Cricket has the power to bind nations together but ODI cricket is more exciting. Eleven players carrying the hopes of millions of ardent followers – this is how cricket is seen by many. And from among this group of 11, one batsman emerges who plays with the ferocity of a lion and the zeal of a passionate lover, hitting boundaries, scoring runs on the way to scripting cricketing history. Let’s read about some of the most exciting batting performances ever in ODI cricket. These top 10 manliest batting performances in ODI by individuals will make you wonder what metal these guys are made of.
10. Andrew Strauss – 158 against India WC 2011:
In the 2011 Cricket World Cup, Andrew Strauss played one of his career best innings against India. It was a match that ended in a tie. India had won the toss and set 338 as the target for England. Strauss then played an invigorating innings scoring 158 saving England from defeat; certainly an innings to be remembered by all cricket lovers.
9. Sanath Jayasuriya – 189 against India:
Sanath Jayasuriya was the one of the powerful opening batsmen when it came to hitting the bowlers out of the park. His score of 189 against India in Sharjah in 2000 is the highest innings score by a Sri Lankan in an ODI match. In the list of great ODI batting performances, it is also the sixth highest score in a single innings.
8. Adam Gilchrist – 149 vs SL 2007 WC Final:
When Australia won the toss and elected to bat in the 2007 Cricket World Cup Final, Gilchrist played an incredible innings of 149. It was the then highest score by any batsman in a World Cup final. Australia went on to win because of Gilly’s manly innings in this rain interrupted match etched in history as being among one of the greatest ever.
7. Shahid Afridi – 100 off 37 balls vs Srilanka:
Shahid Afridi holds the record for scoring the fastest century in ODI cricket which he achieved on his ODI debut in 1996. It was a swashbuckling performance with 11 sixes – a record in an ODI innings. He was just 16 years and 217 days when he accomplished this feat and, thus, it is indeed one of the greatest displays of batting dexterity by any batsmen in the world.
6. Brian Lara – 169 vs Sri Lanka:
Brian Lara played for the West Indies creating several batting records during his career. His score of 169 versus Sri Lanka in 1995 in Sharjah was one of his most powerful batting displays. It was at the Singer Champions’ Trophy when Lara scored 169 from only just 129 balls cruising from 100 to 150 in just 21 balls. With 15 fours and four sixes it was among one of the greatest innings in ODI cricket.
5. Ricky Ponting – 140* vs India, World Cup 2003 final:
Yes, it would perhaps have been heartbreaking for Indians all over the world but that doesn’t take away anything from this gem of an innings played by Ricky Ponting. Put to bat, Australia were 125/2 when the former captain Ricky Pointing took matters in his hand scoring 140 of 121 balls remaining unbeaten. His innings included 8 sixes, the most by any batsman in any World Cup match at the time, as he hit the boundary with vicious disdain ensuring a comfortable total for his team which they successfully defended.
4. Sachin Tendulkar – Desert Storm 1998 Coca Cola Cup:
Coca Cola Cup was a tri-nation cricket tournament played in Sharjah in 1998. It is to this day known for Sachin Tendulkar’s spectacular century against Australia which led India to a win. The 143 runs scored by Tendulkar helped India qualify for the finals in spite of the match getting interrupted by a sandstorm. This earned him the nickname of “Desert Storm“. It was one of the most blatant displays of batting prowess by this man we often hail as the god of cricket.
3. Herschelle Gibbs – 175 chasing 434 against Australia:
Herschelle Gibbs is infamously remembered for dropping a catch in a World Cup game against Australia in 1999. But there is more to this cricketer than just that humiliating moment. One of them is the innings against Australia in 2006 where he scored 175 off just 111 balls leading South Africa to victory in an encounter regarded as the greatest ODI match ever played. His innings broke several batting records and was the highest ever score made in an ODI cricket against Australia.
2. Kapil Dev – 175* vs Zimbabwe at Royal Tunbridge Wells, World Cup 1983:
The 1983 World Cup sure holds a special place in the heart of every cricket lover in India. But the win wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for the captivating performance by skipper Kapil Dev against Zimbabwe. An unbeaten 175 off 138 balls in an important match when the top order collapsed; an innings which included a record 9th wicket stand with Kirmani; indeed this 175 not out by Kapil Dev was a memorable one.
1. Viv Richards – 189* vs England, Old Trafford, Manchester:
The 189 not out by Vivian Richards against England in the year 1984 is undoubtedly the very best ODI innings in the history of International cricket. In fact, it was also included in Wisden’s list of the best ODI innings of all-time in 2002. This was also the highest ODI score by any batsmen for almost 13 years. Unequivocally, he is one of the greatest ODI batsmen; a living legend who was the most destructive and feared when he played. And this particular innings was and still is an unforgettable moment in the history of the gentlemen’s game.