From the days of the great Australian teams at the turn of the new millennium to the new hard-hitters of World cricket, the game has changed drastically. Anyone who follows cricket can agree on one fact that the sport is strongly biased against bowlers.
The statistics from the last few years are a testament to this popular opinion with scores of over 300 becoming a common sight in the cricketing world. Proteas
While most people might agree with this, the fact remains that high-scoring games provide more excitement than low-scoring ones, and if the team batting second is able to come close to the score posted by their opponents, cricket is a joy to watch.
Over the years, cricket enthusiasts have been treated to a number of matches where near-impossible targets were chased down by teams batting second. Here are the top 5 run chases in One Day International cricket.
5. England vs New Zealand, Trent Bridge
In New Zealand's 2015 European tour, England
Batting first, New Zealand found themselves in a great position due to the hard work of their openers Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum with the former scoring a half century. When the opening pair were finally dispatched to the dressing room, Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson picked up from where the openers had left off taking the score to a massive 217 before Taylor made finally made way.
Grant Elliott came out swinging and then took the score to 271 before Williamson(90) and Luke Ronchi were quickly sent back by David Willey. The Kiwis found an unlikely hero in the form of Mitchell Santner who scored an impressive 44 off just 19 balls to take his side to 349 for 7 at the 50-over mark.
In response, England got off to a great start with Jason Roy and Alex Hales taking the opening partnership to a hundred before Hales' wickets were disturbed by Matthew Henry.
Just as the Kiwis though that the series was all sealed up, Root(106) and Morgan(113) produced one of the best performances in ODI history to take the score to 309. Stokes added another 19 to set up the victory for the English in just 44 overs.
England went on to win the series 3-2 while New Zealand
4. India vs Australia, Nagpur
India welcomed Australia in 2013 for a long tour of the sub-continent. The ODI series began with promise for the Aussies who found themselves 2-1 up after five games as a result of two white-washed matches.
The game didn’t begin well for the Aussies who found themselves two wickets down for just 45 runs with both the openers back in the pavilion. But, Shane Watson and George Bailey made sure that the Australians reached a decent total with both players posting centuries next to their names. A late flurry from Adam Voges handed India a target of 351 to chase down in the allotted 50 overs.
Indian openers Rohin Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan made sure that the Australians were on their toes the entire time as they carefully constructed a 178-run partnership before Sharma was dismissed by Finch.
Dhawan was joined by Virat Kohli, and the duo just took the game away from Australia with both players ending up with centuries. Even though India went on to lose three more wickets, they ended up winning the match easily with three balls to spare, tying the series at two a piece.
India would go on to win the series in the next game with a comfortable 57-run win.
3. India vs Australia, Jaipur
Earlier in the same tour as above, Australia had won the first game of the series by a convincing 72 runs and would have been confident with the 359 they had posted in the second game at Jaipur - five players in their top-order had scored half-centuries at a brisk pace to bring up the mark.
George Bailey(92) and Glen Maxwell(53) scored their runs off just 50 and 32 balls respectively.
The Indians knew giving Australia a 2-0 lead that early in the series could be disastrous with the kind of players that they had. Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma got off to a blistering start scoring quickly and put the pressure back on Australia. The duo put up an opening partnership of 176 runs before Dhawan nicked one to Haddin, falling 5 runs short of his century.
Then, Virat Kohli came in all guns blazing reaching his fifty in just 25 balls. Rohit Sharma, in the meanwhile, reached his hundred scoring at a rate of just under a run a ball.
India looked like they would easily reach the target when they needed just 98 runs off 15 overs, but Kohli had other ideas in his mind as he continued the assault on the Australian bowlers reaching his hundred in 52 balls and guiding India to victory with 39 balls left.
India went on to win the series 3-2 after a rain-affected series.
2. South Africa vs Australia, Kingsmead
You just could not make this one up, and yes, it's Australia again. In the ongoing 2016 series, Australia found themselves 2-0 down in the five-match series losing by 47 runs and 6 wickets receptively.
However, the Aussies did not give up in the third and reached an impressive score of 371 for six in their allotted 50 overs with Warner(117), Finch(53) and Smith(108) doing the most of the damage. In a series that boasted of
The Proteas got off to a good start with the man of the moment Quintin de Kock scoring a quickfire 70 off 49 balls to give the African team some hope. But losing
David Miller, who had been until then struggling to find the form that made him one of the most feared batsmen in the world, was still at the crease and took responsibility to take his team as close as possible to the target.
An unbeaten 118 off just 79 balls got the Proteas close to the total, and Andile Pheylukwayo's quick-fire 42 made sure that the Australians lost not just the match but also the series.
1. South Africa vs Australia, Johannesburg
This is one of those great sporting events where you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing. This match was before a time when T20 had not made any target look achievable and 350 was considered a score that could not be reached.
As Australia took on South Africa in the final of the 5-match series and with the series tied at 2-2, it was everything to play for. The Aussies started off well with the first-wicket partnership falling three runs short of a century when Adam Gilchrist made his way back and in came Ricky Ponting. What followed still gives cricket fans goosebumps as Ponting scored 164 off just 105 balls and was well assisted by Michael Hussey (81) and Andrew Symonds (27).
When Australia finished the innings, the scoreboard read 434, a number no team had ever reached since limited over cricket had been introduced in the 1970's.
South Africa lost series top-scorer Boeta Dippenaar early, and it looked like the fat lady had cleared her throat. But, Graeme Smith and Herschelle Gibbs took the score to 190 before the former fell to a Michael Clarke ball. Gibbs found himself running out of partners, but with the arrival of Mark Boucher at the crease took the game away from the Aussies.
The Proteas reached the target with a ball to spare, and the same World record was broken twice in a day.
I have personally never seen a game good enough as that one, and I am pretty sure I never will.