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The greatest ODI knocks in successful 300+ chases


300_run_chase_ODI_CricketChasing down a target of 300 isn’t a great surprise in ODI cricket these days. It has become the norm in the format today. Regardless, chasing a 300-plus score successfully still requires some special effort.

Earlier this year, Ross Taylor’s exceptional knock of 181 in the 4th ODI against England helped New Zealand chase down a daunting target of 336. It was easily one of the best efforts in an ODI chase.

Apart from Taylor, there have been numerous other instances in ODIs over the past few decades where a brilliant batting performance has helped the team to successfully chase down a 300-plus target.

Here, we look at five such efforts. While it is extremely difficult to choose only six from a plethora of notable knocks, these have been selected based on the significance of the result and the pressure the batsmen were under while chasing the target.

Herschelle Gibbs (South Africa) 175 off 111 balls v Australia at Johannesburg, Mar 12 2006:

In what some consider the greatest ODI match ever played, Herschelle Gibbs of the Proteas played one of the most extraordinary ODI innings. The knock is special not just because it came in a chase but because of the circumstances. After being set a near impossible target of 435 – then the highest ODI team total – by the visiting Australians in the 5th and final ODI of the series, things looked well and truly over for South Africa. But with the series poised at 2-2, they had to give it their all and Herschelle Gibbs produced magic.

The pitch at Johannesburg was rather flat. Gibbs cashed in, smashing all the bowlers mercilessly. He seemed to have let go of all inhibitions and was simply having the time of his life as he slogged, pulled, cut, drove and smacked the ball with great abandon. When he was dismissed in the 32nd over, he had smashed a sensational, career-best 175 off 111 balls with 21 fours and 7 sixes.

South Africa were at 299-4 and went on to chase down the target on the penultimate ball. Gibbs’ phenomenal effort was not just instrumental in helping South Africa clinch the greatest ODI game in history, but also helped them win the series emphatically.

Virat Kohli (India) 133* off 86 balls v Sri Lanka at Hobart, Feb 28 2012:

This was the knock that set Virat Kohli on the path of being the “Master of Chase”.

In the 2012 CB tri-series league game between India and Sri Lanka at Hobart, the Men in Blue had their work cut out for them. To stay alive in the series, India had to chase down Sri Lanka’s huge total of 321 in 40 overs. Given the erratic form India had shown earlier in the series, the target looked untouchable. But then young Virat Kohli conjured something truly spectacular.

Coming in to bat at 54-1 in the 7th over, Kohli began fluently and struck some crisp cover drives while smartly taking singles and twos. As he got settled, Kohli began creaming the bowlers with ease and exhibited such an imperious display of strokemaking that it took the world’s breath away.

No bowler was spared as Kohli brought out shot after glittering shot and made an absolute mockery of the target. He was especially ruthless with Lasith Malinga, hitting him for 24 runs in the 35th over, flicking a six and smashing four fours.

Kohli remained unbeaten on a spectacular 133 off 86 balls with 16 fours and 2 sixes and took India home in just 36.4 overs. It was one of the great ODI knocks of all time and remains one of the very best Kohli has played.

Kevin O'Brien (Ireland) 113 off 63 balls v England at Bengaluru, Mar 2 2011:

This was a stunning performance that knocked the wind out of the England side in their 2011 World Cup league game against Ireland. After having posted a solid 327-8 at Bengaluru, and reducing Ireland to 111-5 in the 25th over, England seemed well on the way a thumping win.

However, all-rounder Kevin O'Brien produced one of the great World Cup knocks as he ruthlessly pulverized the England bowlers to achieve a sensational victory for his country. In a breathtaking exhibition of brutal power hitting, O'Brien brought up his century off just 50 balls, breaking the record for the fastest World Cup hundred, then held by Matthew Hayden.

O'Brien’s hitting left England dazed and as the loose deliveries grew more frequent, the batsman made merry, striking fours and sixes almost at will. By the time he was run out for a spectacular 113 off 63 balls, with 13 fours and 6 sixes, Ireland had surged ahead to 317-7 and went on to reach the target with five balls to spare.

This remains one of the greatest moments of Ireland cricket in a World Cup match. It was achieved thanks to an unbelievable knock under immense pressure in a chase that had almost been completely derailed.

Mohammad Kaif (India) 87* off 75 balls v England at London, Jul 13 2002:

It can hardly get any more dramatic than this. The venue was Lord’s. It was the final of the NatWest Tri-Series between India and England. After England had posted 326-8, India, known to be notoriously bad chasers back then, had crumbled to 146-5. With all their big stars back in the hut, the game looked all but over for India, who had lost nine successive ODI finals prior to this one. And then came the partnership of a lifetime.

Young guns Mohammad Kaif and Yuvraj Singh came to India’s rescue and led a staggering fightback that took England by surprise. Yuvraj (69 off 63 balls) was free flowing and led the initial attack. Kaif, playing in only his 18th ODI innings, was composed and structured his innings beautifully. He ran superbly well between the wickets and attacked every time the required run rate crept up.

After Yuvraj’s dismissal in the 42nd over, India still needed almost 60 runs. Kaif played brilliantly with the tail, striking some vigorous blows towards the end to get India closer. Eventually, India chased down the target with three balls to spare and Kaif remained unbeaten on a terrific 87 off 75 balls with 6 fours and 2 sixes.

It was a great moment in Indian cricket and one that paved the way for India to become better chasers. Kaif’s knock, hence, is of paramount significance.

David Miller (South Africa) 118* v Australia at Durban, Oct 5 2016:

Set a colossal target of 372 by the visiting Australian side in the 3rd ODI at Durban, South Africa was struggling at 217-5 in the 32nd over and needed something special to win the match and seal the series with it.

Out of nowhere, David Miller played the innings of his life, smashing his 3rd ODI hundred in a flurry of dazzling strokes all over the ground. Miller, nursing a groin injury, dug deep and formed a crucial, unbeaten 107-run stand from 70 balls for the seventh-wicket with Andile Phehlukwayo (42*). The left-hander had started slowly, but steadily built momentum and then completely unleashed himself on the Australians.

Miller’s innings was so special that it completely overshadowed the centuries by David Warner and Steven Smith earlier in the day. The hallmarks of Miller’s knock were his timing and the power he put into his shots, especially the pull. It was clean hitting at its finest as the ball traveled high into the Durban night sky, much to the thrill of the crowd.

Miller struck 6 glorious sixes and 10 scintillating fours, remaining unbeaten on a majestic 118 off 79 balls to take his team home with four balls to spare. It was a truly incredible performance that allowed South Africa to pull off the second-highest chase of all time and win the series.


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