As India gears up for the One Day International series in South Africa, The Ring Side View looks back at some memorable batting performances by Indian batsmen over the years in the Rainbow Nation.
- Sachin Tendulkar – 98 vs Pakistan at Centurion, ICC Cricket World Cup 2003
What more can be written about this knock? A performance that remains etched in the annals of India-Pakistan cricket. The two sides were facing off after nearly three years and in a crunch game, Sachin Tendulkar showed what makes him a champion. Chasing a challenging 274, Tendulkar tore into an attack comprising of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar. Akhtar in particular was carted around the park, which included the famous upper-cut for six over point. Tendulkar didn’t get to the three-figure mark but Yuvraj Singh and Rahul Dravid ensured India romped home comfortably.
2. Yusuf Pathan – 105 vs South Africa at Centurion, 5th ODI, 2011
India’s final game before the 2011 World Cup gave them the belief that they could tackle any situation. Although they lost the tour finale in South Africa, Yusuf Pathan’s innings ignited great hope in the power of the Indian batting. Chasing a revised target of 268 in 46 overs, India were reduced to 60 for five when Pathan walked out to bat. They kept losing wickets and at 119 for eight, all hope seemed lost. Pathan continued his assault though, playing some innovative shots, which included a falling reverse-sweep off Robin Peterson. Zaheer Khan held one end to support Pathan. However, just when India could see the glimmer of hope, Pathan was dismissed in the 36th over with the score on 219. Pathan’s 105 off 70 balls featured eight fours and eight sixes.
3. Robin Singh – 48 vs Zimbabwe at Paarl, 3rd ODI of Standard Bank Tri-series 1997
Not a lot went India’s way on this tour until this game and here, they were in danger of losing to Zimbabwe. However, in walked Robin Singh at 166 for six, with India chasing 237 for victory. Up until then, Robin had played only seven matches across seven years and scored 34 runs. At the age of 33, it was his make-or-break moment. Once Ajay Jadeja was dismissed, it was all up to Robin, who smashed an attacking 48 to keep India in the game. The match went down to the last over, which saw Robin run-out in a dramatic tie as India were bowled out with scores level.
4. WV Raman – 114 vs South Africa at Centurion, 3rd ODI, 1992
WV Raman became the first Indian to score an ODI century in South Africa as they recorded their first victory in the Rainbow Nation. Chasing a modest target of 215, the left-handed opener calmly guided the Indian innings. The importance of his knock is highlighted in the fact that the second highest score was an unbeaten 27 by Ravi Shastri, which came at the death as India needed some quick runs. Raman was dismissed on 114 with India in sight of victory.
5. Yusuf Pathan – 59 vs South Africa at Cape Town, 3rd ODI, 2011
This was a precursor to what was to come in the fifth game at Centurion, but India emerged victorious at Cape Town. Chasing 221, India were in trouble at 93 for five. Pathan walked out and played his fearless brand of cricket, combining with Suresh Raina to form a crucial partnership. Pathan’s 59 featured three big sixes, which illustrated his ability to clear the field under pressure. He would have liked to see it through but was dismissed with India still 39 runs away. Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh chipped in to help India get across the line. Not to forget, Ashish Nehra who hit the winning runs with a loft over the infield.