Birthday special: Michael Bevan – Five best knocks by Australia’s saviour

When you look at his record with the willow at first glance, it might not be eye-popping. But then, Michael Bevan will go down as one of the greatest finishers to have ever played the ODI format of the game. The left-hander featured in 232 ODI matches for Australia and scored 6912 runs at an excellent average of 53.17.

But then, it was the role that he played as the finisher of the Australian side that put Bevan in a separate league altogether. Bevan has finished countless matches for Australia and played a pivotal role in Australia’s emergence as the world-beaters during the 1990s and 2000s. With Bevan turning 53 today, let us take a look at the 5 best knocks from his willow.

5) 103 vs South Africa (ODIs)

This classic knock was played by Michael Bevan in April 1997 against South Africa. Batting first, the South African side posted a total of 284/7 on the board, with Hansie Cronje and Daryll Cullinan scoring half-centuries. In reply, the Australian side was in trouble with their scorecard reading 58/3.

But then, Michael Bevan stood up for his side and scored 103 off 95 deliveries and forged a partnership of 189 runs for the 4th wicket with the legendary Steve Waugh. Bevan’s classic knock allowed Australia to win the match with 5 wickets to spare.

4) 106 vs South Africa (ODIs)

Once again, Michael Bevan lent a helping hand to the Australian side when they were in trouble against the Proteas. Wielding the willow first, the Aussies were tottering at 37/3, and Bevan once again emerged as the savior. The left-hander scored a patient 106 off 125 deliveries and helped the kangaroos post a total of 295/5 on the board. In reply, the South African outfit was bowled out for a total of just 201.

3) 87 vs India (ODIs)

Michael Bevan was a finisher to perfection on 6th April 2001 in the match between India and Australia. Batting first, the Indian side posted 265/6 on the board, with VVS Laxman scoring a century. In reply, Michael Bevan helped Australia cross the finish line. The left-handed batting legend scored 87* off 113 deliveries to help the Australian side post a sensational 4-wicket victory.

2) 102* vs New Zealand (ODIs)

Yet another masterpiece from the willow of Michael Bevan unfolded on 29th January 2002, when Australia and New Zealand squared off against each other at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). Batting first, the Kiwis posted a total of 245/8 in their allotted 50 overs.

In reply, even though Australia was in deep waters with their scorecard reading 82/6, Michael Bevan steered the kangaroos to safety. The batting icon scored 102* off just 95 deliveries as the kangaroos won the match with 2 wickets to spare.

1) 78* vs West Indies (ODIs)

Australia was reeling at 38/6, in pursuit of a target of 173. Curtly Ambrose was bowling with venom, and it seemed as if the kangaroos would suffer a crushing loss. But then, Michael Bevan stood up and fought for his side. The left-hander scored 78* off 88 deliveries to steer Australia to a sensational 1-wicket victory in a match that was reduced to 43 overs a side. Batting first, the West Indies posted a total of 172/9, with Carl Hooper scoring an unbeaten 93. Paul Reiffel and Shane Warne wreaked havoc with the ball for Australia and scalped 7 wickets between them.