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Flashback: Memorable knocks before WC knock-outs

Last updated on: March 22, 2011 23:23 IST

Sehwag at his flamboyant best



Bikash Mohapatra picks five batting performances that defined the opening stage of the World Cup.

Even as the 2011 World Cup nears the business end -- beginning with the opening quarter-final between Pakistan and West Indies in Mirpur on Wednesday, it is time to look back and recall a few performances that defined the opening stage.

Some of players mentioned below will have a chance to improve upon their performances in the knock-out stages, while for a few others the feats mentioned below will be all they have to offer in this edition, what with their respective teams bowing out early.

So let's begin with the best batting efforts that will be etched in our memory for time to come.

- World Cup coverage

It is imperative to mention that the Master Blaster, despite his two centuries, doesn't find a mention here!

Lest you accuse us of being biased towards Sachin Tendulkar -- remember both those knocks couldn't ensure wins for India, we will just say let's wait for that 100th hundred.

Virender Sehwag (175 vs Bangladesh)

The World Cup opened with a spectacular innings -- Virender Sehwag was his flamboyant self in his 175 against Bangladesh at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium in Mirpur.

- Sehwag run-riot in Mirpur

Considering Bangladesh had upset India in the opener in the Caribbean four years ago, thereby hastening their exit, this match was billed a revenge tie.

And Sehwag rose to the occasion.

His 140-ball innings, inclusive of 14 hits to the fence and five over it, guided India to a mammoth 370 for four.

The result was never in doubt thereafter.

Sehwag had ensured his team a winning start and, in the process, matched the legendary Kapil Dev's 175 not out against Zimbabwe in Tunbridge Wells in 1983.

Image: Virender Sehwag
Photographs: Getty Images

Ten Doeschate gave testimony of his credentials

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Ryan ten Doeschate (119 vs England and 106 vs Ireland)

The most valuable player from the Associate nations, the Dutchman gave further testimony of his credentials with two spectacular centuries.

The first one, a 110-ball 119 against England in Nagpur, impressed many.

Images: England win despite ten Doeschate ton

The follow up was perfect as well.

A 108-ball 106 against Ireland at Eden Gardens, Kolkata.

The Netherlands couldn't win either match. But ten Doeschate had played his part nonetheless.

Image: Ryan ten Doeschate celebrates after scoring a century against England
Photographs: Getty Images
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Strauss ton overshadows Sachin's century

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Andrew Strauss (158 vs India)

Agreed, Sachin Tendulkar scored a magnificent 120 in the same match, helping India to a seemingly comfortable total (338).

However, chasing that score in front of a partisan crowd was a tall order. And that is something that makes the England captain's contribution significant.

- India, England tie after Tendulkar, Strauss tons

Andrew Strauss rose to the occasion, scoring what is arguably his best hundred till date.

His 145-ball 158, inclusive of 18 boundaries and a maximum, completely nullified the home team's advantage, while ensuring England a point from the game.

One of the few examples of the captain leading from the front, literally, in this tournament.

Image: Andrew Strauss punches the air after completing his ton against India
Photographs: Reuters
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O'Brien scripts fastest WC hundred

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Kevin O'Brien (113 vs England)

It is by far the most shocking result of this tournament, Ireland shocking England that is!

And, ensuring this was none other than the ever-dependable Kevin O'Brien.

- Kevin O'Brien fashions Ireland upset of England

England had scored a formidable 327 for eight, and at 111 for five at the half-way-stage it seemed a lost cause for Ireland.

However, it was at this juncture that O'Brien took the responsibility upon himself.

The result was the fastest hundred in World Cup history and a memorable Irish upset.

O'Brien's 63-ball 113 was inclusive of 13 hits to the fence and six huge ones over it.

More importantly, it wrote a new chapter in Irish sporting history.

Image: Kevin O'Brien celebrates after reaching his century against England
Photographs: Getty Images
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Taylor's birthday gift comes wrapped as a century

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Ross Taylor (131 vs Pakistan)

It was the first ever One-Day International at the picturesque Muttaiah Muralitharan International stadium in Pallekele (Kandy).

And Ross Taylor ensured that the packed house will remember the match for a long time to come.

Having come into the game with prolonged poor form, the 27-year-old justified the faith that his captain (Daniel Vettori) had affirmed on the eve of the game.

- Images: Birthday boy Taylor sinks Pak

It was anything but a good start for Taylor.

Playing on his birthday, he was given the best gift he could have imagined -- Pakistan stumper Kamran Akmal dropped him twice.

Despite those blemishes, Taylor never looked comfortable for most part of his stay at the crease.

However, in the final four overs of the New Zealand innings, he cut loose.

And how?

92 runs came off those 24 balls and Taylor made a masterclass 124-ball 131, inclusive of eight hits to the fence and seven over it.

Pakistan could never really recover from that blitzkrieg.

Image: Ross Taylor celebrates with teammates after the Kiwis beat Pakistan
Photographs: Getty Images
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