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ESPNcricinfo Awards

ESPNcricinfo Awards 2011 ODI batting nominees: Three from one game

Several memorable World Cup innings, including a trio from the final, and the second double-hundred in ODIs

Kevin O'Brien landed some huge sixes to keep Ireland fighting, England v Ireland, World Cup 2011, Bangalore, March 2, 2011

Kevin O'Brien: Minnow? What minnow?  •  Getty Images

Shane Watson
185 not out vs Bangladesh
second ODI, Mirpur

In the non-stop merry-go-round of international cricket, a three-ODI series between Australia and Bangladesh is likely to be low profile. The scheduling - a week after the World Cup - was another reason for it to head for oblivion. Watson, though, played the innings that people will remember it by. A world-record tally of sixes, the highest score by an Australian in an ODI, and a mind-boggling 79.74% of the runs scored in the innings were some of the records that tumbled as he hammered his way to an unbeaten 185. So brutal was the onslaught that Australia overhauled Bangladesh's effort of 229 in 26 overs.
Andrew Strauss
158 vs India
World Cup, Bangalore

Strauss is among the more accomplished Test openers, but his one-day credentials aren't as sound. Though you wouldn't have guessed that when he was silencing the cauldron that was the Chinnaswamy Stadium during India's first home World Cup game. Set a seemingly unobtainable 339 to win, Strauss responded first with a "Lads, we can chase this" at the break and then with the highest score by an Englishman in World Cup history, which piloted England to 281 for 2 by the 43rd over. It wasn't all slam-bang either - 80 runs came in singles and twos, with Strauss showing his mastery against spin.
Ross Taylor
131 not out vs Pakistan
World Cup, Pallekele

Few innings are as dual-natured as Ross Taylor's form-regaining 131, at Pallekele. Initially his feet didn't move and outside edges were the norm - and Kamran Akmal gave him a birthday gift by shelling one of the simplest chances of the World Cup. Even so, Taylor had scratched his way to 69 off 108 deliveries. He then pummelled a barely believable 62 from his final 16. His partnership with Jacob Oram had the best strike rate of any 50-plus stand in ODI history. The Pakistan bowling went to pieces, and the boundary was short, but Taylor's timing during the final barrage was top-class - he even sent one delivery out of the ground.
Kevin O'Brien
113 vs England
World Cup, Bangalore

At 111 for 5, chasing 328, the game seemed pretty much over, especially since it was Ireland pursuing England. No one told O'Brien that. He stunned England with the fastest century in World Cups, and helped Ireland script one of their great sporting victories. The impossible begun to look probable during the batting Powerplay - taken early by Ireland - in which O'Brien and Co. thumped 62. As striking as the power-packed shots that took him to a hundred off 50 deliveries, was the pink hairdo he revealed when he took off his cap to celebrate the milestone.
Mahela Jayawardene
103 not out vs India
World Cup final, Mumbai

No century in a World cup final had been scored in a losing cause until Mahela Jayawardene's lyrical unbeaten 103. His masterclass was proof that finesse has as much of a place at this level as brutality, but it was not enough to deny India their destiny. Four years previously, at Sabina Park, Jayawardene had produced a supreme century against New Zealand to carry his side to their second World Cup final, but this was an innings of even more exquisite application. He came to the crease with his side under the cosh at 60 for 2 in the 17th over. But he responded with a tempo that scarcely wavered from a run a ball, until, with Nuwan Kulasekara for company, he opened his shoulders to power through to his hundred.
Gautam Gambhir
97 vs Sri Lanka
World Cup final, Mumbai

When India lost Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar early during the high-pressure chase of the World Cup final, Gambhir responded with a 122-ball statement of indomitability. Battling back pain for the second half of his innings, he crafted an 83-run stand with Virat Kohli that set the stage for a turnaround, before combining for a fluent 109 with MS Dhoni - the highest partnership between an Indian pair in three World Cup finals. The highlight of both partnerships was the manner in which the batsmen soaked up the pressure, kept the risks to a minimum, and yet scored their runs at an excellent rate. An unforgettable century beckoned but a tired attempt at a slog ended Gambhir's innings at 97, and robbed him of a Man-of-the-Match award.
MS Dhoni
91 not out vs Sri Lanka
World Cup final, Mumbai

Entering the final, Dhoni was in some of the stickiest form of his career. His highest score in two World Cups was 34, and he had already made some unpopular captaincy calls during the tournament. That didn't prevent him from audaciously promoting himself ahead of the eventual Man of the Series, Yuvraj Singh, and playing the gold standard for a captain's innings. Once again showing a sense for the occasion, Dhoni reverted to the mixture of the power and placement that has kept him near the top of the ODI batting rankings for a few years. And he finished it all off in inimitable style - a monstrous six over long-on, which may go on to become the most replayed shot in cricket history, followed by a casual twirl of the bat as though it was the end of a street cricket match.
Malcolm Waller
99 not out vs New Zealand
third ODI, Bulawayo

When your team is on a 12-match losing streak across formats and the opposition has racked up 328 in a one-dayer, the expected response is to roll over for another defeat. Waller thought otherwise, answering with the innings of his life to pilot Zimbabwe to victory with one wicket and one ball to spare. He put on a match-turning 112-run sixth wicket stand with Elton Chigumbura to take the total to 295 for 5. There were some final nerves as he was dropped twice in the penultimate over, before he unselfishly and nervelessly clipped a single off the fifth ball of the final over to seal the win and remain unbeaten on 99.
Ricky Ponting
104 vs India
World Cup, Ahmedabad

In what was almost certainly Ponting's final World Cup match for Australia, he produced a century that was a microcosm of Ponting the man. It had skill, grit, bloody-mindedness and daring. It was Ponting. It will probably be his only knock that won't be remembered for many scintillating shots and will instead be cherished for how responsibly he curbed his natural strokeplay. There was tremendous poise in how he dealt with the slow pitch, and a great amount of skill in the way he handled spin. Ponting showed his resolve in the way he held the Australian innings together and admirable character to do it when he wasn't in great form, on such a big stage, to bring up his first international hundred in 13 months.
Virender Sehwag
219 vs West Indies
fourth ODI, Indore

Sehwag, the batsman most touted to break Sachin Tendulkar's record for the highest individual ODI score, didn't merely break it - he shattered it and raised the bar so high that it's hard to imagine anyone, apart from Sehwag himself, going past the new mark. Unlike Tendulkar in Gwalior, Sehwag wasn't running out of time as he raced towards 200 in Indore. He got there in the 44th over and had made 219 off 149 balls by the time he was dismissed in the 47th. Sehwag's performance led India to 418 for 5, their highest ODI total, and sealed victory in the five-match series against West Indies. It was an innings characteristic of Sehwag's approach to batting. He hit his second ball for four and simply did not stop.

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo