Cricket has become a batsman’s game and there is no doubt that they take full advantage of the conditions that they play in. Flatter pitches, no swing, and shorter boundaries, everything seems to be perfectly placed for the batters. But even after all these things, you need to have some talent to build your innings and convert it into a match-winning one.
Today, we are going to talk about one such inning that enthralled everyone around the world. If you were present in the ground or glued to your TV, this inning would have surely made you realize that a LEGEND of Indian cricket has taken birth at the iconic Eden Gardens.
On November 13, 2014, Rohit Sharma went on to shatter the record books when he blasted his way to be the highest-ever individual score in One-Day Internationals. During the fourth ODI of the five-match series against Sri Lanka in Kolkata, the boy from Mumbai played a blistering knock of 264 off just 173 balls and pierced through the bowling line-up like a bullet.
Rohit had not played competitive cricket for nearly three months as he looked rusty at the start of the innings. In the fifth over of the innings, Rohit went down the track to slash a delivery from Shaminda Eranga only to get an outside edge. The ball flew straight towards the third-man fielder. Thisara Perera, the fielder at that position, split an easy chance as Rohit survived a huge scare whilst batting on just 4 off just 17 balls. It took seven overs for Rohit to score his first boundary, but the Mumbai Indians skipper looked comfortable at the crease ever since being dropped.
For the next 150 minutes, it was one-way traffic with the fans were glued to their television sets in awe of India’s own hitman.
With Virat Kohli at the other end, both started to unleash hell on the bowlers. Rohit started to free his hands and take the aerial route now. He reached his half-century in just 72 balls, with just five hours. If anyone has watched Rohit’s career closely, then one can see he is a slow starter but once he gets his eye in, the opposition has a torrid time on the field. This inning was no different as he soon started cashing in.
He did not want to stop and he exactly did that. Now, he was settled in and looking to announce his comeback in style. The next 28 balls he faced turned out to be a nightmare for the Sri Lankan bowlers. The batsman took just 28 deliveries to score
his next fifty runs. He reached his fifth ODI century at a run-a-ball with the help of 12 fours and one six.
He developed a particular liking towards pacer Nuwan Kulasekara and smashed him for two fours and a six in the 30th over of the match to signal his true intentions. Kulasekara bowled a total of 9 overs in the match and gave away 89 runs. The batsman was in sublime touch as the innings progressed. The drives through cover and wide long-off were a treat to watch. All these shots were played all along the ground and they beat the long-off fielders quite comfortably.
He stepped on the accelerator after reaching the three-figure mark and scored seven fours and two sixes in the next 25 balls to reach the 150-run mark.
Batting on 197 off just 150 deliveries, Rohit was just three runs away from rewriting history when the bowler Nuwan Kulasekara bowled a full ball on the middle stump, which was driven through the covers by the batsman. As the ball reached the fence, the whole stadium erupted and applauded Rohit Sharma for his world-class inning. He became the first person to hit 2 double-centuries in One-Day Internationals. The iconic Eden Gardens was seeing a historical inning and a LEGEND in the making.
Even after the scoring the double-century, there were still 4 overs remaining in the match. Rohit posed a big threat to Sehwag’s 219, the highest individual score in an ODI until November 12.
Shaminda Eranga had come back into the attack and was smashed for runs all over the park. His six off the free-hit will down in history as that towering six took him to 222 and made him the highest individual scorer in a One-Day International. In the next over, Rohit annihilated Kulasekara for three fours and one six with the latter being a combination of a scoop and a paddle sweep to a full and wide ball.
Rohit had a great partnership with Robin Uthappa at the end. Uthappa played the most selfless inning of his cricketing career and gave full support to him by taking singles and doubles. He scored 16 runs off 16 balls. But now comes the interesting stat. Uthappa and Rohit shared a brilliant partnership of 128 runs with the boy from Mumbai scoring 112 runs in that partnership.
Another milestone was in sight for Rohit. This milestone had never been achieved before in the history of cricket. Getting an individual score of 250 is massive and he was just a few runs away from it. In the 49th over, Rohit did the unthinkable and became the first ever batsman in ODI history to score a 250. No one could believe it and everyone was in shock that an Indian batsman has given such an extraordinary performance with the bat. He took his bat up in the air and thanked the gods for giving him the strength to play such a big inning.
If you want to know how lethal and dominating he was during his inning then you need to realize that he sprinted from 200 to 250 in only 15 deliveries. In the last 10 overs, Rohit alone managed to score 110 runs. The carnage that took place inside Eden Gardens powered India to a mammoth total of 404 for the loss of five wickets.
The batsman clobbered 264 off just 173 balls and still holds the record for the highest score in an ODI. Eden Gardens was in raptures as Rohit dazzled the park with his strokeplay. The fact that this innings came on his comeback makes it even more special.
That inning made him immortal and Rohit was one of the elites now. No one would have thought in their wildest dreams that a double-century can be scored, but Sachin Tendulkar went one step ahead and become the first person to hit double-ton in the shorter format of the game. Now, when everyone thought no one could get past the record, here comes another guy from Mumbai who not only broke his record but managed to create one more record which will be really difficult to break.
His inning will always be remembered as one of the brutal innings of all time in One-Day Internationals.
About the Author
Sports Journalist by profession, a Cricket Fanatic by passion. Aayush Sharma has been following the game of cricket since childhood and considers Sachin Tendulkar as his idol. When in free time, he loves to read books or go out and play some gully cricket with friends. For him, Tennis ace Roger Federer and F1 Legend Michael Schumacher are the only sportspersons that reach the level of Tendulkar