they needed to seal the win. Australia were bumped off the No. 1 position in the ICC rankings for the first time since they were launched in October 2002.
Matthew Hayden
101 vs South Africa
World Cup, Basseterre

Hayden muscled his way to the fastest World Cup hundred - off 66 balls - as Australia beat South Africa by 83 runs after setting them a target of 377 in St Kitts. In their century opening stand, Hayden and Gilchrist attacked right from the start, hitting at least a boundary every over in the first seven overs. Australia reached their 50 in the fifth over after Hayden hit Shaun Pollock for a four and two consecutive sixes. His strokes down the pitch forced the bowlers to adjust their line and length, and when the ball was short or slightly wide, it was biffed through point. Hayden added 61 in 52 balls with Ponting before being dismissed. His 101 contained 14 fours and four sixes, and fetched him an honorary St Kitts citizenship and a lifetime membership at the Royal St Kitts Golf Club.
AB de Villiers
146 vs West Indies
World Cup, St George's

It took 38 matches for de Villiers to get his maiden one-day century, but when he did, it was a superb one in a World Cup Super Eights match. South Africa had come off a shock defeat against Bangladesh when they met West Indies in Grenada. They chose to bat and de Villiers, opening, started sedately: in their 170-run partnership for the second wicket, Jacques Kallis scored at a faster rate. de Villiers' innings was the more pleasing, though - 104 of his 146 runs were scored in front of the wicket. It ended with a bang when, after hitting Chris Gayle for two sixes in the 40th over, de Villiers pulled his hamstring and decided to get most of his remaining runs on one leg with fours and sixes.
Adam Gilchrist
149 vs Sri Lanka
World Cup, Bridgetown

Though the World Cup final is remembered for its farcical finish in near darkness, earlier in the day Gilchrist had lit up the occasion with his 104-ball 149. Having scored fifties in the previous two World Cup finals, Gilchrist decided it was time to raise it a notch. He had raced to 31 off 30 balls when Dilhara Fernando dropped a tough catch off his own bowling. Gilchrist made him pay for the miss by hitting two fours and a six off the next three balls. When Australia passed the 100-run mark in the 17th over - with a six from Gilchrist - Hayden was on 22, and Gilchrist on 74. By the time he was dismissed, Gilchrist had boosted his side to 224, and they finished on 281 after the mandated 38 overs.
Mahela Jayawardene
115 not out vs New Zealand
World Cup, Kingston

Jayawardene's unbeaten 115 propelled Sri Lanka in to the World Cup final, leading them to an 81-run win over New Zealand at Sabina Park. He started slowly, playing plenty of dot-balls, then proceeded to step it up with singles, and finally unleashed fours and sixes to end with a scoring-rate of more than a run a ball. In the last ten overs the team made 94, of which Jayawardene's contribution was 69. The way he built his innings, never once doubting what was best for himself as batsman, or for the team, harked back to the mindset of Sri Lanka's World Cup-winning captain, Arjuna Ranatunga. But the purity of his strokeplay, which oozed class - not one shot was played in desperation - was reminiscent of that ultimate stylist, Aravinda de Silva.
Sachin Tendulkar
97 vs Pakistan
fourth ODI, Gwalior

It may have been his sixth dismissal in the nineties in one-day games this year, but Tendulkar's 97 off 102 balls allowed India to chase down Pakistan's 255 with more than three overs to spare. On a pitch where most other batsmen were restricted in their shot-making, Tendulkar played with the fluency and confidence of old, finding gaps with ease. After Sourav Ganguly and Gautam Gambhir were dismissed inside the first nine overs, Tendulkar found a partner in Virender Sehwag. Tendulkar got to his fifty with consecutive fours off Umar Gul. Shahid Afridi, who had bowled two tight overs for nine runs, was launched for three fours - all in the cover region - in an over, and ended with 0 for 67 off his ten. Tendulkar had kept the required run-rate under six throughout, and by the time he was dismissed, it had dropped to under five.
Craig McMillan
117 vs Australia
Chappell-Hadlee Trophy, Hamilton

Before McMillan joined the Indian Cricket League, he had made his comeback into the New Zealand side after a year on the sidelines. McMillan was picked for the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy, and in the third game he improved on his half-century in the series-winning second game by hitting a 96-ball 117. Australia set New Zealand 347 to win, and the hosts couldn't have had a worse start, being reduced to 41 for 4 inside the first ten overs. McMillan then partnered with Peter Fulton and Brendon McCullum to get New Zealand close to the second-highest successful chase ever in one-day history. McMillan's awesome display began in the 18th over, when he cracked Shane Watson for two sixes over long-on. With brute strength and footwork, he hammered 13 fours and five sixes during his stay. He brought up his first limited-overs century since 2002 with two consecutive sixes off Adam Voges' left-arm orthodox spin, reaching the milestone from only 67 balls - the fastest by a New Zealander.
Ian Bell
126 not out vs India
NatWest Series, Southampton

England went into the first ODI against India on the back of a Test series defeat. Bell, picked over Owais Shah, proceeded to get his maiden one-day century and also feature in the second-highest partnership for England against India in all ODIs. He joined Alastair Cook in the middle in the 11th over and his third scoring shot - an on-the-rise drive through the covers off RP Singh - set the tone for the innings. Against the fast bowlers, he cut, drove and flicked with exquisite timing, while Piyush Chawla was dismantled with neat footwork - one straight six being the standout shot. Bell constructed his innings by placing the ball in the gaps, running hard for twos and threes, and exploiting India's sloppy fielding as England won by 104 runs.
Owais Shah
107 not out vs India
NatWest Series, The Oval

After a string of low scores in the series, Owais Shah peaked at the right time to earn himself a place in the one-day squad for Sri Lanka in October. He came to the crease with the score at 83 for 4 and started off with a four through extra cover. He played second fiddle to Luke Wright in the middle overs, but Shah's strong bottom-handed grip proved ideal against the low full-tosses that were sent down as the bowlers strived for yorkers towards the end. The fours piled on, there were the occasional sixes too, and in the penultimate over of the innings a clip to long-on off Sachin Tendulkar brought Shah his maiden ODI hundred.
Andrew Symonds
107 not out vs India
sixth ODI, Nagpur

Before the seven-ODI series, Symonds averaged 15.16 against India in India. Following it, his average swelled to 41.45 with one hundred and three half-centuries. It was in Nagpur that Symonds got his century and sealed the series for Australia. The monkey-chants incident had occurred during the previous match in Baroda, and Symonds' reply to the sledging was a masterful innings with nine fours and four sixes. He was dropped on two, a lapse that proved costly as he punished India with sixes over midwicket and long-on. He also showed his batting wasn't all about power, playing some deft late cuts, and getting to his century with one such stroke. Symonds led the offensive in the last ten overs, in which Australia added 102 and batted India out of the game.
Niall O'Brien
72 vs Pakistan
World Cup, Kingston

It wasn't an attacking innings, nor did it contain plenty of fours and sixes, but put into context, O'Brien's 107-ball innings against Pakistan will probably remain the most memorable innings of his career. Backing the efforts of the Ireland bowlers, who had dismissed Pakistan for 132, O'Brien led the chase with a superb fifty. Rain interrupted the match and altered the required total to 128 off 47 overs. O'Brien batted in the fading light and got his side past the 100, leaving his brother Kevin to negotiate the last lap. Ireland extended their stay in the World Cup while Pakistan made a quick and embarrassing exit.