Batsman or bowler, it doesn’t matter. Playing in a limited-overs World Cup final is every player’s dream but performing well and winning the trophy for the team is a matter of great pride.
Six batsmen have, so far, scored centuries in ODI World Cup Finals and we will discuss them all in this piece. The batsmen mentioned in our list had different skill sets technically, but their stroke play amazed the fans globally.
Some batsmen mentioned in our list relied on power, while some relied on timing and placement; their batting styles vary. Some were comfortable against the spinners, while some were more aggressive against the pacers. Some built their innings slowly, while others attacked the bowlers immediately. However, all these batsmen will be remembered as legendary figures for their heroic performances on the most prominent cricket stage. Let’s analyse their performances in detail.
#6 Clive Lloyd (WI) – 102 in 85 balls (1975 World Cup Final vs Australia)
Lloyd was an aggressive captain, while his batting was equally destructive. In the final against the Australians, he smashed the Aussie bowlers all over the park. Although The former West Indies captain built his innings slowly, the 78-year-old batted with an attacking mindset.
The Guyana-born took apart Dennis Lillee, Jeff Thomson, and Gary Gilmour in his innings of 102 in 85 balls, which included 12 fours and 2 sixes. Lloyd pulled the ball brilliantly on a wicket that aided the pacers as he played fine drives through the covers. At one stage, West Indies looked in trouble when they were 50/3 when Gordon Greenidge got out, but Lloyd played a captain’s innings as Rohan Kanhai supported him well from the other end. West Indies scored 291/8 and won the final by 17 runs
#5 Mahela Jayawardene – 103 in 88 balls (2011 World Cup Final vs India)
The former Sri Lankan skipper played an outstanding knock under pressure. Although Sri Lanka lost the 2011 tournament final, Jayawardene stepped up when his team required him. His triple-digit knock gave Sri Lankan bowlers something to bowl to a challenging total.
The right-hander played some delightful drives and cut the ball beautifully. His batting was about timing as he placed the ball in the gaps. Jayawardene played the Indian spinners well and used the pace of the pacers quite cleverly.
#4 Aravinda De Silva – 107 in 124 balls (1996 World Cup Final vs Australia)
‘Mad Max,’ as he was fondly called, Aravinda de Silva significantly impacted Sri Lankan cricket. The 57-year-old batted with patience and a determined approach in the final against Australia in Lahore (Pakistan). Chasing 245, Sri Lanka was 23/2 when De Silva arrived at the crease. The right-hander stroked the ball beautifully in the gaps without taking too many risks.
The Colombo-born showcased his match-winning skills with a brilliant 107 in 124 balls, including 13 boundaries. His strokeplay was a combination of elegance and power. He played some pleasing back-foot punches with lazy elegance. The middle-order batter was ably supported by his skipper Arjuna Ranatunga from one end as the duo won the final for Sri Lanka.
#3 Vivian Richards – 138 in 157 balls (1979 World Cup Final vs England)
Vivian Richards was known for his charismatic style of play. The 70-year-old’s stroke play was about timing and power, one of his traits that only a few batsmen could match during that time. Especially, Richards was at his prime in the final of the 1979 World Cup, what was then called the Prudential Cup. The attacking minded batted aggressively against Ian Botham, Chris Old, and Mike Hendrik.
West Indies scored 286/9 in 60 overs and won the final by a margin of 92 runs. The Trinidadian scored 138 in 157 balls, smashing the English bowlers for 11 fours and 3 sixes. He played some powerful shots against both the pacers and spinners. Though Richards’s batting was always a treat to watch, this innings would be remembered as one of his finest.
#2 Ricky Ponting – 140 in 121 balls (2003 World Cup Final vs India)
The ‘Punter’ played a magnificent inning of 140 in just 121 balls, hitting 4 boundaries and 8 sixes, compiling an exemplary 234-run partnership alongside Damien Martyn. The former skipper hammered the Indian bowlers around the park, showcasing his attacking potency.
Ponting played incredible drives and pulled the ball with fine hand-eye coordination. The 47-year-old helped his side win the third World Cup title. The Tasmanian played some fine front-foot punches. He was equally attacking against the back-off-length deliveries.
#1 Adam Gilchrist – 149 in 104 balls (2007 World Cup Final vs Sri Lanka)
Arguably one of the best innings played by Adam Gilchrist in his ODI career; also, the highest individual score in any World Cup final. The one-sided 2007 tournament final saw the left-handed wicketkeeper-batsman destroying Sri Lankan bowling with his destructive style of play. He split the gap with some cracking square cuts and powerful drives. The 51-year-old pulled the ball with his mighty bottom hand and timed the ball delicately in the gaps.
The wicket-keeper batsman hit 13 boundaries and 8 sixes in his entire innings. Sri Lankan spinners, including Muttiah Muralitharan, looked helpless against him. Gilchrist picked the length quite early on a wicket that offered help to the pacers.