Talking about Rahul Dravid aka ‘Wall’ of the Indian cricket, a lot many test innings come to mind where he played out the opposition team with an indestructible ‘defense’ and attractive stroke play. However, his contribution to the Indian cricket is not merely confined to the longer version of game. There are so many ODI matches too where he blasted the other team with his calculative risk taking ability and match-winning skills.
10. Wicket-keeper batsman scores 64 at Birmingham, 6th July, 2002:
The beautiful cameo played by the great batsman against Sri Lanka in the match where he doubled as wicketkeeper too stands apart from the league for all the class involved in it. At 33 for 3 when Dravid walked to crease, even the most optimistic of the Indian fans gave thumbs down for India’s chances in the match. It was then that Rahul went on and on to gain an upper hand for the team. Although, he was dismissed when 9 runs were still needed, the Indian team by then was firmly in the grip of the match.
9. 81 against the Best Attack in the World at Sharjah, 13th April, 1999:
The innings deserve a mention for the reason it was played against the best bowling line up in the world at that time. Pakistan’s bowling constituted of Wasim Akram
, Shoaib Akhtar and Saqlain Mushtaq, all in their prime form. Rahul along with Sadagopan Ramesh shared 166 run partnership scripting a fantastic win over Pakistan chasing 205. Dravid scored 81 runs in 121 balls.
8. Scripting 76 not out at Lahore, 21st March, 2004:
Chasing 293 in their allotted quota of 50 overs against arch-rivals Pakistan, India slumped to 162 for 5 in 23.4 overs. In what looked like a lost cause, the picture was soon swapped when Dravid came up with a 132 run partnership with Mohammad Kaif and pulled out victory from the jaws of defeat for our country. Although, this was nothing new for the master stroke player, the innings surely is one of his very best.
7. Masterpiece at Toronto, 14th September, 1999:
This can be termed as one of the most defining innings scored by Rahul. With 3 match series standing tied at 1-1, the Indian team was reeling at 61 for 3 in the third ODI. It was then that Rahul walked in and scored a classy 77 of 87 balls. More than aggression (which was uncharacteristic to his innings at that point in his career) the innings had a unique touch of defiance and controlled aggression that was missing in the breed of cricketers at that time.
6. Hammered Sri Lankans at Taunton, 26th May 1999:
If the legendary Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan ever received some serious drubbing from the opposition batsmen it was from Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly. One can’t forget the innings he played in the 1999 World Cup building a gigantic 318 run partnership with Saurav. He hit 17 boundaries and a six in his 129 balls 145.
5. Cameo That Mattered the Most at Multan, 16th February 2006:
The innings of 59 played by Rahul Dravid may seem to be a part of the forgotten history, but the show deserves a word of praise for its importance at that point in time. The match contained every ingredient including pressure of claiming a win against the arch rival. His team chasing 161, Rahul arrived at 5 for 1. It was just a matter of few balls when the scorecard showed 29 for 2 and Indians were badly in need of a strong cover. However, the man showed who the boss is, building a match winning partnership with Yuvraj Singh and batting at an impressive strike rate of 82 throughout.
4. Marathon innings of 153 at Hyderabad, 8th November 1999:
In the tightly contested ODI series against the black caps, India lost the first match fairly to Kiwis. And, in the next match the Indian cricket team was again on the mat when Dravid arrived at 10 for 1 to join others stalwart of the Indian cricket, Sachin Tendulkar. Then followed a magical display of batting and ended with Rahul ending his marathon innings with a run-a-ball 153. The innings automatically graduated him into a league of hard-hitters, from which he was absent by then.
3. Fastest ODI Fifty for an Indian Batsman at Hyderabad, 15th November, 2003:
Dravid’s love affair with the black caps has always been the hallmark of his illustrious career. Be it tests or ODIs, the master batsman from Bangalore always emerged invincible in the duel. It was the match played at Hyderabad where Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar had already laid down a solid foundation (partnership of 182 runs in 30.1 overs) for the likes of Dravid to act upon. Batting at number 5 position, ‘The Wall’, as he is famously known as tore apart Kiwis with a 22 ball 50. The innings is special for the reason it was the fastest half-century any Indian batter had scored till the time.
2. Quickfire vs. England at Bristol, 24th August, 2007:
It was Dravid at his belligerent best when he arrived on crease in the fiercely contested encounter with the English team at Bristol. In an unexpected show of brutal power, Dravid notched up quickfire 63 balls 92 remaining unbeaten till the very end of the Indian innings. His innings was a clear differentiator between the two sides.
1. Trademark Dravid innings at Sharjah, 22nd October, 2000:
If Michael Bevan stands out as the best all time runs ‘amasser’ in ODI cricket, Rahul Dravid surely deserves to stand at number 2 along with Michael Hussey. A fabulous finisher who exactly knew where the fielders were standing in the park, Rahul’s particular innings at Sharjah justifies his caliber. Dravid, who opened the innings lost partners at regular intervals. But for his nerves of steel he kept the scoreboard ticking stepping the accelerator when needed and holding the team together at the same time. The Zimbabweans were easily dominated by him during his stint of 121 balls 85.