Unlike picking the best matches, performances, and players, writing about the top individual cricket scores of all-time is a walk in the park. It seems more like calling out the rank holders of an examination. So there you go!
20. Top Cricket Scores Ever: Brian Lara, 400* vs England at St. John’s (2004)
The only quadruple century in Test history came in a team well into its decline, and looking to avoid a whitewash at home to England. Sir Viv Richards said this: “You cannot allow yourself to be disgraced”.
And so, Brian Lara walked in at the stroke of the first hour of play. He’d depart only two minutes shy of 13 hours at the crease, carrying his team to a mammoth 751 for five in the first innings. And albeit his 43 fours and four sixes came on a track as flat as ever, Lara’s feat stands tallest even today.
19. Top Cricket Scores Ever: Matthew Hayden, 380 vs Zimbabwe at Perth (2003)
The Bible story of David and Goliath is a favourite because it’s the underdog who wins the battle. Not in this list, they don’t. And here’s the first of them.
Whatever little hope that Zimbabwe brought with them to Australia was blown away as soon as they landed. The destroyer-in-chief? Matthew Hayden – a Goliath in his own right. In the first Test, the big leftie smashed 38 fours and 11 sixes enroute 380 at an 85-plus strike rate. The Aussies piled on 735 for six, and won by an innings and 175 runs.
18. Top Cricket Scores Ever: Brain Lara, 375 vs England at St. John’s (1994)
With his exploits at junior level, and then a 277 in Sydney in ‘93, Brian Lara was slowly building his name. Then, he broke a 36-year world record, hitting the English attack around Antigua for a flawless 375.
Walking in at 12 for two, Lara dominated from ball one. With 45 fours and three big partnerships to boot, he took his side to 593 for five. England matched the score, and time ran out so the match ended as a draw.
17. Top Cricket Scores Ever: Mahela Jayawardene, 374 vs South Africa at Colombo SSC (2006)
They bowled the Proteas out for 169, but Sri Lanka’s openers faltered. At 14 for two, two long-time friends got together and put on a world-record show. By the time Kumar Sangakkara fell 13 shy of a triple century himself, he had put on 624 with Mahela Jayawardene. The latter kept going, hitting 43 fours and a six, and broke the national record in the process.
Sri Lanka posted 756 for five, and then bowled South Africa out for 434 to win by an innings and 153 runs.
16. Top Cricket Scores Ever: Sir Gary Sobers, 365* vs Pakistan at Kingston (1958)
When you make your mark, make it big. And certainly, one way to do that is to carry on from your maiden Test hundred to break the world record for the highest individual score at the time.
Gary Sobers was 21 when he batted for 10 hours and 14 minutes, shared a 446-run for the second wicket with Conrad Hunte, and took his side to a mammoth 790 for three against Pakistan.
To nobody’s surprise, they went on to win the match by an innings and then some.
15. Top Cricket Scores Ever: Sir Leonard Hutton, 364 vs Australia at The Oval (1938)
It was the final Test of the Ashes before war would put a pause on cricket’s oldest rivalry. The Aussies had already retained the urn, but England couldn’t just let them take the series as well.
Batting first, the entire lineup came up trumps to post a total in excess of 900 runs. 364 of them came from the bat of their opener, Len Hutton, who batted on for more than 14 hours. England would go on to post the biggest margin of victory to-date ― an innings and 579 runs ― to level the series.
14. Top Cricket Scores Ever: Sanath Jayasuriya, 340 vs India at Colombo RPS (1997)
Batting first, India declared on day two at 537 for eight with the series on the line. Little did anybody know that the Lankans would just bat on for the remainder of the Test.
Led by Sanath Jayasuriya’s stroke-filled 340, the hosts put up the highest team total in Test history: 952 for seven. Jayasuriya’s 340 at the top of the order came in almost 800 minutes at the crease, with 36 fours and two sixes.
13. Top Cricket Scores Ever: Hanif Mohammad, 337 vs West Indies at Bridgetown (1958)
Of all the performances in this list, this one is perhaps the most heroic. Pakistan were staring down an innings defeat away to the Windies. 106 all out in the first innings, after the hosts had declared at 579 for nine.
Hanif Mohammad stood up defiantly… for more than 16 hours. Less than a 100 of his 337 runs came in boundaries, as he toiled hard to earn his side a draw.
12. Top Cricket Scores Ever: Wally Hammond, 336* vs New Zealand at Auckland (1933)
In 1933-34, England’s legendary opener, Wally Hammond, was flying high. He’d outscored Sir Don Bradman in an Ashes win, and raced to 227 in the first Test vs New Zealand. So, what followed at Auckland was a mere carry over.
Having bowled the hosts out for 158, England, led by Hammond, went berserk. Inside 5 and a half hours, he smashed an unbeaten triple hundred with 34 fours and 10 sixes. A washed out day three meant the Kiwis salvaged a draw.
11. Top Cricket Scores Ever: David Warner, 335* vs Pakistan at Adelaide (2019)
Though as a team, they retained the urn, David Warner had just had a torrid time in England. He got back home, regrouped, and was back to his best in a jiffy. And an exciting Pakistani attack was caught in the crossfire.
Batting first in a day/night affair, Australia mounted 589 for three in the first innings and went on to clinch the match by an innings and 48 runs. Warner, with a 418-ball 335 not out, hit 39 fours and a six.
10. Top Cricket Scores Ever: Rohit Sharma, 264 vs Sri Lanka at Kolkata (2014)
In white ball cricket, Rohit Sharma is a freak of nature. And the ‘Hitman’ hit his peak score in ODIs against India’s neighbours at the Eden Gardens. To-date, his 264 off 173 balls, with 33 fours and nine sixes, is the only 250-plus score in international limited overs cricket. Remember when 250-plus was a good ODI team total? Yeah, me neither. India would post in excess of 400, and clinch the match by 153 runs.
9. Top Cricket Scores Ever: Martin Guptill, 237* vs West Indies at Wellington (2015)
A place in the semi-final of the World Cup was on the line. And Martin Guptill brought his A-game. Batting first on home soil, the Kiwi opener tore into the West Indian attack. By the time he had carried the bat through, hitting 24 fours and 11 sixes, the visitors’ hopes were all but blown out.
New Zealand set them 394 for win, and they never ever got close.
8. Top Cricket Scores Ever: Virender Sehwag, 219 vs West Indies at Indore (2011)
A year and a half after his former opening partner Sachin Tendulkar breached the 200-run milestone for the first time, Virender Sehwag joined the party.
Electing to bat at Indore, once Sehwag got going, there was no stopping him. The Delhi man smashed 25 fours and seven sixes to take India to another 400-plus team total. The Windies put up some resistance in the form of Dinesh Ramdin, but eventually fell 153 runs short.
7. Top Cricket Scores Ever: Chris Gayle, 215 vs Zimbabwe at Canberra (2015)
The second of this list’s ‘Goliath beating David’ innings came from Chris Gayle in the 2015 edition of the World Cup. After losing Dwayne Smith off the second ball, Gayle was joined by Marlon Samuels at the crease.
And the duo would bat on till the last ball of the inning. Led by Gayle’s 215, which included 10 fours and 16 sixes, the Windies posted 372 for two and won comfortably in the end. In a disappointing World Cup, Gayle’s double-century proved to be one of the only shining lights.
6. Top Cricket Scores Ever: Fakhar Zaman, 210 vs Zimbabwe at Bulawayo (2018)
For some reason, Zimbabwe awakens the Goliaths in a lot of batsmen, especially left-handed openers. After Matthew Hayden and Chris Gayle, here’s a young Fakhar Zaman making the list.
Batting first in the fourth match of a series they’d already won, Zaman and his partner Imam-ul-Haq went about breaking records for fun. In his 156-ball 210, Zaman hit 24 fours and five sixes to set up a big win for his side. Chasing 400, Zimbabwe were bundled out for 155.
5. Top Cricket Scores Ever: Aaron Finch, 172 vs Zimbabwe at Harare (2018)
For one last time in this list, we have Zimbabwe on the receiving end. This time, Australia’s right-handed opener, Aaron Finch, was their villain. 172 ― only three short of the highest individual T20 score. 16 fours ― the most by any batsmen in one T20 innings.
Those two, and a host of other records fell by the wayside, as Finch tore in the hosts bowling lineup. So ruthless he was that the home fans in the stands began cheering for him over their own team. Australia posted 229 in their 20 overs, and won the game by a 100-run margin.
4. Top Cricket Scores Ever: Hazratullah Zazai, 162* vs Ireland at Dehradun (2019)
Chris Gayle is arguably the greatest T20 player of all-time. And Hazratullah Zazai is Afghanistan’s version of him. At least, that’s what Rashid Khan told Gayle himself. And when Ireland toured the Afghan side playing in India as their home, Zazai proved his colleague’s words right.
Batting first in the 2nd T20I, Zazai led his side to the highest team total in the format (278/3) with his blistering 162 off just 62 balls, hitting 11 fours and a record 16 sixes. Despite Paul Stirling’s valiant 91, Ireland fell 84 runs short.
3. Top Cricket Scores Ever: Aaron Finch, 156 vs England at Southampton (2013)
Long before anybody got there, Aaron Finch scaled the 150-milestone in T20 cricket. Even then, spectators and pundits knew that it was just the start of many more.
In the first T20 of two against arch-rivals England, Finch carried his side to 248 for six, scoring 156 of those runs himself. The opener smashed 11 fours and 14 sixes, hitting at a rate in excess of 240. After an early collapse, Joe Root and Ravi Bopara gave the chase a shot. However, the hosts lost by 39 runs.
2. Top Cricket Scores Ever: Glenn Maxwell, 145* vs Sri Lanka at Pallekele (2016)
Though he’d batted in the middle order all his life, Glenn Maxwell had been eyeing up the chance to open in a T20 match for long. And his chance came against the Lankans. And boy, did he grab the opportunity with both hands.
All of the Aussie top order chipped in to get the team total to 263, but it was Maxwell who shone through with an unbeaten 145 off just 65 balls with 14 fours and nine sixes.
1. Top Cricket Scores Ever: George Munsey, 127* vs Netherlands at Dublin (2019)
Days when everything you hit pings off the middle of the bat in an actual match come around very rarely. In the 2nd match of the T20I tri-series with Ireland and Netherlands, it was George Munsey’s day. He hit five of the 56 balls he faced enroute his unbeaten 127 to the boundary ― another 14 of them flew over the ropes. Scotland posted 252 for three in their 20 overs.
Netherlands had a good crack at the mammoth chase, thanks to skipper Pieter Seelaar’s 49-ball 96, but the scorecard pressure was too much to overcome in the end. They managed 194 for 7, falling short of Scotland’s total by 58 runs.
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