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Happy Birthday Suresh Raina: 5 Best Innings Of The Southpaw

Raina celebrates his 35th birthday today. (Image: Instagram)

Raina celebrates his 35th birthday today. (Image: Instagram)

Suresh Raina played some crucial innings in partnership with MS Dhoni and took India to the victory line on many occasions.

From batting in the fields of Uttar Pradesh’s Muradnagar to delivering knocks at the biggest stage, former Indian cricketer Suresh Raina’s journey has been fascinating. When Raina had his way to the Indian team back in 2005, very few UP players had played international cricket for long but that was about to change. Raina slowly started cementing his place in the Indian middle-order for limited overs.

He played some crucial innings in partnership with MS Dhoni and took India to the victory line on many occasions. While Raina struggled to make a comeback in the latter part of his career, there’s no doubt he is among the best middle-order batsman India has seen in limited-overs cricket. As Raina celebrates his 35th birthday today (November 27), we take a look at some of the most important innings of his career.

89 vs England, 2006

The first of many incredible partnerships between Dhoni and Raina came in the third ODI of England’s tour of India in 2006. Despite restricting England to a total of 226, India was struggling. Half of the team was back in the pavilion with just 92 runs on board and the young duo of Raina and Dhoni had the responsibility to build the match for India and they did not disappoint.

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Though Dhoni got out after playing an important 38 runs, 18-year-old Raina stood his ground till the very end. Taking on the England bowling lineup, Raina guided India to victory with a brilliant 81 off just 89 balls.

101 vs South Africa, 2010

A fierce South African bowling lineup that had the likes of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Jacques Kallis was waiting to take on the Indian team after putting them to bat first. The Proteas initially got the start they wanted and sent Murali Vijay back to the pavilion on the second ball of the innings. But what followed next was a Raina show.

The southpaw struck shots all around the ground and went on to create history. Raina became the first batter to score a hundred in T20 internationals as he finished at 101.

34 vs Australia, 2011

The score might not sound huge but what it was game-changing. Indian were hoping to lift the World Cup after 28 long years in 2011 and the team were up and against Australians in the quarter-final match. Batting first, Australia had put a total of 260 runs and India looked in a firm position batting at 143/3.

But just then, the game started taking a different turn. India lost two quick wickets and was suddenly at 187/5. In came Raina who joined Yuvraj Singh to play a small but crucial innings in the Indian victory. The southpaws batted together and took India to victory in the 48 over. Raina finished at an unbeaten 34 off 28 balls.

100 vs England, 2014

India was coming from a disappointing 3-1 loss in the test series, the ODI were now their chance of redemption. After the first match got abandoned due to rain, all eyes were now on Cardiff. Batting first, India was at 110 for 3 when Raina walked in with responsibility to take the innings forward.

Soon, Ajinkya Rahane who was batting at the other end was also sent back to the pavilion and captain Dhoni walked to the crease. Raina and Dhoni stitched a brilliant partnership helping India reach a total of 304 runs. The men in blue went on to register to win the match and later the series. Raina played a brilliant knock of 100 runs off just 75 balls.

110 vs Zimbabwe, 2015

India remained undefeated in the group stage matches of the 2015 World Cup. The team had already beaten Pakistan, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, West Indies, Ireland and the match against Zimbabwe looked like a formality. But things panned out differently. Batting first, Zimbabwe posted 287 on board — thanks to the terrific innings of Brendon Taylors. The start of the chase did not go well for Indians either. The team faced top-order collapse and was struggling at 92/4 in the 23rd over.

The duo of Dhoni and Raina were on the crease with the task of taking the team across the line and they did not disappoint. Dhoni finished with 85 runs whereas Raina registered a fiery hundred and finished off with 110 runs off 104 balls.

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first published:November 27, 2021, 07:15 IST