ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: 21 most memorable batting moments

Thirty-eight hundreds, including two doubles, it’s safe to say that the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 was completely dominated by bat. In fact, the 38th hundred in World Cup history was scored by Sachin Tendulkar in the 1996 edition, against Kenya at Cuttack. It had taken six long editions to get there. Fascinatingly, that many were scored in this World Cup itself, which was won by Australia for the record fifth time.

Suvajit Mustafi lists in chronological order 21 memorable batting moments in the tournament’s latest edition:

 

1:  Miller-Duminy carnage against Zimbabwe at Hamilton

JP Duminy is being congratulated by David Miller after he completes his hundred
JP Duminy is being congratulated by David Miller after he completes his hundred

South Africa entered the competition as tournament favourites and boasted an unmatched batting attack. However in their very first match against their weaker neighbours Zimbabwe, they found themselves struggling at 83 for four in the 21st over. Left-handers David Miller (102) and JP Duminy began consolidating and eventually remained unbroken. It’s a cliché that you look to double your 30 overs score in One-Day cricket, but the duo made a joke of that logic. In the 35th over, South Africawereat 151, but they ended up with 339 after 50 overs. They added 146 runs from the last 10 overs.

The duo added 256 runs for the fifth wicket. It was primarily a Miller show, who ended with an unbeaten 138 from 92 balls, a knock with contained nine sixes and Duminy was not out on 115 from 100. South Africa eventually won the game by 62 runs.

 

2:  Stirling, Joyce, O’Brien spoil Sammy-Simmons heroics; pull off a memorable upset at Nelson

Niall O’Brien picks up a stump as memorabilia after his team’s famous win
Niall O’Brien picks up a stump as memorabilia after his team’s famous win

When West Indies were struggling at 79 for four in the 22nd over, no one thought this match could turn out to be a run-riot. Lendl Simmons (102 from 84) and Darren Sammy (89 from 67) marked a remarkable recovery to take West Indies to 304. Chasing that against a good West Indies bowling attack wasn’t going to be easy, but Ireland not only chased it downbut  also achieved the target in the 46th over and with four wickets in hand.

Partnerships did the trick for them. Openers William Porterfield and Paul Stirling added 71 for the first wicket, then Stirling added 106 with Ed Joyce, who also added 96 with Niall O’Brien. Stirling was awarded the man-of-the-match for his 92 from 84 balls. Joyce scored an attacking 84 from 67 balls and O’Brien finished it off in style with an unbeaten 79 from 60 balls.

 

3:  When the McCullum typhoon hit Wellington

The Baz show: Another out of the park
The Baz show: Another out of the park

It was first Tim Southee who wrecked the English batting line-up with seven for 33. Chasing 124 was going to be a formality for the New Zealand batsmen. Skipper Brendon McCullum made the chase memorable by smacking the fastest-ever World Cup fifty, in just 18 balls. He scored 77 from 25 balls, an innings that contained seven sixes and eight fours, as the chase was completed in the 13th over.

 

4:  Jayawardene’s master-class helps Sri Lanka avoid an upset against Afghanistan in Dunedin

Right out of the book. Another MahelaJayawardene classic
Right out of the book. Another Mahela Jayawardene classic

In the end, it was the old-horse who saved Sri Lanka from blushes. An early upset at the hands of Afghanistan would have been a major blow to Sri Lanka’s World Cup campaign. A chase of 233 was expected to be cake-walk for the 1996 World Champions, but they soon found themselves at two for two, then three for 18 and in a while 51 for four.

Sri Lankan stalwart MahelaJayawadene, who was playing his last international tournament, crafted a brilliant hundred (100 from 120 balls) to help Sri Lanka cross the line. He was ably supported by his skipper Angelo Mathews (44) and ThisaraPerara with a hurricane unbeaten 47 from 26 balls sealed the match in Sri Lanka’s fate. (Read: Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan, Pool A match at Dunedin in caricatures)

 

5:  Dhawan-Rahane maul Proteas at MCG

AjinkyaRahane congratulates ShikharDhawan on his hundred
AjinkyaRahane congratulates ShikharDhawan on his hundred

The Melbourne Cricket Ground had turned to a sea of blue and South Africa were the favourites to win the contest. However, the Men In Blue dictated terms that day, as they dominated the game.ShikharDhawan was brutal against a bowling attack that comprised the likes of Dale Steyn, MorneMorkel and Company.Dhawan got 137 from 146 and was well supported by AjinkyaRahane, who scored a breezy 79 from just 60. The duo added 125 from 99 ball, and this partnership took the game away from South Africa. India registered a 130-run win.

 

6:  A ‘Gayle’ at Canberra destroys Zimbabwe

A typical celebration of Chris Gayle
A typical celebration of Chris Gayle

Records kept tumbling at Manuka Oval in Canberra, as Chris Gayle, who survived a close leg before call in the first ball, smacked the first ever double hundred in World Cup history. In doing so, he became the first non-Indian to achieve the feat and it was the first that is achieved outside India.

Gayle’s 215 from 147 ball, contained 16 sixes and 10 fours. He added 372, a record ODI partnership with Marlon Samuels, who too ended with an unbeaten 133 from 156 balls. Chasing 372 was always going to be difficult for Zimbabwe, who were bowled out for 289 in the 45th over. To make the day sweeter, Gayle chipped in with two wickets as well.

 

7:  Brisbane enthralled with an Anwar show; Wilson-Kevin O’Brien steal limelight later

Gary Wilson looks on as UAE’s Shaiman Anwar launches one over extra-cover
Gary Wilson looks on as UAE’s Shaiman Anwar launches one over extra-cover

ShaimanAnwar scored 311 from six innings in the World Cup and his finest performance came against Ireland. When Rohan Mustafa fell, the score was 131 for six in the 35th over. Anwar not just carried on but belted a 106 from 83 balls to take United Arab Emirates (UAE) to 278 from 50 overs.

At 97 for four in the 25th over, Ireland’s chances looked bleak but wicket-keeper Gary Wilson carried on. At the score of 171, he was joined in the crease by Kevin O’Brien and the duo added 72 runs from 36 balls to change the course of the game. Wilson scored 80 from 69, while Kevin got 50 from 25. Ireland, later won the thriller by two wickets.

 

8:  A spirited knock by Shenwari lightens up Dunedin

Samiullah Shenwari congratulates Shapoor Zadran after their thrilling win against Scotland
Samiullah Shenwari congratulates Shapoor Zadran after their thrilling win against Scotland

The Zadrans [Shapoor and Dawlat] pick seven wickets among themselves to bowl out Scotland for 210 but the Scottish bowlers were in no mood to give-up. SamiullahShenwari walked out to bat at 46 for two, and wickets kept tumbling at the other end. Soon reduced to 97 for seven, the Afghan hopes turned bleak but Shenwari fought on.

In a tremendous display of resilience, Shenwari carried on the fight where at one end he had to ensure that wickets didn’t fall and at the other was the mounting pressure of run-rate. When 38 was required from four overs, Shenwari unleashed himself in the over bowled by off-spinner MajidHaq. He hit three sixes and got out for 96 from 147 balls, a knock more valuable than many hundreds. He fell 19 runs short but Hamid Hassan and Shapoor pulled off a memorable win in the final over.

 

9:  ABD butchers Windies at SCG

Master improviser AB de Villiers plays another unorthodox stroke
Master improviser AB de Villiers plays another unorthodox stroke

In history of the sport, there have been a very few batsmen as dangerous as AB de Villiers and, by now, West Indian bowlers must be hating the very sight of him. Earlier this year, he smacked the fastest ODI hundred against them. And now in the World Cup, he smacked 162 not out from 66 balls.

What was incredible is the fact that he scored his hundred in the 48th overfrom 52 balls and scored his next 57 from just 14. In fact, 78 runs were scored from the last three overs as South Africa ended at 408 for five. West Indies were bowled out for 151.

 

10: McCullum thunder strikes Eden Park

Another Baz show, this time at Auckland
Another Baz show, this time at Auckland

It was one of the most awaited contests of the World Cup. Twenty two batsmen batted in this low scoring game and one man scored a fifty, that too from 24-balls. Chasing 152 to win against neighbour Australia, McCullum gave a start that only he could have. He was particularly severe on Mitchell Johnson. McCullum got out in the eighth over when the team total was 74. He belted seven fours and three sixes but after his exit the chase didn’t come easy. New Zealand just managed to win it by one wicket. Also at stake was the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy which New Zealand reclaimed.

 

11: Chase it like Sanga-Thiri

LahiruThirimanne and Kumar Sangakkara celebrate after the winning runs are hit
Lahiru Thirimanne and Kumar Sangakkara celebrate after the winning runs are hit

England must have breathed a sigh of relief when a fine Joe Root century (121 from 108 balls) got them to 309 at Wellington. But it proved to be a very comfortable chase for the Sri Lankans. They not only chased it off with 16 balls left, but won it by nine wickets. (Read: Sri Lanka vs England, Pool A match in Wellington in caricatures)

The left-hander duo of Kumar Sangakkara and LahiruThirimanne added 212 runs from just 170 balls for the second wicket. While Thirimanne with 139 not out from 143 balls steadied one end, Sangakkara was merciless to the bowlers as he smacked an unbeaten 117 from just 86 balls.

 

12: Warner, Smith and Maxwell rout Afghan attack at Perth

David Warner celebrates after scoring the hundred
David Warner celebrates after scoring the hundred

Afghanistan put Australia to bat and what Perth witnessed then was a run-riot. Australia scored the highest ever World Cup total when they got to 417 for six in their 60 overs. The demolishers-in-chief was David Warner with a 178 from 133 balls. Steve Smith played a fine hand of 95 from 98 balls and Glenn Maxwell was at his devastating best with an 88 from 39 balls. Had Maxwell stayed another few balls, he would have got to the fastest World Cup hundred. Australia won the match by a massive 275 runs.

 

13: Kyle Coetzer salvages Scottish pride

Kyle Coetzer plays a powerful drive en route to 156
Kyle Coetzer plays a powerful drive en route to 156

When you represent an Associate Nation, your stats aren’t really taken very seriously and you are judged by what you do at the highest level. Scotland’s Kyle Coetzer proved that he belonged to the highest level after he slammed an inspiring 156 to take Scotland to 318. In the end, that didn’t prove to be a lot as Bangladesh powered by Tamim Iqbal (95 from 100), Mahmudullah (62 from 62), Mushfiqur Rahim (60 from 42) and Shakib Al Hasan (52 from 41) registered a six-wicket win. (Read: Bangladesh vs Scotland, Pool A match in Nelson in caricatures)

 

14: Ireland v Zimbabwe: A thriller of a contest and four knocks to remember

Ed Joyce smacks another one
Ed Joyce smacks another one

Ireland’s Ed Joyce and Andy Balbirnie added 138 for the third wicket and helped Ireland to 331. Veteran Joyce smacked a 112 from 103, while Balbirnie fell for 97 from 79. At 74 for 4 in the 17th over, it seemed that Zimbabwe were staring another defeat when the experienced Brendan Taylor put his hand up and produced a master-class. Taylor and Sean Williams added 149 for the fifth wicket to bring Zimbabwe back in the game.

 

Brendan Taylor hits another one out of the park
Brendan Taylor hits another one out of the park

Taylor got out for 121 from 91, it was a high quality knock that put Zimbabwe in a strong position and Williams with his 83-ball 96 got them agonisingly close. Lack of application from the lower-order saw Zimbabwe fall five runs short of the Irish total. Heartbreaking indeed, but Taylor wasn’t finished yet.

 

15: Maxwell’s day out at SCG, while Sanga-Chandimalthreaten to spoil it

Glenn Maxwell celebrates his ton with Shane Watson
Glenn Maxwell celebrates his ton with Shane Watson

In a brilliant display of batting, Australia plundered runs at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). After the early dismissals of the openers, Steve Smith (72 from 88) and skipper Michael Clarke (68 from 68) added 134 for the third wicket. Both were dismissed in quick succession and when Sri Lanka thought they had just made a comeback, then began a memorable onslaught by Glenn Maxwell and he was ably supported by Shane Watson. Maxwell scored the second fastest hundred in a World Cup, it coming from 51-balls. He scored 102 from 53 balls, while Watson scored 67 from 41, to take Australia to 376.

Sri Lanka however weren’t intimidated by the huge chase. First it was Kumar Sangakkara who blazed away to his third successive hundred, scoring 104 from 107, he added 130 with opener TillakaratneDilshan (62 from 60) to set it up.

 

And that’s four in a row for TillakaratneDilshan
And that’s four in a row for TillakaratneDilshan

In fact, it was Dilshan who initiated the attack. He smacked left-arm bowler Mitchell Johnson for six four in the sixth over of the innings. 

 

Dinesh Chandimal in action
Dinesh Chandimal in action

Later, Dinesh Chandimal, who was making a comeback to the side, threatened to take the game away from the Aussies. He struck 52 from just 24 balls, before pulling his hamstring. He had to leave retired hurt and the injury unfortunately ended his tournament and Sri Lanka’s hopes in this match. Sri Lanka were bowled out for 312 in the 47th over.

 

16: Mahmudullah’s ton in Adelaide ends England’s hopes

Mahmuddulah gesture as he celebrates his maiden ODI hundred
Mahmuddulah gesture as he celebrates his maiden ODI hundred

It was a must-win game for England to keep their hopes alive for qualification to the quarter-final stage. They began well when they managed to reduce Bangladesh to eight for two. Thereon, a brilliant resilient innings from Mahmudullah ensured Bangladesh would pose a fighting total. Mahmudullah scored 103 from 138, and in process became the first Bangladeshi batsman to score a World Cup hundred. (Read: England vs Bangladesh, Pool A match in Adelaide in caricatures)

He was well-supported by Mushfiqur Rahim, who scored an 89 from just 77 balls. Bangladesh scored 275 and bowled out England for 260, to mark one of the greatest upsets in World Cup history. Mahmudullah wasn’t finished, he scored another hundred against New Zealand in his next game but that came in a losing cause. (Read: New Zealand vs Bangladesh, Pool A match in Hamilton in caricatures)

 

17: Four-in-a-row for Sanga

Kumar Sangakkara becomes the first batsman in the history of ODI cricket to score four hundred in a row
Kumar Sangakkara becomes the first batsman in the history of ODI cricket to score four hundred in a row

Kumar Sangakkara and TillakaratneDilshan got into the act again and added 195 for the second wicket against Scotland at Hobart. Sangakkara in process scored his fourth consecutive hundred in a row. Sangakkara scored 124 from 95, while Dilshan scored 124 from 95. Later, the innings received a boost from skipper Angelo Mathews, who scored 51 from 21 balls as Sri Lanka finished at 363, a match they won by 148 runs. (Read: Sri Lanka vs Scotland, Pool A match in Hobart in caricatures)

 

18: Brendan Taylor enthrals Auckland with a classic, but Raina-Dhoni spoil the occasion

Last hurrah: Brendan Taylor celebrates his hundred, in what was his last appearance for Zimbabwe
Last hurrah: Brendan Taylor celebrates his hundred, in what was his last appearance for Zimbabwe

Indian bowlers were terrific so far in the competition and now had reduced Zimbabwe to 33 for three but Brendan Taylor, playing his last match for Zimbabwe was in no mood to give it up. In one of the greatest batting displays of the World Cup, Taylor struck 138 from 110 balls to take Zimbabwe to a strong position. Had he not been dismissed, Zimbabwe would have looked to a score in excess of 330. They still managed to get to 287.

India were 92 for four in the 23rd over and Zimbabwe had the upper hand. It was up to the experienced duo of captain MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina to do the job for India again, and expectedly they excelled yet again.

 

Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni celebrate the winning moment
Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni celebrate the winning moment

Raina got to his first World Cup hundred, an unbeaten 110 from 104, while Dhoni too remained not out at 85 from 76. They were helped by some poor bowling and fielding towards the end. India completed the chase in the 49th over.

 

19: Martin Guptill crashes West Indies hopes, plays a knock that the game will remember

That’s two on the roof. That’s what Martin Guptill signals the dug-out after smacking the second ball to the stadium roof
That’s two on the roof. That’s what Martin Guptill signals the dug-out after smacking the second ball to the stadium roof

In a bat dominated tournament, Martin Guptill produced a sensational 237, one of the best-ever the game has seen. And it came at on the high pressure quarter-final stage. There wasn’t slogging, it was just clean hits out of the MCC coaching manual. His unbeaten 237 consisted 24 boundaries and 11 sixes, such big ones which would clear any grounds in the world. The 237 is now the highest individual score in a World Cup game and second best in ODIs.

They say catches win matches. Marlon Samuels dropped Guptill in the first over and to say he made them pay would be an understatement. New Zealand put on 393 on the board and throughout the innings West Indies were up to the chase. Chris Gayle got a 61 from 33, while skipper Jason Holder smashed 42 off 26. There were some big hits but they were bowled out for 250 in the 31st over.

 

20: First a McCullum hurricane, and then a Grant Elliott classic helps Kiwis seal the final berth

Brendon McCullumsend another one out of the park
Brendon McCullum send another one out of the park

It was the semi-final, a stage New Zealand never crossed before, in fact they lost at this stage six times. Now they had the daunting task of chasing 299 from 43 overs, which was set by the Duckworth Lewis method. And they were up against the South African bowling attack but like New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum had shown it early on too that reputations don’t matter to him.

McCullum gave New Zealand the start they needed; he plundered 25 runs off Dale Steyn in the fifth over. With 71 on the board after six overs, the platform was set for the Kiwis. McCullum was dismissed for 59 from 26 balls.

At 149 for four in the 22nd over, things had swung back in South Africa’s favour. Grant Elliott was at the crease. He was the last name added to the sheet when the New Zealand selectors picked the 15 for the World Cup and when it mattered the most, he delivered. He played some breathtaking drives in the off-side and in between came the occasional nudges and sweeps. His partnership of 103 with Corey Anderson made the difference and brought them close to win but after Anderson fell, things again began to look bleak.

 

Jinx broken: The swing by Grant Elliott that took the Kiwis to the World Cup final
Jinx broken: The swing by Grant Elliott that took the Kiwis to the World Cup final

In the end, with five to get from two balls, Elliott smacked a Dale Steyn length ball over the mid-wicket for a big six. Decibels at Eden Park may have reached an all-time high and New Zealand were through to the final.

 

21: Steve Smith ton at SCG sends India packing

Steve Smith celebrates a knock, marked class and dominance
Steve Smith celebrates a knock, marked class and dominance

By now Steve Smith must be a sight that Indian bowlers are tired off. Throughout the summer, the Australian tormented the Indian (scored hundreds in all four Tests) and it even continued on the big day, the semi-final. Australia had lost David Warner early and Aaron Finch wasn’t middling the ball quite well. While Finch struggled, it seemed that Smith was playing some other attack. He was timing the ball perfectly and milking the leather through all empty parts of the ground. His 105 from 93, set the platform for Australia. (Read: Australia vs New Zealand final in Melbourne in caricatures)

Aaron Finch’s 81 from 116 and later a nine-ball 27 blitz from Mitchell Johnson took them to 328. India began well but their batting couldn’t match with the fire of Australian bowling attack. They were bowled out for 233 and then bowed out of the tournament that they won in 2011.

 

(Suvajit Mustafi consumes cricket for lunch, fiction for dinner and munches numerous other snacks throughout the day. Yes, a jack of several trades, all Suvajit dreamt of was being India’s World Cup winning skipper but ended up being a sports writer, author, screenwriter, director, copywriter, graphic designer, sports marketer, strategist, entrepreneur,  philosopher and traveller. Donning so many hats, it’s cricket which gives him the ultimate high and where he finds solace. He can be followed at @RibsGully and rivu7)