KwaZulu-Natal v Free State at Durban, CSA Provincial One-Day Challenge

The last in a series: the fourth and fifth fastest ODI centuries in the knockout stages of a major tournament.

Number four took place in the final of the Rothman’s Cup Triangular Series on the March the 11th, 1990 – the same day that Lithuania declared its independence from the Soviet Union, one of the very first dominoes to fall in the inevitable deconstruction of the former super power.

But I digress…

The Rothman’s Cup Triangular series was an ODI tri-series featuring Australia, New Zealand, and India, with each team playing each other team twice.

Australia won all four of its matches, while New Zealand (the hosts) and India each won one and lost three.

New Zealand advanced to the finals thanks to a superior run rate.

The final took place at Eden Park in Auckland.

New Zealand won the toss and elected to have a bat; and were quite literally obitlerated by the superior Australian attack. At one point there were 33-5 before Jeff Crowe stayed out there for 100 deliveries – unfortunately for New Zealand he only scored 28 runs.

Sir Richard Hadlee came to the host’s rescue, scoring 79 off of only 105 deliveries, but he couldn’t bat forever, and his teammates did nothing else to help out, and New Zealand were all out for 162, four balls short of their allotted overs.

With the bat, Australia were equally as dominate, thanks mostly to Dean Jones’s fourth fastest ODI century in the knockout stage of a major tournament. He cruised to 102 not-out off of only 91 Kiwi deliveries and Australia won by eight wickets with 65 balls remaining.

A lovely knock from Jones, surely, but the match was really never in doubt.

Jones went into commentary after retiring and went on to call Hashim Amla a terrorist while on air.

He also played what Bob Simpson called the “greatest innings ever for Australia” – 210 runs off of 330 deliveries – over 500 minutes at the crease – at Chennai in 1987.

That particular test match ended in a tie – and that looks like an innings worth writing about. His 102 at Auckland surely is long forgotten; probably even by the batsman himself.

*

And the fifth fastest? Adam Gilchrist, in the final of the VB Series on February 14th, 2006.

Gilchrist, is of course, known for his big innings in big matches, and this match was no different.

The VB series was a tri-series involving Australia, Sri Lanka, and South Africa. It was twice as long as the series discussed above, with each team playing each other team four times instead of just twice.

Australia advanced with by far the best record of the three, and Sri Lanka advanced thanks to a couple bonus points.

Sri Lanka won the toss and chose to bat, and put up a decent enough score of 266, thanks mostly to 86 off of 91 from Jayawardene, another batsman who steps up when it matters, as we saw earlier in these posts.

Alas, it wasn’t enough, as Gilchrist put on a stunning batting performance, scoring 122 runs off of only 91 deliveries before being bowled by Muttiah Muralitharan.

Australia went on to win by nine wickets with 27 balls remaining.

Gilchrist did not hit another ODI century for 14 months, when he scored 149 off of 104 deliveries in a little over two hours at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados.

That was also, interestingly enough, against the Sri Lankans. But more importantly the knock came in the final of the World Cup.

Again, a more interesting bat, in a more interesting scenario, and also a more impressive performance, based simply on strike rate.

Which brings up the same point I made over and over again while writing about these posts: they are meaningless and arbitrary.

Jones’ knock at Chennai and Gilchrist’s knock at Bridgetown would have both been more fun to write about, definitely.

Thus, we close this chapter.  Something new tomorrow.

*

In other cricket news: Rahul Dravid retired.

I urge you, if you have done so already, to seek out as many of the tributes as you can online, as they are almost all worth your time.

Until next time.

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