Canada vs West Indies, ICC World Cup, SuperSport Park, Centurion, February 23, 2003
West Indies won by 7 wickets
Herman Melville once said, “Familiarity with danger makes a brave man braver.” Canadian John Davison lived up to that saying at the 2003 World Cup in South Africa, smacking the fastest hundred of the World Cup - off just 67 balls - at Centurion’s SuperSport Park.
The match, even till this date, is famously remembered for the pyrotechnics of Davison than the facile West Indian win. It was a rare show of dominance by an unsung nation against a major cricketing force.
The 33-year-old entertained the 10,000-plus crowd with some clean hitting, bludgeoning six sixes and eight fours in that innings of 111 off 76 deliveries.
Davison went on the aggressive from word go and forced skipper Carl Hooper to remove Mervyn Dillon off the attack after just four overs and Vasbert Drakes after just two overs.
The belligerence from Davison came as a bolt from the blue for West Indies. “It was a good wake-up call for us. When I woke up this morning the last thing I thought was that a Canadian would bat like that today,” West Indies captain Carl Hooper said after that game.
At one stage, Canada was coasting at 155 for one with Davison on song. The momentum was very much with the Canadians, but after Davison’s blitzkrieg ended following a brilliant catch at long-on by Drakes, the script changed.
Drakes, who was carted for 29 off his first two overs, came back into the attack for disciplined eight-over spell. He ran through the innings to finish with a 5-for as Canada suffered a dramatic collapse - their last nine wickets crashing for just 47 runs.
Wavell Hinds and Brian Lara then wrested the West Indies initiative with a whirlwind century stand that propelled them to a seven-wicket win.
Canada, no doubt, may have finished as the losing side but Davison’s heroics with the bat on that day ensured his side stamped its presence at the 2003 World Cup. And, we all remember Canada at that World Cup for the fireworks from Davison.
But the hero of the day was unquestionably Davison. Here was a player who in 37 first-class matches in Australia averaged under 11 but now stamped his authority on the world stage with an incredible World Cup record! Wow!