It is thought that everyone is born with something special. Cricketers are no exception, with some excelling at batting while others are technically skilled with the ball. However, there are several notable exceptions, dubbed ‘all-rounders’.
All-rounders are like superglue to any cricket team, carrying the burden of both the batting and bowling departments. There have been a handful gifted enough to be dubbed all-rounders over the years.
6. Shakib Al Hasan vs Zimbabwe, 2014
Shakib is unquestionably the greatest Bangladeshi player of all time and one of the top all-rounders in the world right now. Shakib delivered one of the best all-round performances in international cricket during Zimbabwe’s visit to Bangladesh in 2014.
Bangladesh, which was leading the series 1-0, poured on the runs after winning the toss. The hosts reached 433 in the first inning, led by Shakib Al Hasan’s magnificent century. He scored 137 with 18 fours and two sixes.
Zimbabwe responded well, but Shakib was too much for them to handle. As Bangladesh took a 65-run advantage, he delivered figures of 5/80. Shakib took his wrath out on the Zimbabwean batsmen, taking his second fifer of the match as Bangladesh won by 162 runs.
5. Paul Collingwood vs Bangladesh, 2005
Paul Collingwood is one of England’s most distinguished cricketers, having led the team to their first-ever T20 World Cup victory in 2010. Collingwood also had one of the best all-round performances in ODI cricket on June 21, 2005.
Collingwood hit 112 off 86 balls as England posted a huge total of 391/4 against Bangladesh. As if his attempts with the bat were not enough, he also got 6/31 from his ten overs as England triumphed by 168 runs.
4. Yuvraj Singh vs England, 2008
Yuvraj Singh, a former Indian cricketer, is regarded as one of the finest all-rounders of all time. On November 17, 2008, he hit 118 from 122 balls against England, leading India to a respectable score of 292/9. The knock was made up of 15 fours and two sixes.
Yuvraj proved his all-rounder status after a successful performance in one section by delivering another masterpiece in the bowling department. He took 4/28 as India defeated them by 54 runs in Indore.
3. Ravichandran Ashwin vs England, 2021
This is the most recent instance of an all-rounder taking the game to the opposition. Ravichandran Ashwin is one of India’s finest spinners, having taken over 400 wickets in Test cricket.
There is a lot to say about his bowling, but his hitting isn’t bad either. He demonstrated this during England’s full-fledged series in India in 2021. India needed a win after being hammered by England in the first Test to keep their WTC final dreams alive.
India won the toss and chose to bat first in Chennai. India scored 329 runs in their first innings, with Rohit Sharma hitting 161 off 231 balls. With the pressure on, Ashwin took 5/43 as England were bowled out for 134, trailing India by 195 runs.
India came to bat again in the second inning, with a commanding first-innings lead, but were reduced to 106/6. However, Ashwin and Virat Kohli steered the ship, with the former hitting 106 off 148 balls to put India in command. Ashwin subsequently got three more wickets as India won by 317 runs.
2. Sir Viv Richards vs New Zealand, 1987
Sir Vivian Richards transformed the gentlemen’s game at a time when dominating bowlers were uncommon. Furthermore, Richards was the only player in ODI history to make a century and take a fifer in the same game.
The West Indies lost the toss and were called in to bat first by New Zealand at Dunedin on March 18, 1987. The Windies were 50/3 when Viv Richards came in and hammered 119 of 113 balls, including 10 boundaries and four sixes.
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1. Sir Ian Botham vs India, 1980
Sir Ian Botham, unquestionably one of the greatest players of all time, demonstrated his brilliance during a one-off Test between England and India in 1980. India batted first and only managed 242 as Botham ripped down their batting order, taking 6/58.
England, on the other hand, lost early wickets and were reduced to 58/5 before Botham chose to change the dynamics to their advantage. He scored 114 runs to help England build a 54-run lead.
Botham took 7/48 in the second innings as India were bowled out for 149 runs. England won the game by 10 wickets after chasing a 96-run target.
The six above-mentioned performances are just a few of the numerous outstanding all-around efforts that have been witnessed in international cricket. These athletes demonstrated their ability to win games with both bat and ball, and they contributed to some memorable victories for their teams.
Given that each of these efforts had a big impact on the game’s outcome, it is challenging to single out one as the best. The six performances listed above, however, are all deserving of consideration and demonstrate the remarkable potential that all-rounders are capable of having.
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