The pace at which the middle-order players score century is quite less compared to that of the openers or the top three in ODI cricket so most of them have a chance to finsh off in style.
In recent times, the three-figure scores have been mostly limited to the players in the top three batting positions in the One-Day format.
Many players on certain occasions remain unbeaten in the 90s due to the completion of the allotted overs.
Some players have been quite lucky to reach their ton in the final over or final ball of the team’s innings.
Here we look at all the instances of a player reaching his ton with a six on the last ball of 50th Over in ODIs:
5. AB de Villiers vs India in 2015
South Africa began the 2015 tour of India with a convincing T20I series victory. It was followed by a 5-match ODI series that kick-started in Kanpur. South Africa, who elected to bat first, reached 104/2 in 23.2 overs on what seemed to be a tricky track. AB de Villiers, who walked to bat at No.4, stabilized the South African innings. He reached his fifty in 54 balls as the Proteas went past the 200-run mark in the 41st over.
They crawled to 217/4 by 44th over with AB de Villiers batting on 60 from 60 balls. The South Africans smacked 65 runs in the next five overs out of which De Villiers alone scored 38 from the 13 balls he faced. He moved to 98 from 71 balls and stood only two runs away from a hundred ahead of the 50th over. Farhaan Behardien hit 4, 4 and 6 off Umesh Yadav in the last over before handing the strike to the then South African captain.
AB de Villiers failed to connect a sharp bouncer from Umesh on the penultimate ball but cleared the long-on fielder on the final delivery to complete his hundred. This was the last instance of a player hitting a six to reach his century on the last ball of an ODI inning and also the only instance in the last 15 years. South Africa finished with 303/5 and won by 5 runs despite a 133-ball 150 by Rohit Sharma.
4. Mohammad Yousuf vs Zimbabwe in 2002
Pakistan toured Zimbabwe towards the end of 2002 where they faced the hosts in a 5-match ODI series after two Tests. Mohammad Yousuf was in sensational form during the tour as he smashed 159 in the 2nd Test. He followed it with an unbeaten 141 with 16 boundaries in the first ODI which the visitors won by mere seven runs. Yousuf smashed 8 sixes during his another unbeaten knock of 76 from only 34 deliveries in the 2nd ODI to power Pakistan to a comfortable win.
In the third ODI, he walked out to bat in the 30th over after a 154-run opening stand between Taufeeq Umar and Saleem Elahi. Yousuf reached his fifty from 46 balls during the 44th over as Pakistan crawled to 264/3 by the start of the 46th over. The No.3 batsman was better at rotating the strike in this game after boundary spree in the first two games. However, he began to smash at least one boundary in the last five overs as Pakistan went past 300-run mark quite comfortably.
Pakistan got to 308/3 by end of the 49th over with Yousuf batting on 87 from just 64 balls despite hitting only 8 boundaries. Yousuf struck a boundary on the 2nd ball during the final over bowled by Sean Ervine and a couple of runs on the penultimate delivery helped him to reach 94. The last ball turned out to be a full-toss which Mohammad Yousuf flicked over the long-leg boundary to finish exactly on 100 from only 68 balls.
3. Craig McMillan vs Pakistan in 2001
New Zealand stood in a must-win situation during the 5-match ODI series against Pakistan in 2001 as they were 1-2 down ahead of the 4th ODI to be hosted by Christchurch. The Kiwis started off well reaching 165/3 in only 30 overs but the wicket of Nathan Astle (71 off 88) in the 31st over slowed down their scoring rate. Craig McMillan, who came to bat at No.5, was batting on 32 off 32 balls when Astle departed. He faced only 19 balls between 31st and 43rd overs and reached his fifty from 50 balls.
Only 24 runs came from 56 balls from the other end as New Zealand’s scoring rate dropped under 5. McMillan changed the gears after his fifty and raced to 85 from 70 balls by end of 49 overs with the hosts getting to 260/5. Saqlain Mushtaq, who conceded only 40 runs in his nine overs, was given the responsibility to bowl the final over. The first ball of the 50th over was hit over the extra-cover region by McMillan while the following delivery went wide of the deep-midwicket for yet another six.
He picked a leg-bye on the 3rd ball and returned to strike on the final ball when on 97. Mushtaq then bowled a no-ball where McMillan picked a single and lost the strike but the spinner overstepped yet again which brought Craig back to strike for the final delivery. Craig McMillan, batting on 98, smashed the final ball over mid-wicket region to raise his maiden ODI hundred. The 24-run last over helped New Zealand to finish with 284/5 and win the match by 138 runs by bowling out Pakistan to just 146.
2. Kevin Pietersen vs South Africa in 2005
Kevin Pietersen made an explosive beginning to his ODI career after making his debut in the 2004-05 season during Zimbabwe and South Africa tours. Across his first seven innings, he scored 342 runs at an average of 114 and a strike rate of over 90. He smashed an unbeaten 108 during the 2nd game of the 7-match ODI series in South Africa which ended in a Tie. The English team lost the following two games and were 1-2 down. The hosts piled up 311/7 during the 5th ODI which was hosted by East London.
England’s top four hardly looked like chasing the target as none of the four even had a strike rate of 80. Pietersen walked to bat in the 27th over when England were 117/2 and another 195 runs to be scored. The South Africa-born kept striking the ball and hardly bothered about the runs coming at the other end. He raced to a fifty in only 38 balls and was batting on 63 from only 44 balls by 40th over while the visitors were 214/4 with another 98 runs needed to level the series.
The next five overs fetched 41/3 for England as Pietersen got to face only nine balls in a crunch situation. The equation of 36 from the last three overs seemed to be gettable with Kevin batting on 83 off 58 balls. But the new batting star of England failed to get boundaries in the next two overs. In fact, he could only get three sixes out of the six balls he faced leaving an improbable 23 runs to be chased in the final over. Pietersen got seven runs from the first three balls but only a single on the 4th delivery.
The game was all gone out of England’s hands by the final delivery where they needed 14 runs to win. Kevin Pietersen, batting on 94, found some consolation by smashing a full-toss from Andre Nel over the cow-corner to complete his hundred. He got to three figures in only 69 balls; the then fastest century in ODI format for England. This is the only instance in ODI cricket till date where a player reached his century by hitting a six on the final ball of a run-chase.
1. Mohammad Yousuf vs India in 2000
India faced Pakistan in a must-win game during the 2000 Asia Cup hosted by Bangladesh. The top sides Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India won their respective first matches quite comfortably against Bangladesh. A big win for the Lankans against India helped them move to the top of the table. India’s NRR, ahead of their final league match, was quite poor and hence needed to beat Pakistan at any cost to stay alive in the contention of reaching the final.
Pakistan added 74 runs for the opening wicket in only 12.2 overs after electing to bat first but lost three wickets in space of five balls. They were four wickets down for 103 runs on the board by 21st over and the responsibility of building the innings was on Mohammad Yousuf. The No.3 batsman started quite slow as his first boundary came on 59th ball after scoring only 22 runs in his first 58 deliveries. However, Moin Khan scored 46 off only 47 as the duo put on 92 for the 5th wicket in 18 overs.
Yousuf reached his fifty in the 42nd over on the 90th ball he faced with his 3rd four. He began to smash boundaries regularly after that as Pakistan’s scoring rate took a rise. Pakistan reached 277/7 by the end of 49th over with Yousuf batting on 93 from 111 balls. He struck seven fours between 42nd and 49th over scoring 45 runs from only 22 balls. Yousuf scored a single in the only delivery he faced in the first five balls of the 50th over bowled by Thiru Kumaran.
Mohammad Yousuf made most of the fuller delivery by clearing the long-on fielder to bring up his hundred and help Pakistan finish with 295/7. It was the first-ever instance of a player reaching his hundred that too by hitting a six on the final ball of an ODI inning. Yousuf replicated the feat against Zimbabwe in the 2002 Harare ODI making him the first do so twice. India were bowled out for 251 in 47.4 overs in reply and were knocked out of the tournament.
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