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ESPNcricinfo Awards

ESPNcricinfo Awards 2014 ODI batting nominees: Anderson's blitzkrieg, and the biggest mountain of them all

Broken records litter the nominations on this particular shortlist

13-Jan-2015
Corey Anderson started the year with a bang  •  Getty Images

Corey Anderson started the year with a bang  •  Getty Images

James Faulkner
69 not out vs England
second ODI, Brisbane
England were convinced they had finally caught a break on their dreadful tour of Australia. When the home side's ninth wicket fell Australia still needed 57 in six overs. Surely, this was a victory? Not so, said Faulkner - who had crept to 14 off 23 balls at one stage - as he produced a breath-taking display of late-order striking. When he took consecutive sixes off Ben Stokes in the penultimate over you could see the doubt in England's eyes. And he only needed the first three balls of the last, bowled by Tim Bresnan, which all went for four, to seal an incredible chase.
Corey Anderson
131 not out vs West Indies
third ODI, Queenstown
What a way to start the year. On January 1, Anderson broke the 17-year-old record of Shahid Afridi for the fastest ODI hundred, clobbering an astonishing 36-ball ton against West Indies. The match had only just got started, as a 21-over affair, after steady rain, and Anderson did not walk in until the eighth over. What followed was one of the cleanest displays of striking you will see. Many of his 14 sixes cleared the grass banks, and should have sent warnings to the nearby airport in case they endangered airplanes sweeping down by the Remarkables.
Ravindra Jadeja
66 not out vs New Zealand
third ODI, Auckland
For all his rock-star qualities, Jadeja had not been considered a man to win games with the bat for India. And he didn't win this one, either. But a vivacious, unbeaten innings, in which he took 17 off the final over to secure a tie, ensured that Jadeja's reputation would not take the usual battering. Coming to the crease with India six down and requiring 131 inside 15 overs, Jadeja helped R Ashwin put on 85 and then nearly pulled a rabbit out of the hat with only the tail for company. Twice he turned down singles in the 50th over, in which he also hit two fours and a six, before levelling the scores off the final ball.
Samiullah Shenwari
81 vs Bangladesh
Asia Cup, Fatullah
Afghanistan recovered from 90 for 5 to post a competitive 254 for 6 thanks to Shenwari. He starred in a 164-run sixth-wicket partnership with Asghar Stanikzai and saw off Bangladesh's slew of strangling spinners, while also managing to up the tempo at the right moment. The total proved good enough to give Afghanistan one of their most memorable wins.
Shahid Afridi
34 not out vs India
Asia Cup, Mirpur
Sometimes two balls are all it takes to win a match. With ten required off the final over, Pakistan had three wickets in hand. They lost Saeed Ajmal off the first ball and then Junaid Khan got Afridi on strike with a single. With nine needed off four, Afridi cleared deep extra cover and long-on to finish the game with two balls to spare. Pakistan were chasing 246 and were on track until they lost five for 36 towards the end of the innings. That didn't bother Afridi, who scored at close to two runs a ball in his half hour at the crease.
Lahiru Thirimanne
101 vs Pakistan
Asia Cup final, Mirpur
Winning the Asia Cup proved a catalyst for one of Sri Lanka's most successful years, and Thirimanne, the highest run scorer at the tournament, was their leading light. Given a chance to open by Tillakaratne Dilshan's absence through injury, Thirimanne struck his second hundred against Pakistan inside a fortnight, leading Sri Lanka to the brink of victory in the final. It was not a chanceless innings - he was dropped by Umar Akmal on 36 - but Thirimanne scored steadily throughout, at just below a run a ball, anchoring what could have been a tricky chase. He fell with 14 runs required, but by then the result had been decided and Sri Lanka's finals jinx broken.
Jos Buttler
121 vs Sri Lanka
fourth ODI, Lord's
The most significant one-day innings of the year for England. They seemed to have no chance when Buttler came in at 111 for 5 in the 29th over chasing 301, but he went on a rampage to record England's fastest ODI hundred - off 61 balls - and the fastest ever at Lord's - to take them to within a whisker of a remarkable chase. Only the equally unique skills of Lasith Malinga denied him. Afterwards, a typical Britishness was on show as his Test credentials were downplayed, but two months later he donned the whites.
AB de Villiers
136 not out vs Australia
Triangular Series, Harare
South Africa usually don't enjoy chasing, and especially not when there is pressure on them. In their first meeting with Australia in a triangular series that also involved Zimbabwe, they conceded 327 and were 51 for 2 in the reply. In defiant style, de Villiers and Faf du Plessis steadied the chase and then whittled it down with a record stand of 206 for the third wicket. De Villiers battled cramps and Mitchell Johnson, and survived two dropped catches to give South Africa a morale-boosting victory in a series they went on to win.
Mitchell Marsh
86 not out vs South Africa
Triangular Series, Harare
After a shock defeat to Zimbabwe, Australia were not guaranteed a place in the final until Marsh took them there. He breathed life into an innings that had started to nod off, with Australia meandering at about 4.5 runs. His aggression was particularly evident when he took 21 runs off a single over from Dale Steyn. Along with Brad Haddin, Marsh posted 71 runs for the sixth wicket, which included taking 60 runs off five overs to propel Australia to a competitive 282 for 7. South Africa had gunned down 328 against them a few days earlier but could not muster the mental strength to chase again.
Suresh Raina
100 vs England
second ODI, Cardiff
Coming off the back of another harrowing Test series defeat, Raina's jaunty innings in the second ODI (after the first had been washed out) re-emphasised India's quality and pointed to a gulf in class between the sides in limited-overs cricket. With England winning the toss under murky skies, India were in some trouble at 132 for 4 in the 30th over. That they eventually breached 300 was thanks to Raina's uncomplicated hitting on the way to his first hundred in four years - as well as his first outside of Asia. He flayed the ball around the ground to reach three figures from his 74th delivery. England were thoroughly subdued.
Rohit Sharma
264 vs Sri Lanka
fourth ODI, Kolkata

The innings that raised the roof on superlatives, extended the scope of cricketing possibility, and redefined the term "costly drop". Back in the side after injury had led to Ajinkya Rahane taking his opening spot, Rohit was only on 4 when Thisara Perera missed a straightforward catch at third man. By the time he offered another chance, he had become the first man in ODIs to score 200 twice. He was finally dismissed off the last ball of the innings, having smashed through the ceiling of Virender Sehwag's 219 and boggled the minds of those watching. He began steadily enough, with a half-century from 72 deliveries, then beasted the Sri Lanka attack for 214 from his next 101, collecting a record 33 fours. Incredibly, his score on its own would have India won the match.
Steven Smith
104 vs South Africa
fourth ODI, Melbourne

Smith, who began this series out of Australia's one-day side, delivered a series victory with a display of composure that Michael Bevan or Michael Hussey would have been proud of. Days earlier, AB de Villiers had called Smith a "captain's nightmare" and that's what the match ended up being for South Africa. The chase had been in a mess at 98 for 5, but Smith calmly rebuilt alongside Matthew Wade and completed his hundred from 109 balls.