The eighth edition of the ICC Champions Trophy gets underway from June 1 and the anticipation for the same is scaling newer heights. This is not just a tournament, it’s a battle between the giants of the game and one can expect the intensity to be on a different level altogether. Eight top teams in world cricket will battle it out for glory and the action between them will be mesmerising for the fans.The Champions Trophy is also acknowledged as the second most coveted tournament after the ICC World Cup. Every edition witnesses some mind-blowing batting performances and one can expect this year to be the same. On this occasion, we climb down the memory lane and pick five outstanding batting performances in the history of the tournament.
Sachin Tendulkar’s 141 v Australia, 1998
No batting list is complete without Sachin Tendulkar, the demigod of cricket has numerous records to his name and would find himself in almost every batting record. In the quarter-final encounter against Australia in Dhaka back in 1998, Sachin Tendulkar went blitzkrieg and smashed 141 off 128 deliveries. India were in deep trouble at 8 for 2, when Sachin Tendulkar steadied the ship and steered India to a dominating position with the help of 13 boundaries and three maximums. He was well supported by Rahul Dravid and Ajay Jadeja at the other end as India posted 307 runs on the board riding on Sachin Tendulkar’s magnificent century. Indian bowlers did well to decimate Australia for 263 and won the game by 44 runs. This was undoubtedly one of the best innings ever played in the history of the tournament and who could have been a better batsman to execute it?
Shane Watson 136 not out v England, 2009
An all-rounder is precious and brings a lot of stability in the line-up, his presence provides an extra option to the skipper. Shane Watson, on this occasion, proved why is he reckoned as one of the bests. The pressure of a semi-final is humongous, yet there are few gems who absorb it and bring their best game out at such crucial junctures. In the semi-final encounter against England of the 2009 edition in Centurion, Shane Watson came out all guns blazing and turned out to be a nightmare for England. After an impressive outing with the ball, where he picked couple of wickets, Watson replicated his magic with the bat as well. With the help of 10 elegant boundaries and seven muscular sixes, Watson garnered 136 runs off 132 balls to help his side chase down the target of 258 inside 42 overs. Shane Watson stitched a match-winning stand of 252 runs with Ricky Ponting as Australia overhauled England with nine wickets to spare.
Virender Sehwag 126 against England, 2002
Former Indian opener Virender Sehwag was widely reckoned for his maverick approach and stroke-pay at the top. He redefined open batting with his unique yet effective style and scored runs aplenty at the top. During a group stage encounter against England in the 2002 edition in Colombo, Sehwag was at his brutal best when he plundered a match-winning 126 off just 104 deliveries. His knock contained 21 boundaries and a solitary six. While chasing a target of 270, Sehwag showed no mercy whatsoever and got the ball rolling from the outset. Sehwag along with Sourav Ganguly laid the foundation with a stunning 192-runs stand at the top as India won the game by eight wickets. Sourav Ganguly also had a century to his name as India romped home to another victory.
Jacques Kallis 113* against Sri Lanka, 1998
In the semi-final encounter of the first edition of ICC Champions Trophy between South Africa and Sri Lanka in Dhaka, Jacques Kallis made a name for himself with some style. In a rain-curtailed match, South Africa scored 240 runs in 39 overs riding on Jacques Kallis’ unbeaten 113 off just 100 deliveries. He smashed five boundaries and an equal number of sixes on a pitch, where everyone struggled to get going. Kallis came in to bat when his team was delicately placed at 57 for 3 inside 10 overs, he had a task in hand. This was easily one of the best innings by Kallis in his early days. Sri Lanka were dismantled for a mere score of 132 runs as South Africa won the high-voltage encounter by 92 runs by Duckworth-Lewis method and advanced to the final.
Shoaib Malik 128 against India, 2009
The pressure and intensity of an India-Pakistan match is massive. It only creates an additional pressure on the players to perform. In a group stage encounter between India and Pakistan back in 2009 at Centurion, Shoaib Malik was the centre of attraction for his outstanding century. Batting first, Pakistan were reduced to 53 for 2 inside nine overs, when Shoaib Malik took guard and weathered the storm. The stylish batsman churned out an innings of substance and built a solid platform with Mohammad Yousuf. The duo had 206 runs between them to steer Pakistan to a commanding position. Shoaib Malik had 128 rus to his name off 126 deliveries, which included 16 boundaries. Pakistan posted a massive target of 303 for India to chase, which turned out to be too big for India as they lost by 54 runs.