India’s Virender Sehwag provides Indore fireworks
India's Virender Sehwag beats the record highest individual score in the 50-over format, hitting 219 off 149 balls
Virender Sehwag recorded the highest individual score in ODI history as India beat the West Indies by 153 runs in Indore on Thursday.
He smashed his way to 219 off just 149 balls, including 25 fours and seven sixes, as India posted their highest-ever ODI total of 418 for five.
His innings, which combined trademark brutal blows with sublime placement and deft touches, surpassed the previous record held by teammate Sachin Tendulkar, who made 200* against South Africa last year.
Speaking at the end of India’s innings, the stand-in captain admitted he never expected to beat the Little Master’s record.
“I never dreamed of it, but I said to myself and to Gautam Gambhir that if we batted with patience we could score big here because the wicket was good to bat on,” he said.
“I think everybody was expecting me to score a double hundred and I live on expectations, so thanks to everyone, my fans and especially my family who supported me all the time.”
The opener was in a determined mood from the outset, expertly upper-cutting a rapid Kemar Roach bouncer for six over the third-man boundary in the third over.
With the ball disappearing to all parts from his blade, the West Indian bowlers appeared clueless as to where to pitch the ball, but were offered a glimmer of hope when he chipped the ball to Darren Sammy in the covers when on 170.
Incredibly, the West Indies skipper shelled the easy chance, thus ensuring the record remained in sight and possibly cemented his place at the top of Sehwag’s Christmas card list.
“When Sammy dropped the catch I thought God is with me and God is telling me that you need to bat to the 45th or 46th over and you will achieve your 200,” said Sehwag.
“I was playing my shots throughout the innings and I thought about it and if I just batted through the Powerplay, maybe I’ll cross that 200-mark.”
Fellow opener Gautam Gambhir provided able support before he was run out for 67 with a tenth ODI century in sight on a very flat wicket.
The out-of-touch Suresh Raina, with just seven runs from his last three innings, was promoted up the order and rediscovered some form with an elegant 55 before sacrificing his wicket and being run out.
Sehwag eventually fell, caught at long off in the 47th over off the bowling of Kieron Pollard, and it was left to the in-form Rohit Sharma (27 off 16 balls) and the classy Virat Kohli (23* off 11), to take India to their record score.
In reply, the West Indies lost wickets at regular intervals and never looked like challenging the host’s total, eventually stumbling to 265 all out.
Denesh Ramdin top-scored with a composed run-a-ball 96, his highest score in ODIs, and his first international fifty in four-and-a-half years.
Lendl Simmons (36) looked in fine touch at the top of the innings and exciting all-rounder Andre Russell gave a glimpse of his promising talent, striking three huge sixes, one of which exited the stadium, before being stumped for 29.
“We had the better of him throughout the Tests and one-day series so far, but today he just took advantage. [It was a] brilliant innings and unfortunately we were on the receiving end,” said Sammy, of Sehwag.
“He’s destroyed bowlers all over the world. I think we bowled some good balls but he played some tremendous shots. He used the wicket quite well and he played a good innings.”
Immediately after his innings Sehwag was quick to admit the effect it had had on his body.
“Right now I’m very tired because I’m a 33 year old man and my back and glutes are tight, so I’ll go and take an ice bath and get back on the field.”
He did not return for West Indies’ innings, but it is fair to say he’d earned his rest.