Saturday, December 17, 2011

My Best One Day International Innings of 2011

In the face of the end to One Day Internationals in 2011, let us reminisce on some of the great innings from this year. Keeping in mind, that I have given precedence to fine performances in the ODI matches that mattered from the year, rather than  displays in the glut of meaningless games. Duly the list is dominated by innings from the 2011 World Cup

Andrew Strauss, 158, England versus India, World Cup, Bangalore, 

The modern age has seen greatness in One Day International innings characterised by the blitzing type innings of cavalier openers like Sanath Jayasuriya and Adam Gilchrist. This Andrew Strauss master class was all about the purity of the stroke play, and his ice cool demeanour in a pressure cooker situation. In response to India's mammoth score of 338, no one gave England a snow balls chance in Hell of getting anywhere near to the target. Though, it seemed no one told Strauss this, and he flayed the Indian bowlers with a breath taking array of classical cricketing shots that went to all parts of the compass. Even defying belief for England fans by hitting Yuvraj Singh for one of the hugest 6's one could see.

When he sadly succumbed to Zaheer Khan's 5th ball of the 43rd over, he had faced just 145 balls hitting 18 fours and one huge 6. Setting up a remarkable victory for England only for them to somehow get a tie from a dominant position
Kevin O'Brien, 113, Ireland versus England, World Cup, Bangalore

Mention a chance of Ireland beating England during the World Cup of Cricket. Well, most people would just look at you as though you have been drinking too much Irish Whisky, and it has duly pickled your senses.

Though it not only happened, but how it happened was truly the stuff that belonged on the big screen in Hollywood. In respect to Ireland were 4/106 needing a further 225 to win off the remaining 164 balls as the burly red head walked in.

WOWZER!- for what ensued was a 113 run 69 ball innings of devastation, that was laden with 13 4's and 6 massive 6's. As he left in the 49th over, the bars were running dry all over Ireland in salute of the historic victory that he had miraculously set up.

Shane Watson, 185*, Australia versus Bangladesh, Dhaka

Absolute, unadulterated massacre of the bowling in a sense that has rarely been seen. Granted the Tigers bowlers are not of the highest class, but on their home ground they are very adequate. The target of 230 was described in this manner:

 'a possible banana skin on a slow pitch offering some turn'

Obviously, Watson did not hear this with a 96 ball 185, that included 15 6's to go with his 15 boundaries, that set up a ridiculously easy victory for Australia. The truly remarkable thing about the carnage was when the winning target was passed in the 26th over, there was still 24 overs available including a batting power play.

So, for argument sake if those overs were available to Watson with this performance happening in the 1st innings. He could have conceivably hit 300 or more in the innings, which truly puts into context about how exceptional it was
Mahela Jayawardene, 103*, Sri Lanka versus India, World Cup, Mumbai

This innings in the World Cup Final against India contained all of Mahela's characteristic silk, but it was made a masterpiece through him showing real grit throughout it. Many times throughout the innings Sri Lanka were coasting, but the lose of wickets at crucial times stymied their momentum. Firstly Kumar Sangakkara, when it looked evident that in partnership with Mahela the two Masters were going to shift through the gears into overdrive. Later in the innings after Mahela helping get the innings back on track, there was another major tremor with two quick wickets when the Team was set.

Through it all Mahela had ice in his veins, and his late flurry at the end of the innings to get the score up to a very respectable total of 274 was the epitome of the icing on top of the sweetest cake.

Gautam Gambir, 97, India versus Sri Lanka, World Cup, Mumbai

All the focus after the Indian World Cup win was over M.S.Dhoni's innings in the successful chase. Which has great merit for he left the last compelling memory hitting a 6 to win the match. In truth, he was the dessert, and the main course that lead to the Indian delight was the Gautam Gambhir epic.

If you doubt this, well think of this.........

The Indians were chasing an imposing total of 275 for victory, and in the chase lost one of their stars Virender Sehwag to second ball of the innings, and then the immortal Sachin Tendulkar with the Team at just 31 runs. All at the hands of a rampant Lasith Malinga, who is arguably the best ODI bowler in the game.

Duly all the oxygen was sucked out of the Stadium by depressed crowd as Tendulkar trudged off, and most of the belief of an Indian win was gone. Gambhir duly saw off Malinga's threat, but not only restore belief in the crowd, but also in India's destiny. Sharing in an innings steadying partnership with Virat Kohli and then a game sealing one with M.S.Dhoni.

When he was dismissed in 42nd over with 54 runs to get, the Sri Lankans were beaten, and the stage was set for Dhoni's hammer blow with all the pressure off.
Virender Sehwag, 219, India versus West Indies, Indore

Remarkable display of pure devastation........

From ball one Viru just had a real malevolence about him, and you just felt you were about to witness something very special

He did not disappoint either being reminiscent of a kettle building up to a boil. Shifting through the gears quickly into over drive that saw him maul the West Indies bowlers like they were tenderised meat thrown to a hungry Indian Tiger. Truly brutalising them all to post the highest ever ODI innings of 219.

Made all the more remarkably due to his iron man stamina in the face of the stifling heat in Indore at the time

Shahid Afridi 65 Runs off 25 balls Pakistan VS New Zealand

You feel a bit guilty in talking about great ODI innings from a calendar year, and not indulging in some BOOM BOOM

Duly, enjoy this typical marauding Afridi blitz


  1. I agree with your analysis!

  2. Totally agree wid u! Not an inning less not an inning more! My personal favs r sehwags 219 strauss' 150 odd and gambhirs 95odd in da finals!!! The latter 2 were played under IMMENSE pressure!!