Team India’s emergence as a powerful unit in the limited overs format can be credited to many batsmen who have been instrumental in making the team ODI powerhouse. In recent years many have made their mark, but a certain player stands out and truly deserves a lot of credit for Team India’s great run in the ODIs is Shikhar Dhawan.
Ever since his ODI debut against Australia in 2010, Dhawan, nicknamed ‘Gabbar’, has come a long way. Interestingly, he made his Test debut against the same team in 2013. Following several ups and downs he has emerged as an ODI expert and is a key fixture in the Indian batting line-up. The flamboyant southpaw has been a genuine match winner for the Men in Blue in the last few years.
In 2016, he became the fastest Indian to score 3,000 career ODI runs, in the following year he became the second fastest Indian to reach 4,000 ODI runs. Dhawan also holds the record for most runs in a calendar year in the shortest form of the game (T20I) with 689 runs which he accomplished in 2018. As the exuberant opener turns a year older, we look at some of his amazing knocks.
187 vs Australia in Mohali, 2013
During the Australia tour of India, the third Test at Mohali was also Shikhar Dhawan’s debut match for India. He hammered the Australian bowlers to score a superb 187 runs from 174 balls. His breathtaking hundred came in 85 deliveries, which is the fastest ever by a debutant player in a Test. India went on to win the match by six wickets. He was awarded the Player-of-the-Match.
100 vs Australia in Nagpur, 2013
After winning the Test series 4-0 to lift the Border–Gavaskar Trophy against Australia at home, India clashed with the visitors in the ODI series. As the limited overs series entered the sixth game which was set for a decider at Nagpur. India were given a target of 351 runs. Openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma gave a good start, however after Sharma’s departure at 79 (89 balls), Dhawan once again pitched in to score a 102-ball century consisting of 11 fours. Their 178-run opening stand allowed Virat Kohli to unleash an unbeaten 115 as India went to win the match with three balls to spare.
114 vs South Africa - Champions Trophy, Cardiff, 2013
After his grand debut in the Test format, Dhawan didn’t disappoint in the ICC Champions Trophy, Group B fixture against South Africa. The Proteas elected to bowl first and Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan stepped in for the challenge. After losing Sharma for 65 (81 balls), the southpaw continued the momentum. His 114 runs from 94 balls was laced with 12 fours and a six. His superb innings propelled India to 331. South Africa came close but were bundled out at 305, handing India a 26-run victory.
137 vs South Africa - ICC World Cup, Melbourne 2015
India had a terrible record against South Africa in the World Cup tournaments. However, this match reversed that record for good. During the 13th Pool B fixture against South Africa, batting first Dhawan’s head on approach worked as he smashed the opponent bowlers to all parts of the at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground. His 137 runs from 146 balls steered India to 307. Indian bowlers did the rest by halting the Protean run chase at 177.
132 (not out, 90 balls) vs Sri Lanka - Dambulla, 2017
After inflicting a 3-0 whitewash on the hosts Sri Lanka in the Test series. India were keen to extend their ODI dominance as well. Sri Lanka posted 216 runs batting first. Dhawan took charge and ripped through the Sri Lankan bowling attack. His unbeaten 132 from 90 balls was studded with 20 boundaries and three sixes. He was awarded the Man-of-the-Match.