Following Virender Sehwag’s remarkable record knock of 219 against West Indies in Indore, here are our shouts for the best five ODI innings of all-time, in chronological order.
189*, West Indies v England, May 1984
In the wake of Virender Sehwag’s blitzkrieg, Derek Pringle described the Indian opener as “the greatest slaughterer of bowling since IVA Richards”, and the former England paceman should know. He was part of an English bowling attack that was subjected to perhaps the best ODI innings of all-time by the West Indian masterblaster at Old Trafford. Back in the mid-80s, a score around the 220 mark was regarded as a very respectable total, but not for Vivian. Richards almost reached that figure on his own, smashing 26 boundaries in one of the cleanest displays of hitting you will ever see to set a new record for the highest ODI innings. His record stood for 13 years.
Aravinda de Silva
107*, Sri Lanka v Australia, May 1996
It’s the World Cup final, and Sri Lanka are on the verge of completing one of the game’s greatest underdog stories after a disciplined bowling performance keeps the much-fancied Aussies to 241 in Lahore. However, Arjuna Ranatunga’s side are rocking at 23-2 when the diminutive de Silva walks to the crease and in desperate need of a cool head. In a pressure-cooker environment the mercurial right-hander provides just that – picking up quick singles to keep the scoreboard ticking over and unleashing hell when the bad ball comes along – to make light work of the target to see his side home with 22 balls to spare and become the third centurion in a World Cup final.
149, Australia v Sri Lanka, April 2007
They say revenge is a dish best served cold and 11 years on from de Silva’s matchwinning innings, Australia’s keeper-batsman supreme served up one hell of a helping to Sri Lanka in another stunning knock in World Cup final history. Gilchrist was on the attack from the off in Bridgetown, bludgeoning Sri Lanka’s much-vaunted bowling attack to fall one short of 150 in 104 balls of unadulterated mayhem. Bad light brought a farcical end to the match but Gilly’s assault ensured Australia secured their third World Cup in a row.
200*, India v South Africa, February 2010
We couldn’t really compose a list of this nature without including the only other double ton in ODI history and fittingly it was scored by Sehwag’s idol – the Little Master. Admittedly the track at Gwalior was one that every batsman would love to wrap up and take home with them, but Sachin flayed a star-studded South African attack including Dale Steyn to all parts, with the world’s best bowler returning figures of 0-89. The innings went perfectly to script with Tendulkar scampering a single in the final over to bring up the milestone and send the crowd into delirium. A genius at work.
158, England v India, February 2011
Perhaps something of a surprise pick considering Strauss is not a batsman generally noted for his limited-overs prowess but this innings in the last World Cup was an absolute masterclass from the England skipper and proof that you can don’t have to smash the ball to all parts to score at faster than a run-a-ball. Strauss played almost a lone hand to register the joint second highest ODI score by an Englishman and take his side agonisingly close to reaching a victory target of 339 in Bangalore, only for the match to end tied. India went on to win the tournament, while Strauss played just five more ODIs before announcing his retirement.