Over the several years of cricket’s existence, we have witnessed many great innings in One-Day International cricket. There have been so many spectacular innings in the past that we have lost count. Thus, speaking of greatest ODI innings, I have opted to pick out the top 10 greatest ever ODI innings in the history of men’s cricket. Like I said, there have been many, but these 10 are probably the greatest of them all, according to me at least. So let us take a look at them, one by one.
#1. Herschelle Gibbs 175
One of the most famous ODI’s ever took place at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on the 12th of March, 2006. Australia had put up a World Record total of 434 for 4 in 50 overs, all thanks to captain Ricky Ponting’s flawless 164 off 105 balls. Chasing a record total, South Africa lost Dippenaar early and out walked Herschelle Gibbs at 3. Both he and Graeme Smith thwarted the Aussie bowlers to all parts in a sensational 187-run partnership. Smith departed but Gibbs carried on his sublime hitting as South Africa looked set to break the record. Gibbs fell to Andrew Symonds after an incredible 175 off 111 deliveries, which included 21 boundaries and 7 sixes. Wickets started to tumble quite regularly thereafter, but Mark Boucher and with the help of key contributions by Van Der Wath, Kemp, and Telemachus, helped South Africa chased down the monumental target with one wicket and one ball remaining.
#2. Saeed Anwar 194
India vs Pakistan cricket matches are always high octane, and in the Pepsi Independence Cup, 1997, it was another highly anticipated encounter. Pakistan won the toss and decided to have a bat. Saeed Anwar, the dashing left-hander, opened the innings with Shahid Afridi. While Afridi did not last long, Saeed Anwar looked in terrific touch. Runs were simply flowing from Anwar’s bat while his partners were just playing second fiddle. Anwar crossed 150, then 160, and soon entered into the 190’s and looked all set to become the first ever men’s cricketer to breach the 200 runs mark. But his innings came to an end on 194, courtesy Sachin Tendulkar, the bowler. Anwar’s 194 off 146 was studded with 22 boundaries and 5 big sixes. His spectacular innings gave Pakistan a solid 327 runs on the board, which was defended reasonably well, all thanks to Aaqib Javed’s 5-fer. Pakistan won the game by 35 runs and Anwar was adjudged the player of the match.
#3. Virender Sehwag 219
On 8th December, 2011, Virender Sehwag played one of the greatest innings by a captain in One Day International cricket. Incidentally, it had also become the highest ever score by a captain as well (in ODI cricket). It was the 4th ODI vs West Indies at Indore when Sehwag annihilated the West Indian attack to all corners of the Holkar Cricket Stadium. Sehwag smashed 219 of just 149 deliveries as the innings was studded with 25 fours and 7 monstrous sixes. He had an opening partnership of 176 runs with Gautam Gambhir as India posted a whopping 418 for 5 in 50 overs. Later, the Indian spinners comprising of Rahul Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Suresh Raina came to the party and picked up 9 wickets among themselves as India were victorious by 153 runs. India went 3-1 up in the 5-match series with that win and Virender Sehwag was selected as the player of the match for his sensational innings!
#4. Virat Kohli 133*
In the penultimate match of the Commonwealth Bank Tri-Series in 2012, India were up against Sri Lanka in a crucial match. It was literally a do-or-die match for India as were needed to win big in order to keep their chances of making the final. Sri Lanka batted first and scored 320 for 4 in 50 overs, all thanks to Tillakaratne Dilshan’s 160* and Kumar Sangakkara’s 105. India were set a daunting target and they had to chase it down within 40 overs to keep their chances alive. And then came Virat Kohli into the limelight with a swashbuckling 133* off just 86 balls. His terrific knock which included 8 fours and 2 sixes helped India chase down the target inside 37 overs. It was a special day because a young Virat announced himself at the International level. His knock received immense praise, especially at how he played Sri Lanka’s premier bowler Lasith Malinga. He took Malinga to the cleaners and hit him all over the park with some brutal hitting. A truly incredible innings it was!
#5. AB De Villiers 149
AB De Villiers is regarded as one of the best batters the world has ever seen. And whenever he comes out to bat, you expect fireworks by the South African. But on 18th January, 2015, in the 2nd ODI vs West Indies, AB De Villiers was in beast mode. After a terrific 247 runs opening partnership by Hashim Amla and Rilee Rossouw, De Villiers walked in to bat at 3 in the 39th overs. He was dismissed about 10 overs later, but what he did in those 10-odd overs is something nobody can describe. De Villiers faced 44 balls in that innings and scored a humongous 149 runs! WOAH! 149! Studded with 9 four and 16 sixes, it was simply a jaw-dropping knock by AB. During his spectacular knock, AB De Villiers broke the record for the fastest ever ODI hundred when he scored his in just 31 balls. South Africa scored 439 for 2 in their 50 overs, and later, kept the Windies down to 291 for 7, thereby winning by 148 runs. Amla scored an unbeaten 153 and Rossouw scored 128, but AB’s scintillating 149 off 44 was out of this world and hence, he took home of player of the match award.
#6. Vivian Richards 189*
Way back in 1984, Sir Vivian Richards played one of the greatest ODI innings ever. It was the 1st ODI vs England at Old Trafford in Manchester, and the Windies were batting first in the 55-over match. The West Indies lost both their openers very early and Viv Richards walked out to bat at number 4 with the score reading 11 runs for 2 wickets. Richards held one end up, and sadly for him, he kept losing partners on a regular basis. The Windies were reeling at 102 for 7, and there were still plenty of overs to go. Eldine Baptiste gave able support to Viv, and that was the need of the hour. On the other hand, Viv continued to play his free-flowing shots. There was no stopping Viv and the only way the English bowlers could was to try and dismiss the other batters. West Indies were 166 for 9, with Richards still in the middle. He stitched a fantastic 106-runs partnership with Michael Holding that took West Indies to 272 for 9 in 55 overs. Richards finished on an unbeaten 189 off 170 balls. The innings was studded with 21 fours and 5 sixes. Later in the match, Vivian Richards bowled his full quota of 11 overs and picked up 2 important wickets as West Indies won by a big 104 runs margin.
#7. Sachin Tendulkar 200*
24th February, 2010 was a record-breaking day not just for Team India but for the cricketing world in general. It was the 2nd ODI between India and South Africa in Gwalior, and Sachin Tendulkar created history that day. Batting first, India amassed a whopping 401 for 3 in their 50 overs, with valuable contributions from skipper MS Dhoni, Dinesh Karthik, and Yusuf Pathan. But it was that man Sachin Tendulkar who stole the show. He recorded the first ever double hundred in One Day International cricket. It just had to be him, didn’t it? Sachin scored exactly 200* runs off 147 balls, an innings which was glittered with 25 fours and 3 big sixes. Set a daunting target of 402, South Africa were never in the chase and despite a fantastic unbeaten 114 from AB De Villiers, South Africa were shot out for 248 in 42.5 overs. And thus, giving Team India a huge victory of 153 runs. Moreover, Sachin Tendulkar pocketed the player of the match award for his record breaking 200!
#8. Martin Guptill 237*
One of the greatest innings in a Cricket World Cup knockout game was played by New Zealand’s Martin Guptill. It was the 4th Quarterfinal match of the ICC Cricket World Cup, 2015, played between New Zealand and West Indies. New Zealand were batting first on a belter of a wicket in Wellington. Skipper Brendon McCullum went early but Guptill looked in good nick. He continued his good form in the tournament as he belted all the Windies bowlers. Williamson and Ross Taylor did hang in there for a bit as Guptill did not stop the onslaught. He reached a hundred, then doubled it up, and eventually the overs ran out as Guptill finished on an unbeaten 237 off just 163 balls. An extraordinary inning that had 24 fours and 11 glorious sixes. New Zealand ended on a powerful 393 for 6 in 50 overs. Windies batters looked ominous in their chase and were always neck and neck with the run rate, but they kept losing wickets and regular intervals. Eventually, they were bowled out for 250 in just 30.3 overs, giving New Zealand a 143-run win and a spot in the semis.
#9. Rohit Sharma 264
When Rohit Sharma bats and bats long, he is bound to create records, and on 13th November, 2014 at the iconic Eden Gardens, he created another extraordinary record. It was the 4th ODI versus Sri Lanka and Rohit Sharma was dropped very early on in the innings, and then he made them pay, and pay big they did. Rohit was in the zone thereafter, and once he gets his eye in, he can score those runs at a very quick rate. He simply went berserk, and Sri Lanka had absolutely no answers to Rohit’s stunning hitting. He reached a 100, then doubled it up, and still went strong as there were quite a few overs left. Soon, Rohit crossed the 250-run mark, and on the last ball of the innings, he holed out in the deep. The crowd in Kolkata witnessed a once-in-a-lifetime innings as Rohit walked back for a staggering 264 runs of 173 balls. His innings was lit up with 33 fours and 9 gigantic sixes. India made 404 for 5 in 50 overs, and looked set to win the game. The bowlers did their job and bundled Sri Lanka in just 43.1 overs. Rohit’s innings was so special that on the night he scored more runs (264) than Sri Lanka’s entire team (251)! A very special innings it was!
#10. Kapil Dev 175
Last but arguably the best ODI innings ever played was by Kapil Dev. In a crucial World Cup match against Zimbabwe in Tunbridge Well, India found themselves reeling at 17 for 5. Both openers were dismissed for ducks and numbers 3, 4, and 5, barely scored runs. Kapil Dev, the skipper, was batting at number 6. And it seemed as though he was batting on an absolutely different deck. He was lethal in his approach as he counterattacked the Zimbabwe bowlers. Kapil lost another couple of partners as India were in the doldrums at 78 for 7. Madan Lal provided able support, while Kapil was in attack mode. A valuable partnership blossomed between the two as India reached 140 before Lal was dismissed. Syed Kirmani at number 10 gave great support to Kapil Dev. They stitched a fine unbeaten partnership of 126 runs as Kapil Dev remained unbeaten on an incredible 175 off 138 deliveries. His special knock included 16 fours and 6 big sixes as India reached a more than respectable total of 266 for 8 in 60 overs. Later in the match, Zimbabwe batted really well, but fell short by 32 runs with Kapil Dev picking up the final wicket. The win gave India the belief that they can go all the way in the tournament, and seven days later, the dream had become a reality!
In cricket, we’ve seen so many glorious knocks, but in my opinion, the above 10 are probably the greatest. Let me know through the comments section if you agree with my top 10. If not, let me know yours. Thank you!
© 2021 Ronald Daniel Sampson