The 21st of May marks the 24th anniversary of one of the greatest innings in the history of ODI cricket produced by one of the stalwarts and most outstanding batsmen of the 50-over game - Saeed Anwar hammered a magnificent 194 of just 146 deliveries against India in Chennai in the Independence Cup in 1997 and created a new world record breaking a 13-year old one held by the great Vivian Richards. Unlike in contemporary cricket, when with the advent of T20 cricket, rising scoring rates and strike rates have led to massive individual scores in the ODI format too, to register in excess of 150 was a rare feat in the 1990s. And in that light Anwar’s stunning 194 remains a standout performance in history and tellingly the only one in the ten highest scores in ODI cricket which did not come at the turn of the millennium.
Here is the journey of the highest score in ODI cricket.
171: Turner Turns It On in 1975 World Cup (1975)
The great New Zealand batsman, Glenn Turner stunned the cricketing world with a majestic unbeaten 171 opening the innings for New Zealand against minnows East Africa in the second match of the inaugural World Cup in Birmingham in 1975. New Zealand amassed 309 and restricted East Africa for 128 for 8 in the allotted 60 overs.
175: Kapil Dev’s Magical Unbeaten 175 At Tunbridge Wells (1983)
Coming into bat at 9 for 4 which soon worsened to 17 for 5, India’s captain Kapil Dev produced one of the most magnificent innings in the history of ODI cricket when he blasted an undefeated 175 off just 138 deliveries against Zimbabwe at Tunbridge Wells in the 1983 World Cup. Kapil scored almost 66% of India’s total of 266 and the team went on to win by 31 runs. The victory inspired an unfancied Indian contingent to raise their game and play at a level which exceeded everyone’s expectations. They went on to lift the trophy exactly a week later at Lord’s in London. Kapil had also broken Turner’s 8 year record of the highest individual score in ODI cricket.
189: Richards Produces The Greatest Innings In ODI Cricket History (1984)
From 11 for 2 which worsened to 83 for 4 and then 166 for 9, Richards hammered the most outrageous ODI hundred in the format’s history remaining unbeaten 189 off 170 deliveries against England in the first ODI of the Texaco Trophy at Manchester in 1984. It was the highest score in ODI cricket till 13 years before Saeed Anwar smashed 194 against India in Chennai in 1997. West Indies ended with 272 for 9 and bowled out England for 168.
Richards scored 86 runs after registering his century off just 58 deliveries at a strike rate of 148.28. He added 106 for the last wicket with Holding, who contributed just 12. It is still a world record! This innings was rated by Wisden as the greatest ODI knock of all-time. Richards scored 69.48% of the total runs scored by the West Indies in the match – it remains the highest percentage of team runs scored in a completed innings in ODI history! His individual score was more than two and a half times the collective score of the other West Indian batsmen.
194: Anwar Breaks The Record After 13 Years (1997)
Pakistan dashing left-hander, Saeed Anwar produced a sublime 194 off just 146 deliveries against India in Chennai. He scored around 59% of his team’s total of 327 as Pakistan beat arch-rivals India by 35 runs at Chepauk. The elegant left-hander had broken the 13-year old record set by Richards as he launched an incredible assault on the likes of Anil Kumble, Venkatesh Prasad and co.
Charles Coventry of Zimbabwe came close to overhauling Anwar’s record in 2009 but could not quite finish the deed. He remained unbeaten on 194 against Bangladesh in Bulawayo equaling the record of the Pakistani batsman but not quite surpassing it.
200: Tendulkar & the First Double Hundred (2010)
It had to be that man! Sachin Tendulkar put his name in the record books yet again in his glorious career as on the 24th of February, 2010 against South Africa in Gwalior, he became the first batman in the history of ODI cricket to record a double hundred. Opening the innings, he remained undefeated on 200 off 147 deliveries, reaching the historic landmark off the third delivery of the 50th over as India amassed a colossal 401 for 3 against the likes of Dale Steyn and co. The record for the highest individual score had been broken - again after 13 years.
219: The Nawab of Najafgarh Conquers Indore (2011)
Virender Sehwag did not let Tendulkar’s record hold for long in the history books as barely a couple of years later he annihilated the West Indies in Indore and blasted a hurricane 219 off just 149 deliveries smashing 25 fours and 7 sixes. India piled on 418 for 5 - which remains their highest score in ODI history.
264: The Second of His Three Doubles - Rohit Sharma Surpassed Everest (2014)
Rohit Sharma notched up the highest individual score in ODI history - a humongous 264 off just 173 deliveries against Sri Lanka at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata in November 2014 as India crossed 400 yet again in the format. Rohit’s innings included 33 fours and 9 towering sixes - a record 186 runs came from just boundaries - the highest in the game’s history! This was Rohit’s second double hundred in ODI cricket. He, quite stunningly, notched up another one - again against Sri Lanka in Mohali in 2017.
It speaks volumes of the pedigree and talent in batting in India that four of the seven batsmen on the list above are from the country.