It is a bittersweet moment when a player ends up on the losing side despite his best efforts on the field. Many batsmen have felt the pain of losing a game even after playing an outstanding innings with the bat. In this article, we will look at the five best ODI innings in a losing cause.
#5 Sachin Tendulkar – 143 vs Australia, 1998
Australia batted first and scored 284 at Sharjah in the sixth match of the Coca-Cola Cup. After a sandstorm interruption, India required 237 from 46 overs to qualify for the final and 276 to win the game. Tendulkar fought alone at one end even as his teammates kept throwing away their wickets.
With the run rate going up after every over, Tendulkar decided that he has to launch a counter-attack to get things under control. He destroyed Shane Warne while Fleming and Kasprowickz were regularly hit down the ground. Sachin fell after ensuring India’s qualification, but this remains one of the best ODI innings in a losing cause.
#4 Charles Coventry – 194* vs Bangladesh, 2009
Coventry broke the world record for the highest ODI score in 2009, but unfortunately, it was not enough for Zimbabwe to wrap up the contest. Zimbabwe lost Vermuelen early in the game and Coventry came in at number 3. He played fearless cricket and scored seven boundaries and a six to reach his fifty off just 43 balls.
Due to lack of support from his partners at the crease, Coventry slowed down and reached his hundred off 110 deliveries. But he accelerated well in the death overs and scored 94 runs off 47 deliveries to take his team to a total of 312. But a brilliant century from Tamim Iqbal resulted in a victory for Bangladesh.
#3 Sachin Tendulkar – 175 vs Australia, 2009
Ever since Sehwag became his opening partner, Sachin started playing the role of an anchor and he barely attacked right from ball one. But a monumental target of 351 forced the little master to go back to his old ways. Tendulkar and Sehwag maximized the powerplay and got India off to a solid start.
After Sehwag’s departure, the Indian middle order failed to give any kind of support to Sachin as Gambhir, Yuvraj and Dhoni departed cheaply. Tendulkar was uncluttered by the collapse and scored boundaries regularly to keep India in the chase. India needed 18 runs in just three overs when Sachin departed but fell three short of the target.
#2 David Warner – 173 vs South Africa, 2016
South Africa completed a 5-0 humiliation of Australia at Cape Town despite Warner’s outstanding innings in a big chase. Warner and Finch got off to a fifty run partnership in a chase of 328 and the game changed after Finch’s wicket. Smith and Bailey did not hang around for long but Marsh and Head provided decent support to Warner.
Warner scored 24 boundaries in a superbly controlled knock and ran hard between the wickets. But his run-out was the end of Australia’s hopes of avoiding a whitewash.
#1 Fakhar Zaman – 193 vs South Africa, 2021
This innings is the very epitome of a one-man show as nobody else in the Pakistan lineup crossed 20 runs. Zaman got to his fifty with a huge six off Kagiso Rabada but did not take any unnecessary risks until the 40th over. He exploded during the last 10 overs, and it was Shamsi who was at the wrong end of the onslaught.
Zaman ended the forty-second over with two sixes off Shamsi and when Shamsi came again, Zaman struck a hat-trick of sixes. An unlucky run out in the last over robbed him off a double hundred, but this innings will be remembered as the best ODI innings in a losing cause.