Every year we have the privileged of witnessing some truly special knocks and 2019 was no different.
The World Cup in the summer ensured quality of the highest order and drama to go with it but there were some great innings year round.
Here, we look at the 10 best in ODIs over the last 12 months.
10. Babar Azam – 115 (108) vs Sri Lanka, Karachi
We start with a knock that brought joy to a country deprived of international cricket for almost a decade.
It was an innings that came on a flat track against a second string Sri Lankan attack but Babar Azam’s 11th hundred was sublime, underlining his immense talent.
First ODI century as Pakistan's vice-captain ✔️— Cricingif (@_cricingif) October 1, 2019
First ODI century in Karachi since 2009 (Salman Butt 100*) ✔️
Victory for the team in first ODI played at the venue in over a decade ✔️
Safe to say that Babar Azam had a decent day at the office 🇵🇰👏 #PAKvSL #CricketComesHome pic.twitter.com/CcXWQk9FZQ
During the course of this innings, Pakistan’s star batsman completed 1,000 international runs in a calendar year and surpassed Virat Kohli to become the third fastest to score 11 ODI tons.
9. Carlos Brathwaite – 101 (82) vs New Zealand
This was one of those most epic efforts than tragically ended in vain. What could have been the Kevin O’Brien movement of the 2019 World Cup fell a few inches short of it.
West Indies were tottering at 164 for seven, chasing 292, and the writing was on the wall. Or so thought the people who had switched off their television and those who left the stadium early. Not Carlos Brathwaite. The big-hitter smashed an unexpected century punctuated with five maximums.
He took the Windies within five runs of the target and would’ve taken them over the line, if not for a leaping Trent Boult at long on who completed a superb catch to deny them victory. We still remember the knock!
8. Thisara Perera 140(74) vs New Zealand
Another innings that ended badly for the batting team with Boult completing a stunner to seal the match.
At the start of the year, in a series-decider, Sri Lanka had plummeted to 128 for seven before Perera went on a six-hitting spree, adding 169 runs for the final three wickets.
Iron Man Thisara Perera ends at 140 (74) with 13 sixes, takes Sri Lanka to 298 all out from 128/7 chasing 320. @PereraThisara also broke Sri Lanka record for Most ODI Sixes in an innings, Sanath Jayasuriya had previously hit 11 sixes pic.twitter.com/fZAyptPVP8— Azzam Ameen (@AzzamAmeen) January 5, 2019
Protecting the tail-enders from hostile Kiwi pacemen, Perera smashed 13 maximums and eight boundaries to take his team ever so close to victory at Mount Maunganui.
7. Eoin Morgan – 148 (71) vs Afghanistan
The sheer ferocity of the innings from the English captain captivated everyone watching.
Eoin Morgan set the world record for the most number of sixes in an ODI innings with 17 hits over the rope and condemned one of the finest leg-spinners in the world to the ignominy of delivering the most expensive ODI spell as Rashid Khan conceded 110 runs in a nine-over spell.
Morgan’s assault led the eventual champions to their highest-ever World Cup total of 397 with 198 runs coming in the final 15 overs.
6. Shimron Hetmyer – 139 (106) vs India
The southpaw is quintessentially Caribbean in his style of batting and really put on show whilst chasing in Chennai against India.
His blitzkrieg knock enabled his partner Shai Hope to take his time to score a ton as well.
Hetmyer launched a calculated attack, tearing into the part-time bowlers after seeing through overs from the Indian pacers.
It was the knock that reminded people of his brilliance and he was duly recruited for a million dollars in the IPL auction that took place the following week.
5. Shakib Al Hasan – 124* (99) vs West Indies
Two months before he was banned by the ICC, Shakib Al Hasan was lighting up the World Cup for an otherwise pedestrian Bangladesh team. He was sensational with the bat and tidy with the ball in that tournament.
The 32-year-old’s best performance came against West Indies, when he put on a flawless batting performance in a successful run-chase of 322 at Taunton.
During the course of the knock, he reached 6,000 ODI runs and helped his team romp home with 51 deliveries to spare. It was his second consecutive century of the tournament as well.
4. Rohit Sharma – 159(138) vs West Indies
Hetmyer dropped Rohit Sharma when he was on 70 and the West Indies must have feared the worst then.
The Indian opener didn’t quite complete a fourth double century but produced another Sharma special as he smashed 55 off 29 after reaching his hundred.
In a must-win game at Visakhapatnam for India, Rohit recorded his eighth 150-plus ODI score and became the first opener to score 10 international centuries in a calendar year.
A truly special knock to round up a special year for the Hitman.
3. Ashton Turner – 84*(43)
The rookie surprise. Brought in as a squad player to India, Ashton Turner’s assault shocked and humbled Virat Kohli’s India as the visitors pulled off a sensational heist.
Australia's unbelievable chases v India in Mohali (ODIs)— Sarang Bhalerao (@bhaleraosarang) March 10, 2019
2013: James Faulkner hit an unbeaten 29-ball 64 as Australia chased 304
2019: Ashton Turner hit an unbeaten 43-ball 84 as Australia chased 359
This is Australia's highest ever run-chase in ODIs@rajasthanroyals #INDvAUS
The innings came against a bowling line up that included Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal while chasing 358.
He struck the ball cleanly and ran hard between the wickets, pacing the chase like an accomplished finisher.
It was quite an unbelievable start to an otherwise forgettable year for Turner, who then scored three consecutive ducks in the following month during the IPL before being sidelined by a shoulder injury.
2. Jos Buttler – 150(77) vs West Indies
Another brute of an innings from an Englishman. In a six-hitting fest, England rode on Jos Buttler’s brilliance to win the game that saw both teams score 807 runs in 100 overs.
The wicket-keeper batsman was on 45, going into the final ten overs and as was the norm with England’s ODI batting style in 2019, went berserk.
He was involved in a 204-run partnership with his skipper that took only 20.4 overs. Buttler sprayed sixes all over St George’s and even had a cheeky salute for Sheldon Cottrell after tonking the seamer over his head for a six.
1. Ben Stokes 84* (98) vs New Zealand
There couldn’t have been any other effort at No1. It was the stuff of dreams. On the grandest stage, in the home of cricket, Ben Stokes took his team to their maiden World Cup triumph against the country of his birth.
He snatched a tie from the jaws of defeat for England and then the hosts held their nerve in the super over to lift the trophy.
Needing 15 off the final over, Stokes smashed Trent Boult for a six over midwicket. Then came the other ‘six’ – all along the ground. The deflection off his bat took the ball that was thrown by the fielder at midwicket to the thirdman boundary.
After the game ended in a tie, he came back in the super over to score eight runs and set up the win for England.
He walked in at No.5 with his team at 86 for four in the 24th over. The all-rounder stayed until the end to script an unbelievable ending to a World Cup.
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