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ESPNcricinfo Awards

ESPNcricinfo Awards 2009 ODI batting nominees: The highest score, and the Tendulkar of old

Risk-takers, accumulators, manic hitters, cool customers - all in the ODI batting shortlist

Graeme Smith made 141, South Africa v England, ICC Champions Trophy, Group B, Centurion, September 27, 2009

Graeme Smith battled cramps to make 141 against England in the Champions Trophy, but it wasn't enough  •  Gareth Copley/PA Photos/Getty Images

Charles Coventry
194 not out vs Bangladesh
fourth ODI, Bulawayo
In an unglamorous series, Coventry, a man with few international credentials, equalled the record for the highest ODI score. It was a superbly paced innings. Coventry provided the impetus after the early dismissal of Mark Vermeulen, then tempered his aggression when wickets tumbled around him in the middle overs, before finishing off with an awesome display of power hitting. What made it more astonishing was that the next highest score was 37. It was Coventry's first ODI century, and he had never before made over 106 in any form of senior cricket.
Tamim Iqbal
154 vs Zimbabwe
fourth ODI, Bulawayo

There were more batting heroics to come in the match after Coventry's fireworks: a cool-headed hundred from Tamim, the highest ODI score by a Bangladesh batsman, guided the visitors to a series win. Two things that stood out in Tamim's innings were the calmness he displayed even when the required-rate started to soar, and the clean straight hitting - each of his six sixes was in the arc between long-on and long-off.
Thilan Samaraweera
104 vs New Zealand
Compaq Cup, Colombo

Samaraweera's career Test averaged soared past 50 in 2009 but he hadn't quite convinced people about his one-day skills. His chance came in this game, after the more flamboyant batsmen in his team had fallen to New Zealand's pace attack, leaving Sri Lanka at 38 for 4. Samaraweera responded with an innings that showed off his temperament and class, confirming he had turned a corner in his stop-start career. The placement and rotation of the strike were the highlights of his superlative century. His previous ODI highest in a 11-year career had been 38.
Shoaib Malik
128 vs India
Champions Trophy, Centurion

In one of the most hyped matches of the year, India's bowlers had reduced Pakistan to 65 for 3 after being carted for 51 off the first seven. Malik and Mohammad Yousuf soaked up the pressure and milked the bowling in the middle overs. Once he was well set, Malik toyed with the unimaginative Indian attack - going over extra cover, beating third man, and also hitting the odd straight shot. He went on to his fourth ODI century against India and guided Pakistan to what proved a winning total.
Paul Collingwood
46 vs Sri Lanka
Champions Trophy, Johannesburg

Collingwood anchored England's chase aggressively after they had slipped to 19 for 2 chasing 213 against higher-ranked Sri Lanka. It was an unlikely innings from the usually workmanlike Collingwood, coming at a little under a run a ball and featuring three leg-side sixes, and it did both settle England's nerves and raise their intensity as they pulled off one of the upset wins of the tournament, getting to the target with 30 balls to spare.
Owais Shah
98 vs South Africa
Champions Trophy, Centurion
After a forgettable one-day series against Australia, Shah turned in a revelatory performance against South Africa. He launched himself into top gear with a brilliant 98 from 89 balls, which included five fours and six sixes. After bringing up his half-century from a measured 63 deliveries, Shah crashed 45 runs from his last 21 to leave England well placed to pull the rug out from under the feet of favourites and hosts South Africa.
Graeme Smith
141 vs England
Champions Trophy, Centurion
South Africa had entered the Champions Trophy as favourites, but after a loss to Sri Lanka they were facing the ignominy of exiting yet another global tournament on home soil at the very first hurdle. After England piled on 323, Smith let loose with a flurry of boundary-hitting to single-handedly keep South Africa in the hunt. After he got to his hundred, he was visibly struggling with cramps, and the asking rate was spiralling out of control. Denied a runner by Andrew Strauss, a hobbling Smith was finally ninth man out for 141; the next highest score in the innings was 36.
Grant Elliott
75 not out vs Pakistan
Champions Trophy semi-final, Johannesburg
New Zealand are habitual semi-finalists in global tournaments, but Elliott - with the help of Daniel Vettori - took them a step further in the Champions Trophy with this assured, unbeaten innings. He guided a thin batting line-up, blighted by injuries, to a modest target that was made more formidable than it looked by the variety in Pakistan's bowling attack. Till the batting Powerplay was taken in the 43rd over, Elliott barely played a forceful shot, but he kept the required rate at a manageable level. All this after passing a last-minute fitness test for a hand injury.
Shane Watson
105 not out vs New Zealand
Champions Trophy final, Centurion
Watson's best innings at international level, a century that earned him his second Man-of-the-Match award in successive Champions Trophy finals, was the key to yet another global title for Australia. In the face of a hostile opening spell from Kyle Mills and Shane Bond, Watson went into Test mode, playing them out as if in the first session on a green-top under overcast skies. Once the opening bowlers were taken off, Watson turned it on - from 7 off 28 he motored along to 49 off 72 - to take the game away from New Zealand.
Sachin Tendulkar
175 v Australia
fifth ODI, Hyderabad
It was the India of the 90s all over again: Tendulkar almost chased 351 on his own, but with the target in sight he got out and the rest choked, falling short by three runs with two balls to go. Wickets kept falling around him but Tendulkar gave the bowlers only one half-chance all through his innings. All night they couldn't get an uncouth shot out of him. He came out of a relatively lean patch, kept the pace up without taking undue risks, and played mostly regular cricket shots; and though support wasn't always forthcoming from the other end, Tendulkar took the fight to the opposition, counterattacking each time a wicket fell.
Tillakaratne Dilshan
160 vs India
first ODI, Rajkot
In an astonishing one-dayer Dilshan powered Sri Lanka as they went after India's almost insuperable 414. With a full-throttle approach his only option, Dilshan came out with genuine intent and no little menace. He pulled and cut anything short or wide, and drove precisely down the ground when the ball was pitched too full. Just for variety, he threw in a couple of scoops as well, each evading the fielder placed at short fine leg to stop it, and sprinted to 160 off just 124 deliveries. When he was dismissed, Sri Lanka's chances were bright: they needed 76 off 65 deliveries. But in the event they fell short by four runs.
Kumar Sangakkara
90 vs India
first ODI, Rajkot
There was another innings as vital as Dilshan's in Sri Lanka's chase during the Rajkot run-fest - that of his captain, Sangakkara, who hit 90 off only 43 balls, helping Sri Lanka stay abreast of the steep asking rate. Initially, he whacked the spinners around - Suresh Raina was taken for three sixes - as he bounded to 50 off 24 deliveries, but the most breathtaking part of his innings came when he belted 21 off a Zaheer Khan over to pilot Sri Lanka past 300 in the 36th over.
Gautam Gambhir
150 not out vs Sri Lanka

fourth ODI, Kolkata
Gambhir's second 150 against Sri Lanka in 2009 took India to a 316-run target - their second largest successful chase at home - with room to spare. With Virat Kohli he put on 224 runs (125 of those run between the wickets) after India had stumbled at the start. Gambhir ran the ball off the face of the bat, placed it into gaps for twos, and paced the innings so well that the asking rate, formidable to begin with, did not once go over 6.7. And he made sure he was there till the end.

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo