Top 5 innings of Gautam Gambhir

Published 10/14/2015, 10:25 AM EDT
Gautam Gambhir playing a cut shot during the World Cup Final

Gautam Gambhir is considered as one of the best left-handed openers who have ever played for India. He is a complete package and keeps all his shots in his kitty. Famous for his delightful square cuts and the ability to thread the ball through the minutest of the gaps, he was also a good judge of a run and rotated the strike very well, especially with his opening partner Virender Sehwag. Here on his birthday, we bring you some of his best innings which are surely etched in the memories of the cricket fans.

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1) 75 vs Pakistan, ICC T20 World Cup 2007 final: 

Gautam Gambhir plays a shot during the final of World T20 2007

Gambhir was the hero of the Indian batting in this match, the sole pillar around whom the rest of the runs were scored. India got a good start with Yusuf Pathan getting some quick runs in the opening overs, but he got out to Asif.  India were 40 for 2 and the need of the hour was for someone to guide the innings where Gambhir filled in the spot in an excellent manner. He played his shots and never let any bowler dominate. India scored 157 in their quota and won the match by 5 runs to become World T20 champs.

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2) 97 vs Sri Lanka, ICC ODI World Cup 2011: 

Gautam Gambhir playing a cut shot during the World Cup Final

Another World Cup final and in another match, he rises as a hero. This shows the position of importance he had in the team. The thought of chasing a score as big as 275 in front of your home crowd is enough for fainting, plus the added responsibility of your team when it is 2 wickets down for just 31, is immense. But nothing could stop this man that day. 97 is what he made, but still was the unsung hero of the match. Dhoni stole the show with his 91 and finishing six, but Gambhir’s 97 was what actually won India that match. The way he handled Murali was commendable. Dhoni said it rightly that he himself was responsible for not scoring a century and getting out due to a rash shot. Gambhir had constructed his innings beautifully and had ever let any bowler dominate.

3) 150 vs Sri Lanka, 4th ODI 2009: 

Indian cricketers Virat Kohli (R) and Gautam Gambhir run between the wickets during the fourth One Day International (ODI) cricket match between India and Sri Lanka at Eden Gardens Stadium in Kolkata on December 24, 2009. India are 260 runs for the loss of three wickets after 40 overs chasing 316 runs to win. AFP PHOTO/Deshakalyan CHOWDHURY (Photo credit should read DESHAKALYAN CHOWDHURY/AFP/Getty Images)

One of the rare occasions where Gambhir wasn’t overshadowed by anybody else. The Lankans posted a mammoth 315 thanks to Upul Tharanga’s splendid ton. A score above 300 had never been chased at Eden Gardens, but it was time to change the history and also, Gambhir had other plans. He and Virat scored brilliant centuries, Gambhir ending up on 150 to chase down the target easily with 7 wickets in hand and 11 balls to spare. He was awarded the Player of the Match but handed it over to Virat as it was his first international hundred made in a high-pressure game.

4) 137 vs New Zealand, 2nd test 2009:

Gautam Gambhir celebrates his century against New Zealand in Napier.

This was literally a match-saving knock, which required immense concentration and the will to bat for the rest of the match. India were told to follow on after being 314 runs behind in the first innings. India would have lost the test if it wasn’t for this gritty innings played by Gambhir. He batted for 643 minutes (5 sessions), played 436 balls for his 137 and took India out of the trouble that they were in. It was the fifth longest innings in terms of the minutes spent on the crease. The match ended in a draw, and later India clinched the series 1-0. 

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5) 206 vs Australia, 3rd test 2008:

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This was his maiden double hundred and the fact that it came against the mighty Aussies makes it even more special. India batted first and a mammoth partnership between Gambhir and Laxman guided India to 613 for 7. Gambhir scored 206 runs and although the match ended in a dull draw, the match is always remembered because of both Gambhir and Laxman who scored double hundreds.

 

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Lakshya Raheja

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