Top 5 innings by MI batsmen in 2016

Another year is coming to an end and we witnessed some enthralling cricket in all formats of the game. India had a great year in Tests in 2016 and were unbeaten in all 12 Tests that they played. They had a mixed year in ODIs and T20Is, but the overall performances of the team in 2016 would have gladdened the heart of the Indian cricket fan. It was a great year not just for the Indian cricket team, but for most of our international stars who put in some scintillating performances and enhanced their reputations. Here we pick 5 of the best international performances by our players.

Rohit Sharma - 171 not out off 163 balls, 1st ODI, India vs Australia, WACA, Perth, 12th January 2016.

It was India's first international match of 2016 and our Hitman gave his fans a taste of what was to come in the rest of the year. Rohit started the match looking in delectable touch with the bat. The pitch at the WACA is known for its pace and bounce and that suits Rohit's style of batting as he likes playing the horizontal bat shots. It was a typical Rohit Sharma innings with shots all around the ground. India had only scored a total in excess of 300 against Australia in Australia once before and thanks to Rohit's magnificent innings it was the second time.

If any detractors of the Indian team had doubts about the ability of Indian batsmen on pitches with pace and bounce, Rohit's innings would have silenced them. His innings contained 13 fours and 7 sixes. This was a record for the most sixes struck in an innings by an Indian against Australia in Australia in ODIs. In the last few overs of India's innings he was literally toying with the bowlers and smashing them all around the park. India finished at 309/3 and Rohit's contribution was an unbeaten 171. His last 71 runs came off just 41 balls. This ranks as one of the finest innings by an Indian in ODIs on Australian soil.

Rohit Sharma- 124 off 127 balls, India vs Australia, 2nd ODI, Woolloongabba, Brisbane, 15th January 2016.

Three days later, Rohit continued his good form with another blistering innings against the same opponents at Brisbane. He was in sublime form once again and was in no mood to spare the Australian bowlers. Most batsmen would struggle to play an innings of such quality once in a series but Rohit showed his class by doing it in two matches in succession. In just the 6th over of India's innings he struck Kane Richardson for a four and a six and signalled his intentions of scoring another big one. He was run out for 124 in the 43rd over and the Indian innings lost a bit of momentum after that. His innings contained 11 fours and 3 sixes and enabled India to post a daunting total of 308/8. Rohit once again showed his versatility as a batsman in all conditions.

Parthiv Patel- 42 off 85 balls and 67 not out off 54 balls, 3rd Test, India vs England, Mohali, 26th to 29th November 2016.

It may seem strange that innings' of just 42 and 67 are being mentioned as one of the most outstanding batting performances in the year but the context in which they came about needs to be mentioned. Parthiv was making a comeback to the Indian Test team after 8 years and was also opening the batting. In Tests, it is very rare for a wicket-keeper to open the batting as he has to be in the field for a long period of time and then to be asked to perform the arduous task of facing the new ball bowlers is no easy task.

In the first innings Parthiv played a sedate innings and scored 42 off 85 balls with 6 fours. However, his innings showed that he could contribute with the bat at this level. In the second innings, India were chasing a tricky target of 103 and had just lost Murali Vijay with the score on 7. Parthiv steadied the nerves in the dressing room with a quick fire innings which took India to victory in just 21 overs. His innings contained 11 fours and 1 six and showed that he was capable of blunting the new ball and also hammering the opposition bowlers when required. He showed that he still had the goods to perform at this level.

Lendl Simmons- 82 not out off 51 balls, West Indies vs India, WT20 semi-final, Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai- 31st March 2016.

India had posted an imposing total of 192 in their 20 overs and even with the batting might of the West Indies it was a challenging total. West Indies were soon reduced to 19/2 when Lendl Simmons walked to the crease. This was his home ground in the IPL and he made India pay, due to his familiarity with the conditions. The boundaries at Wankhede are pretty short and he took full toll with an innings of brute power. He scored an unbeaten 82 off 51 balls with 7 fours and 5 sixes and his brutal hitting put India out of the competition. Even though it was a partisan Indian crowd wanting the home team to do well, a lot of Mumbai Indian fans would have appreciated the spectacular innings.

Jos Buttler-105 off 76 balls, England vs South Africa, 1st ODI, Mangaung Oval, Bloemfontein, 3rd February 2016.

After their debacle in the ODI World Cup in 2016, England were on a roll in the 50 over format and the reason for this was their aggressive batting. Buttler came to the crease when England were already in a good position at 130/2 and he played an electrifying innings to take them to 399/9 in their 50 overs. He enhanced his already glowing reputation with a century which contained 11 fours and 5 sixes. This was England's highest score against South Africa in ODIs and their 3rd highest score in ODIs against any country. England won by the Duckworth Lewis method and the match was beyond South Africa’s reach thanks to Buttler's brilliant innings.

Our players certainly set the stage alight in 2016 and we hope for more of the same in 2016.

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