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2020 in Review

The knocks unlucky to miss out on Wisden’s ODI innings of 2020

by Sankalp Srivastava 4 minute read

As part of Wisden’s 2020 in Review series, we’ve picked out the five ODI innings of the year. But there were plenty of deserving knocks that were unlucky to miss the cut. Sankalp Srivastava picks out nine of them.

Janneman Malan 129* (139)

South Africa v Australia
Mangaung Oval
2nd ODI
March 4

The hundred came in Malan’s second-ever ODI – he’d been dismissed by the first ball of his first ODI – against an Australian attack featuring Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, after having lost his captain and opening partner Quinton de Kock in the first over of a 275-run chase. Malan’s century just missed out on our list, but that shouldn’t take anything away from the knock’s quality. It was crafted patiently and with help from Klaasen and Miller, Malan took the team home.

Sam Billings 118 (110)

England v Australia
Old Trafford
1st ODI
September 11

Billings’s maiden ODI hundred would have been talked about even more had he been ably supported by his teammates on the night. Coming in at 57-4 with four of the world’s best white-ball batsmen already back in the hut, Billings added 113 with Bairstow, chasing 295. As the English opener fell, England’s hopes seemingly went with him too. But Billings didn’t stop, completing his century and scoring at over run a ball. He was only dismissed off the last ball of the innings after all was lost, but he came close to stealing a special win for his side.

Hardik Pandya 92* (76)

Australia v India
Manuka Oval
3rd ODI
December 2

Pandya substantiated the team management’s decision to pick him purely on his batting ability in the ODI series against Australia, finishing as the top run-getter for India. While a 90-run knock in the first ODI went in vain, he was forced to perform another rescue act in the third ODI. He walked in with India 123-4 and soon 152-5 but along with Jadeja, added 150 for the sixth wicket to take the side to a match-winning total of 302. But the fact that the knock came against an Australian attack sans Starc & Cummins meant he missed out on our top five.

Steve Smith 104 (64)

Australia v India
Sydney Cricket Ground
2nd ODI
November 29

Smith’s first Sydney super ton against India ODI did make our list of the five ODI knocks of the year, but the second one will have to do with a spot in the ‘unlucky to miss out’ list. He completed this hundred in 62 deliveries as well and the knock won Smith the Player of the Match award too but it misses out on our five because he was carrying some momentum from the first ODI into this, which only adds to the value of the first knock.

Liton Das 176 (143)

Bangladesh v Zimbabwe
Sylhet International Cricket Stadium
3rd ODI
March 6

The highest individual ODI knock of the year, and Liton Das’ second century in a span of five days, glittered with 16 fours and eight sixes. If he wasn’t dismissed in the 41st over, Das might as well have become Bangladesh’s first and cricket’s ninth ODI double centurion.

Quinton de Kock 107 (113)

South Africa v England
1st ODI
February 4

De Kock, South Africa’s captain and premier batsman too, started the ODI series against the visiting world champions with a fine knock, leading his side to a seven-wicket win. The wicketkeeper-batsman added 173 for the second wicket with Temba Bavuma and was only dismissed after seeing South Africa to a safe point in the chase. That England’s bowling attack wasn’t a tad depleted is perhaps why this de Kock knock didn’t make our top five.

David Warner 128* (112)

India v Australia
Wankhede Stadium
1st ODI
January 14

The opener of a highly anticipated series against India was just the perfect stage for Warner to bring out his best. Chasing a below par 256 in Mumbai, Warner made a mockery of the Indian bowling attack, along with Aaron Finch, chasing down the target in the 38th over without breaking a sweat.

Babar Azam 125 (125)

Pakistan v Zimbabwe
Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium
3rd ODI
November 3

This was Babar Azam’s first series as Pakistan’s full-time ODI captain and he made it memorable with his 12th ODI hundred, albeit in a losing cause. Chasing 279 set by Zimbabwe courtesy a Sean Williams 100 – which forms a part of this list too – Babar found an unexpected batting partner in Wahab Riaz and added 100 runs with him for the seventh wicket. But the skipper fell with Pakistan 13 short of the target. The match eventually went into a super over and Zimbabwe prevailed.

Sean Williams 118* (135)

Pakistan v Zimbabwe
Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium
3rd ODI
November 3

Sean Williams’s century, the fourth of his ODI career, propelled Zimbabwe to 278 before Babar Azam came up with his 12th and almost spoiled his party. He was ably supported by Brendan Taylor and Sikandar Raza but it was Williams’s knock which ultimately helped Zimbabwe get one back in the ODI series. But he rode his luck during the knock with Pakistan giving him multiple retrieves, which is why he misses out on our list.

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