New Zealand Outclass West Indies
New Zealand Outclass West Indies
Corey Anderson bludgeoned the West Indies bowlers yesterday in the third One-dayer to score the fastest ODI century, off just 36 balls, eclipsing the record of 37 set by Shahid Afridi in 1996. It was a record that stood for more than 17 years. Anderson finished unbeaten on 131 and such was his savagery that he even managed to overshadow Jesse Ryder, who motored to the sixth quickest ODI century of all time. The pair powered New Zealand to a scarcely believable 283 in just 21 overs, as New Zealand won the match by a massive 159 runs to level the five-match series 1-1. The contest came after there were fears of yet another washout. The chase turned out to be a mere formality as West Indies limped to 124 for 5, having lost the game in the head the moment they walked back to the dressing room for the short innings break.
Irrespective of the format, this was the fastest ever international century. While it’s true that the grounds in New Zealand are not the biggest, many, if not all, of Anderson’s hits would have cleared the rope at any venue across the world. He blasted 14 sixes, two behind Rohit Sharma’s world record of 16 and New Zealand’s sixes tally stood at 22, another world record.
India hit 19 sixes in the same match in which Rohit smashed 209 against Australia, but that was off 50 overs. New Zealand managed all those in just 21. West Indies’ bowling figures were similarly remarkable, for the least expensive economy rate was 11, by Nikita Miller. Dwayne Bravo inserted New Zealand in what he thought was good bowling conditions but New Zealand batted like they were on a different planet. Anderson scored his first boundary by pulling Bravo one bounce to deep midwicket. He then sent Sunil Narine several rows over deep midwicket and it was the first of several hits in the region.
Narine and Ravi Rampaul conceded four sixes in an over each. Against Narine, Anderson employed the slog and cleared the area between deep midwicket and long-on. One of those landed several yards behind the last row of spectators and another brought up his fifty, off just 20 balls. Rampaul was punished for bowling too full and he gave away four consecutive sixes, including one that looked like a mis-hit, but still had enough mileage to clear long-off. Narine and Rampaul conceded 24 and 26 respectively and the prospects of scoring the fastest ODI century was more than a reality, as Anderson ended the Rampaul over needing 16 off seven balls. Given his manic scoring rate, the world record was seriously under threat. Consecutive boundaries took him to 93 of 33, the second of those, off Lendl Simmons, being an ungainly slash to backward point. He ended that over on 95 off 35 and nothing less than a six was needed off his next ball to seal the record. As it happened, Anderson brought up the record with a massive slog over long leg off Miller.
In the midst of Anderson’s carnage, it was easy to forget the significance of Ryder’s century, more for himself. True to his style, Ryder’s shots were effortless. He was able to loft through the line with ease, pull the seamers nonchalantly when they bowled too straight. Half-volleys were pierced wide of the packed off-side field and a six over long-off brought up his fifty off 23 balls.
Three boundaries in an over off Bravo helped him speed towards his century and he got there with a single to short fine leg in the 19th over. The match was a no-contest by the end of the fourth over, with West Indies tottering at 19 for 3. There was no choice but to play in fifth gear, and in the process fell to fielders in the deep. Bravo helped himself to 56, but it was inconsequential.