FORTY NINE - Just a couple of digits that define Sourav Ganguly's age but not his character that has grown graciously with each passing year. From his famous "Baapi baari jaa" (denoting his massive sixes) to being the chief of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, Ganguly's cricketing career has been a glorious mix of aggression, grit and sensibility. From his innumerous memorable performances with the bat, today we will look back at five of his finest innings in ODI cricket.
183 vs Sri Lanka:
Taunton witnessed Ganguly's most prolific knock in ODI cricket back in 1999. His 183 off 158 balls, which also remained his personal best in ODIs, helped India register a massive 157-run win over Sri Lanka in this 1999 World Cup match. Ganguly's blitz guided India to a mammoth 373-run total in the first innings. His innings was studded with 17 fours and 7 maximums.
141* vs South Africa:
Ganguly's unbeaten 141 in the Champions Trophy (2000) in Kenya is another highlight of his career. Batting first, Ganguly had opened alongside Sachin Tendulkar and stayed till the end to help India post a huge 295-6 on the board against South Africa in Nairobi.
The Indian bowlers did a commendable job later on to wrap up a 95-run win and qualify for the knockouts.
141 vs Pakistan:
Ganguly's knock of 141 against Pakistan during a tri-nation tournament in Asutralia is still ranked as one of his finest. Opening with Sachin Tendulkar, Ganguly put up an 88-run stand and then stitched another crucial 87-run partnership with Rahul Dravid to give India a strong start. Pakistan barely had an answer to his exploits. Even though Wasim Akram got his man in the 49th over, Ganguly's knock had already given India enough on the board to follow it up with a 48-run win.
117 vs New Zealand:
This was one of those matches where Ganguly's contribution ended up in a losing cause. The Indian skipper, leading the side for the first time in this tournament (Champions Trophy 2000), played a captain's knock in the final against New Zealand. Riding on his 117, India posted a decent 264/6 on the board. However, that wasn't good enough as NZ overhauled the total with four wickets to spare in a last-over encounter. His knock was studded with 9 fours and 4 sixes.
111* vs Kenya
In the 2003 ICC World Cup semifinal against Kenya, Ganguly provided India with a solid impetus, scoring a well-compiled 111* off 114 balls at Durban. India scored a strong 270/4, courtesy of Ganguly's knock and Sachin Tendulkar's 83. The Kenya outfit was dismissed for 179 runs, paving India's way to the final showdown against Australia.