Shane Watson hit 15 sixes and 15 fours in his knock of 185 against Bangladesh © AFP
Shane Watson hit 15 sixes and 15 fours in his knock of 185 against Bangladesh © AFP

April 11, 2011. Australia were to play Bangladesh at Dhaka in the second of a 3-match ODI series. With a 1-0 lead, thanks to Michael Clarke’s century in the first ODI, Australia were looking to clinch the series before the final game. And they were not only successful in doing that, they did it in some fashion. Shane Watson, Australia’s batting all-rounder opened the innings for the visitors, and played an innings that would have left everyone who watched it, almost flabbergasted at his strength and powers. In a match reduced to men versus boys, Watson came in at Bangladesh like thunder and soon turned into a hurricane. ALSO READ: Former Australian cricketer Shane Watson turns 35

After posting a target of 229 runs for the loss of 7 wickets (which in hindsight would never have been enough!), Bangladesh had to begin well by taking wickets. But that plan, would soon go into the drain, with what was about to happen. Watson and Brad Haddin opened for Australia.

With three boundaries in the first over itself, Watson was in and rolling. The first was smashed through point. The next went between covers and mid-off. And the third was a straight drive going in between the bowler and mid-on. Perhaps, Watson at that moment knew that he was timing it well and should make it big. How big, was the question.

As Shakib Al Hasan brought him on in the third over itself in attempt to take early wickets, Watson raised a gear and started sending a few out of the park. To add to Watson’s strike rate was the fact that Haddin had not played a ball till almost the end of the third over.

He lunged forward to heave a Shakib delivery into the stands to get his first six of the innings. The Bangladeshi captain not realising Watson’s strength of playing spin well, in an attempt to find a wicket, brought Abdur Razzak, another spinner from the other end. But the bullying continued.

It looked like Watson had all the answers to the spinners, probably because the ball was not turning much and he made the most of it. A couple of flat sixes lead him to his 50 in just 26 balls. The right-hander had latched on to short deliveries well until then and it must be said that there were plenty of them as well. ALSO READ: Shane Watson reveals secret behind fitness

Although, soon Haddin got out and he could not add much to Australia’s chase. But then, the chase was not meant to be about him too. He went for just 8 off 19 balls.

Ricky Ponting arrived at the crease. But the chase was not meant to about him either.

Note: Ponting had stepped down as captain from the ODI format after the 2011 World Cup and Michael Clarke was leading Australia.

After seeing himself and the other spinners being whacked for sixes, Shakib brought in Rubel Hossain from one end. But Watson who was in full control, and managed two boundaries off his over as well. One was a pull and the other — a manoeuvered shot to a over-the-waist full-toss to fine leg. He could have hit that hard but then, he did not need to.

A drive piercing the field through covers brought up his sixth ODI hundred in 69 balls. It had been an innings of total dominance until now. More was to follow.

Watson, looked a bit scratchy just after his hundred. Perhaps, the tiredness was seeping in as he played a couple of wild shots. He was lucky to survive, but wanted to finish things off quickly.

Then came the best part of his innings. Suhrawadi Shuvo came onto bowl the 22nd over with Australia’s score reading 152 for 1. Ponting, who was happy to play second-fiddle, gave the strike to Watson on the first delivery. The second ball of the over was hit by Watson over mid-wicket for the first six of the over. The third ball cleared long-on by a huge distance. Shuvo did not know what he could do. He stepped up to bowl a ball full-toss on leg stump and Watson again cleared the ground. This time over deep backward square leg. And the fifth ball went even far. Watson, was hitting it with disdain.

He broke the world record of hitting the most sixes in an ODI innings i.e. 15 (Although it was broken by Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers later and now Rohit Sharma holds it), reached his 150 in just 83 balls and had by then unleashed his wrath on Bangladesh. But it seemed like nothing could stop him. Perhaps, even if Australia would have been chasing 400, they would have done it with 10 overs to spare!

He finished at 185 not out, off 96 balls and took Australia to a series win, reaching the target in just 26 overs. To Bangladesh’s realisation, they did not know what had hit them. It was — Hurricane Watto!

(Karan Dewan, a reporter with CricketCountry, loves following and playing sports. He is a Team India fan and loves winning. Follow him on his twitter handle @karan13dewan)