Year-ender 2018: Englishmen feature heavily in ODI’s best knocks
The best innings in 2018 comprised some big names.

Records tumbled, plenty of individual feats were achieved as 2018 turned out to be quite an eventful year for batting with numerous brilliant innings doing the rounds, of which CricketCountry has compiled the top 10.

1. Jason Roy 180 against Australia, Melbourne Cricket Ground

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Jason Roy registered the highest individual score by an England batsman in ODIs to help his side get out of the rut of the Test series and take a 1-0 lead in the first of the five one-dayers against hosts Australia. Australia batted first with Aaron Finch making 104 off 119, which formed the base of a total of 304. Roy responded with a century of his own, the fourth of his career and was involved in a 221-run partnership with captain Joe Root, which is the highest at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Roy hammered 16 fours and five sixes and his unbeaten 180 became the highest individual score at the SCG. His fireworks dealt Australia their eight loss in nine games.

2. Jos Buttler 100* off 83 against Australia, Sydney Cricket Ground

2018 turned out to be a special year for Jos Buttler, with the wicketkeeper batsman securing a place in England’s Test line-up possibly being one of his career highlights. But Buttler’s rise could be traced back to January, when his blistering knock gave England a famous 16-run win over Australia and an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five ODI series. England were reduced to 104 for 4 and further to 6 for 189 when Buttler and Chris Woakes collaborated to score an unbeaten 113-run stand to take the total beyond 300. But it was Buttler’s blast that allowed England a late surge. He reached his century off the last ball of the innings and remained unbeaten with four sixes and six fours – two of which came off consecutive balls from Pat Cummins.

3. Shai Hope 146* against Bangladesh, Dhaka

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West Indies didn’t have many reasons to cheer through the year, but Shai Hope’s exploits during the last two months put smiles on the faces of their fans. Coming off an impressive century in India, against Bangladesh, Hope single-handed carried West Indies to one of their more famous ODI victories. Chasing 256, Hope put on 65 runs for the second wicket before the Windies reduced to 157 for 5. With the asking rate climbing, Hope shifted gears with ease and brought up his 100 and added another 46 runs in quick time. He continued the charge till the last over, remaining unbeaten with 12 boundaries and three sixes to keep West Indies alive in the series.

4. Calum MacLeod 140 against England, Edinburgh

In one of the biggest upsets in the history of cricket, let alone this year, Scotland beat England by six runs in a high-scoring thriller and leading the way was Calum MacLeod with a career-best 140 off just 94 deliveries comprising 16 fours and three sixes. Scotland received significant contributions from Kyle Coetzer and George Munsey, both scoring fifties but it was MacLeod’s knock, really, that scripted one of England’s biggest heartbreaks. He swept Moeen Ali to bring up his fifty off 37 balls and took only another 33 to bring up Scotland’s first-ever century against England and take the total to 371. Jonny Bairstow struck a century, but Scotland held on for a close win bowling England out for 365.

5. Virat Kohli 160 against South Africa, Johannesburg

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As India thumped South Africa 5-1, Virat Kohli burned the batting charts with 558 runs including three centuries. Off those, one knock that was the highlight over the others was his 160 in the third game of the series. With opener Rohit Sharma dismissed for a duck, Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan out India on track with a 140-run stand. From that stage, India piled 303 in 50 overs, with players barring Kohli contributing 51. Such was the dominance from the Indian captain. With 12 fours and two sixes, 100 of Kohli’s 160 runs came through singles, twos and threes. During the innings, he also brought up 1000 ODI runs against South Africa.

6. Faf du Plessis 125/David Miller 139 vs Australia, Hobart

Deciders are usually not a one-way affair, especially when the teams doing battle are South Africa and Australia. But this one was some exception as dominating centuries from David Miller and Faf du Plessis fired South Africa to their first ODI series win on Australian soil in nine years. Coming together at 55 for 3, Miller and du Plessis were involved in a record fourth-wicket partnership of 252 runs for South Africa before both batsmen cut loose in the final passage of play, with 130 runs coming in the final 10 overs.

Their record stand is the highest in Australia-South Africa matches, one that set Australia a stiff target of 321. What began as a cautious approach turned a bullish exhibition in the last five overs, which fetched 75 runs – 51 of which came off the final 15 deliveries. Du Plessis and Miller brought up their centuries off successive overs, having hit 28 boundaries and six sixes between them. Australia fell short by 40 runs.

7. Mohammad Shahzad 124 against India, Dubai

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Afghanistan continued to punch above their weight in 2018, which was evident from their dramatic last-over tie against India in the Asia Cup. Batting first in a Super Four match of the Asia Cup, wicketkeeper batsman Mohammad Shahzad slammed an 88-ball hundred, making this Afghanistan’s first ODI hundred against a top-flight opposition. Shahzad went berserk against the second-string India attack consisting Deepak Chahar, Khaleel Ahmed and Siddarth Kaul, hitting ten fours and six sixes at a strike-rate of 117. He went on to add 24 more runs in 28 deliveries before falling in the 38th over to Kedar Jadhav.

8. Ross Taylor 181* against England, Dunedin

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Ross Taylor‘s produced a heroic, career-best knock which guided New Zealand to five-wicket win against England at Dunedin in March. Helping New Zealand level the five-match ODI series 2-2, Taylor entered the crease when the scoreboard read 2 for 2, with Martin Guptill and Colin Munro gone for zero. Taylor limped through much of his innings after aggravating a thigh injury but kept batting. At 109, Taylor dived to avoid prevent being run-out and inflamed the thigh strain that had forced him out of the previous game. Yet, wincing with pain after almost every shot in the second half of his innings, Taylor struck 17 fours and six sixes to carry his bat.

9. Jonny Bairstow 138/Alex Hales 147 vs Australia, Nottingham

Jonny Bairstow and Alex Hales feasted on runs in this ODI madness en route to registering the highest ODI total of 481. Becoming the first side to breach the 450-run margin in ODI, England pummelled 21 sixes and 41 fours. That’s right. Eoin Morgan smashed the quickest half-century by England and yet, his was second fiddle to the carnage dished out by Bairstow and Hales. It was Bairstow’s fourth ODI hundred in six innings.

After Hales and Jason Roy put on 159 runs for the opening wicket, Bairstow joined the England opener and carted 151 runs in less than 15 overs. Between Hales and Bairstow, there were 10 sixes and 31 fours, and a strike-rate in excess of 150. Australia slumped to a heavy 242-run defeat, which wasn’t only their 14th loss in 16 matches but also resulted it their fourth consecutive bilateral series defeat.

10. Eoin Morgan 92 against Sri Lanka, Dambulla

Captain Morgan led from the front and top scored for England with 92 to post an encouraging total of 278 against Sri Lanka. Morgan got off the mark with a six off Thisara Perera and took advantage of anything loose on offer. With a nudge to long-on, the left-hander brought up his half-century. His innings wasn’t flawless, but just about effective enough to keep England going. He was on the verge of setting things nicely for England before Lasith Malinga unlocked his magic. A slower yorker and Morgan hit it straight back to the bowler. That, as is turned out was the beginning of the slide as Malinga completed a five-wicket-haul to trigger a lower-order collapse. However, the total was enough to win England the rain-hit encounter by 31-runs (D/L).