On 11th April 2011, Shane Watson produced an extraordinary performance with the bat, smashing 185 off just 96 balls against Bangladesh in Mirpur, which included a record-breaking 15 sixes.
Australia and Bangladesh were involved in a three-match ODI series in the year 2011. The men from down under had suffered a loss in the quarter-final of the 2011 World Cup prior to the series, being their first absence from the final of the tournament since 1996. The minnows were eliminated from the group stage of the tournament, and were up against huge odds when they faced Michael Clarke and his side.
It was a comfortable victory for the visitors in the first game, as an excellent century by Michael Clarke and a tight bowling performance sealed a 60-run win.
Bangladesh elected to bat first in the second game, and had to bring in Rubel Hossain in place of an injured Mashrafe Mortaza. Australia had brought in all-rounder Callum Ferguson instead of Cameron White.
The home side got off to a terrible start, with openers Imrul Kayes and Tamim Iqbal back in the pavilion with the score at 27. Things got bad to worse for the minnows as Raqibul Hasan was bowled by John Hastings for a duck. Shakib Al Hasan resisted the Australian attack for 23 deliveries before he was bowled by leg spinner Steve Smith.
After bring up his half-century, Shariar Nafees became the second victim of Smith, giving back an easy catch to the 21-year-old. A cautious effort by Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah allowed Bangladesh to reach a respectable total. Handy contributions from the lower order helped Bangladesh reach 229 at the end of their fifty overs.
Any hopes of levelling the series were put to rest within the next hour as Australia finished the run-chase in just 26 overs, thanks to one of the most extraordinary innings played in the ODI format. The visitors just lost one wicket in their innings – Brad Haddin for eight runs. The second highest scorer was Ricky Ponting, who managed an unbeaten 37 off 42 balls. The rest came from extras and the bat of Shane Watson.
The all-rounder signalled his intentions with his first shot, unleashing a fearsome cut stroke towards point off Shaiful Islam. A ball later, he powerfully drove two deliveries, one towards cover and the other towards long-on. 14 runs were taken from the first over, and that was just the beginning of what was to follow.
Once the spinners were introduced into the attack, Watson unleashed a barrage of slog sweeps on the left-arm slow bowlers. And if it was short, he rocked back onto his back foot and pulled it away towards the midwicket or square-leg boundary. The seamers were not spared either. Anything short or wide was dispatched and anything full was belted down the ground.
With a glorious drive towards the cover region, Watson brought up his 6th ODI hundred, and it came off just 69 balls. He became even more aggressive after crossing the three-figure mark as his next 83 runs were brought up in just 27 balls! His onslaught in the latter stages of the innings included hitting four sixes in an over off Suhrawadi Shuvo and 22 from an over by Abdur Razzaq.
By the time the carnage ended, Australia had bulldozed their way to a nine-wicket win and Shane Watson had finished with 185 runs to his name in under two hours, owning the highest ever ODI score by an Australian. He became the record-holder for the most sixes hit in an ODI innings, 15 in total. (Currently 4th)
Australia went on to clean sweep the series in the end, and Watson’s knock in this game and his overall contribution throughout the series earned him the player of the series award.
Relive that extraordinary knock!