Top 10: Highest Individual ODI Score in a Losing Cause

When you talk about ODIs, it is a middling format where the batsman gets enough time to accumulate or anchor the innings unlike the T20Is and at the same time, he has to accelerate at some time, unlike Test match cricket. So batsmen need the ability to find the right balance in their game to play this format of the game. ODI format came into existence in the 1970s and became a highly successful one until the last few years. Enough said, ODI World Cup though is still the most prized and prestigious tournament in Cricket.

We will all agree Cricket is a batsman’s game and there have several records of batting created, broken/ shattered in the past 50 years. But at the end of the day, cricket is a team game, and no one individual (be it a bowler or batsman) can win the game on his alone most often than not. This article will why it is so.

There are knocks in ODIs, be it a big daddy hundred, a flash of brilliance in a winning cause that got etched in the memory of millions of fans across the globe, and there are some underrated innings by players that don’t the recognition. These knocks go largely unnoticed and are underrated due to the fact that their team couldn’t go past the line in that game.

We will take a sneak peek at some of them – the below list is the top 10 ODI scores of all time by an individual in a losing cause.

#1 Charles Coventry – 194* (156) vs Bangladesh, 16th August 2009, Bulawayo

Many of us may not associate with a Zimbabwe batter being top of this list and some of us might not have heard of the player named Charles Coventry. Zimbabwe opted to bat first at the Queen’s Sports Club and posted a challenging first innings score of 312 against Bangladesh. Of these 312 runs, 194 were scored by the No.3 Zimbabwe batsman Charles Coventry and this monumental knock of his included 7 sixes, and 16 boundaries coming from 1. The next highest score in the team was 37 and this shows the magnitude of Coventry’s knock.

The right-hander equaled the then-highest score of 194 set by Saeed Anwar in 1997 against India but unfortunately ended up on the losing side as Bangladesh won the game by 4 wickets and more than 2 overs to spare.

Can you guess: Which Zimbabwe batsman has scored the most number of ODI centuries?

#2 Fakhar Zaman – 193 (155) vs South Africa, 4th April 2021, Johannesburg

Fakhar Zaman is one of the 4 players to have made it to the list of Top 10 high scores in ODIs both in winning and losing causes. The left-handed opening batsman from Pakistan showed why he is one of the dangerous white ball players by playing a gem of an innings against South Africa albeit in a losing cause. Chasing a daunting target of 342, Zaman scored a brilliant 193 off just 155 balls and this included 18 fours & 10 maximums.

He kept losing partners at the other end and single-handedly took Pakistan from being 205/7 at one stage to their eventual score of 324. The visitors may have lost the match but Zaman’s 193 remains the highest ever ODI score in South Africa.

#3 Matthew Hayden – 181 (166) vs New Zealand, 20th February 2007, Hamilton

Matthew Hayden, the powerhouse of left-hander makes it to this unfortunate list in 3rd position. The Aussie opener held his forte and was in his usual destructive best in this spectacular knock of 181 from 166 balls. This included 11 boundaries and 10 sixes helping Australia post a mammoth 346/5 on the board.

The Kiwis were rocked early in the chase but an equally sensational partnership of 165 between Brendon McCullum and Craig McMillan gave them a historic 1-wicket win over the Aussies. New Zealand eventually whitewashed the 3-match ODI series 3-0 and this was just before the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007.

Can you guess: Which batsman has scored the most runs in ICC tournaments?

#4 Evin Lewis – 176 (130) vs England, 27th September 2017, The Oval

The Oval at London is traditionally a high-scoring venue as far as the white-ball formats are concerned and it witnessed yet another fast-scoring rain game when England took on the West Indies in 2017. Inserted into batting, the Windies lost 3 quick wickets but Evin Lewis constructed one of the great ODI knocks. The left-hander was able to find partners who gave him solid but unfortunately, he had to retire hurt as he suffered a hairline fracture to his right ankle while on 176. His innings comprised of 17 fours and 7 sixes and a late blitz by skipper Jason Holder took Windies score 356/6.

England scored 258 runs from 35.1 when rain gods decided to interrupt. This was enough to secure a win in a rain-truncated game for the hosts as they won by 6 runs .

#5 Sachin Tendulkar – 175 (141) vs Australia, 5th November 2009, Hyderabad

The Indian batting maestro is another batter to find a place both here and in the highest ODI scores in the list of the winning cause. Sachin Tendulkar scored a majestic 175 against a top-quality Aussie bowling attack in Hyderabad. Chasing a tall target of 351, India made quick progress thanks to Tendulkar’s belligerence but none of the other top-order batsmen gave him enough support.

Youngsters Ravindra Jadeja and Suresh Raina did hang in there for a while but Sachin’s fantastic knock that had 19 four and 4 sixes went in vain as the hosts lost the thriller by 3 runs.

#6 David Warner – 173 (136) vs South Africa, 12th October 2016, Cape Town

Another classic example of a batsman who is very well set and middling everything but keeps losing out on partners at the other end. David Warner experienced just that in the 5th ODI at Cape Town against South Africa. Chasing 328, Warner had to see his fellow Australian batters go one after the after back to the pavilion but he kept on piling on runs and getting ever so closer to the target.

Eventually, it was too steep for Warner and Australia his stroke-filled 173 included 24 boundaries went in vain.

#7 Rohit Sharma – 171* (136) vs Australia, 12th January 2016, Perth

Rohit Sharma and the penchant for high scores in ODIs continued and it was against his favorite white-ball opposition Australia at the WACA, Perth. Batting first, India made 309/3 thanks to a marvelous 171 off 163 and sublime 97-ball 91 from Virat Kohli on a bouncy pitch. His 171 included 13 fours and 7 sixes but his efforts didn’t clinch India the game.

Australian skipper Steve Smith continued to dominate India’s attack as he did throughout the previous summer by cracking a stupendous 149 in the chase and was ably supported by George Bailey who made 112. The hosts won the game by 5 wickets in a final over finish.

#8 Robin Smith – 167* (163) vs Australia, 21st May 1993, Birmingham

Robin Smith had the distinction of scoring the most runs in an innings in the pre-2000 era. England’s no.3 scored his career-best ODI score of unbeaten 167 after being inserted into bat by Australia in the 2nd game of the series. His knock contained 3 sixes and 17 fours but lack of support from the top-order ensured England could pile only 277/5 in that particular 55-over ODI game.

Aussies chased it down with an over to spare and by 5 wickets courtesy of a Mark Waugh special who made a cracking century(113).

#9 Ricky Ponting – 164 (109) vs South Africa, 12th March 2006, Johannesburg

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Widely regarded as the best ODI game ever in history and it holds great significance in Cricket. 2 of possibly the strongest cricket teams fittingly played each other on a belter of Wanderers pitch and the result was memorable. Australia piled up a massive 434/4(then highest ODI total) thanks to an incredible 164 off just 109 balls by skipper Ricky Ponting and quick half-centuries from the rest of the top-4.

But what happened in South Africa’s chase was even more special as they did the unthinkable. Riding on a sensational 111-ball 175 from Herschelle Gibbs, a captain knock by Graeme Smith, and other significant contributions, the Proteas hunted down the target in the penultimate ball of the innings. Their 438/9 still remains the highest 2nd innings ODI total and the match aggregate of 872 runs is the most in ODI history.

Can you guess: Which batsman has the highest ODI score playing as captain?

#10 Chris Gayle – 162 (97) vs England, 27th February 2019,  St George’s

The Universe Boss showed why he is one of the most feared batsmen across formats with a scintillating knock even at the fag end of his storied career. England batting first made a massive 418/6 in their 50 overs thanks due to a stunning display of hitting by Jos Buttler who made 77-ball 150. On normal days it is enough to script a win but not on the day when there is carnage from Chris Gayle. The opener sent 14 maximums outside the park and hit 11 fours in that epic knock of 162 from just 97 deliveries.

Unfortunately, the rest of the batters couldn’t continue with the same vile as Gayle. The Windies could manage only 389 and eventually lost the game by a mere 29 runs.

PS: Afghanistan’s Ibrahim Zadran equalled Gayle’s score of 162 in a 138-balls innings against Sri Lanka in a lost game in Pallekele in 2022.

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