During the 1997 Women’s World Cup Belinda Clarke from Australia became the first International limited over double centurion against Denmark. A feat which was not achieved yet in Men’s game. Saeed Anwar’s record 194 was made a few months earlier which remained the highest individual score in the men’s game for the next few years.
As we moved past the new millennium one constant debate among cricket fans was to guess who would be One Day cricket’s first male double centurion, a scenario which looked likely more and more every passing day. Especially with the invent of T20 and presence of some of astonishing hitting talent in the game like Virender Sehwag, Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers the first ODI double century was round the corner. In 2009, bespectacled Charles Coventry touched Anwar’s record of 194 against Bangladesh but being an innings played between the minnows, the innings did not get focus and appreciation it deserved.
In 2010, South Africa came to India to play a short series of two tests and three ODIs. After a closely fought test series and tight first One Day which India won by just 1 run, the teams came to Gwalior for the second One Day international.
India Won the toss and elected to bat in better. Although Sehwag went early Sachin Tendulkar kept playing his shots and looked ominous. Tendulkar’s highest ODI score 186 was far away but his strokeplay that day gave an indication that something special might be in store. He along with Dinesh Karthik built a 196-run partnership and Tendulkar reached his 100 in just 90 balls. Once Karthik was departed Yousuf Pathan was sent up the order to utilize the platform built and he duly delivered with a 23-ball 36. By the time Pathan was dismissed Tendulkar already reached 168 in 41st over and 200 looks real possibility! With MS Dhoni for the company, Tendulkar broke Anwar’s record of 194 in the 45th over with thunderous applause from the spectators present in the ground. It is when MS Dhoni took over and Tendulkar could add only 4 more runs in next 3 overs. The 50th over started with India on 385, Sachin Tendulkar on 199 at the non-striker end and a nation on his feet, restless for a single from the master.
Langeveldt’s first delivery went for another six by Dhoni, must of be one of his least appreciated six by Indian fans as they were focussing on something else. In the next ball, Dhoni Swings the ball towards mid-wicket boundary but Amla dived to save the four and batsmen agree to not to go for the double despite the fumble, again came the huge cheer from the fans in the ground and also in front of the television. But the biggest cheer of the day was saved for the next delivery when Tendulkar steered the ball past point to become the first double centurion in One Day cricket in the ODI number 2,962. Everyone in the ground was up on their feet including his team members. Sachin Tendulkar has many records in his name, especially in the One Day Cricket and one of the key reasons for the enhanced popularity of this format during the 90’s. Hence very fittingly once he became the first double centurion of the game it gave a feeling of justice and fulfilments.
MS Dhoni finished in style to take India past 400 and South Africa could not replicate their Wonderers’ magic and lost by 153 runs.
Looked like Sachin Tendulkar has started a trend and in the next few years quite a few big names added themselves in the ‘ODI 200 Club’.
Sehwag broke Tendulkar’s record in December 2011, when he scored 219. The next two double hundreds came from Rohit Sharma who managed to change his career graph once he started opening in ODIs and proved his capacity to play long innings. During his second double hundred, he could reach 264 against Sri Lanka at Kolkata which remained the highest. In this way, the first four ODI double hundreds were all scored by Indians.
Interestingly on this same day, four years later, Chris Gayle became the first Non-Indian player to score an ODI double. This was also the first double century in the men’s World Cup game. But Gayle’s record of highest score in the World Cup was broken by Martin Guptil within a month when he scored 237 against the Windies in the Quarterfinal.
In the last four years, there are three instances of ODI double hundred. One more came from Rohit Sharma and the first from Pakistan was scored when Fakhar Zaman got one against Zimbabwe. The other double centurion during this period was Amelia Kerr, the young all-rounder from White Ferns who also took 5 wickets in the same match in one of the game’s greatest all-round performance.
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