On 7 September 2023, South African skipper Temba Bavuma became the 13th player to ‘carry the bat’ in an ODI innings. Bavuma scored an unbeaten 114 runs off 142 balls against Australia in Bloemfontein. This knock helped the Proteas put a respectable 222 on the scoreboard.

Apart from the fighting knock, social media was abuzz with the term ‘carry the bat’. Many fans were clueless about this rare cricketing term, with everyone wondering what it even meant.

So, in this article, I will explain the meaning of the ‘carrying the bat’ term.

Carrying the Bat

Cricket, as you know, has a huge following across the globe. It might seem like the game is pretty simple, but it’s not. I mean, just look at the weird rules of the game. If a beginner tries to make sense of the rules, it will feel like a bouncer for them.

And it’s quite similar to different terminologies used in cricket. One of them being ‘carry the bat’ or ‘carrying the bat’.

Now, many cricket fans must have thought that this was something related to the batter carrying their bat while batting. Well, it turns out the meaning is completely different.

So, what does ‘carrying the bat’ mean?

Let me explain this to you in simple words.

You see, the term ‘carry the bat’ is only used for opening batters — No. 1 or No. 2. This term is applicable only when an opening batter bats through the innings and remains unbeaten on the crease while their team is bowled all out.

So in the match between South Africa and Australia, Temba Bavuma remained not out on 114 runs, while South Africa’s innings ended on 222 in 49 overs. Thus, making him the 13th batter to do so in an ODI match.

But you need to keep one thing in mind. This term is not applicable if a batter remains not out at the end of the 50th over but the batting team still has wickets in hand. So this is the major difference.

To give you a better idea, remember Rohit Sharma scored his third double-century in ODIs against Sri Lanka in 2017. Rohit remained unbeaten on 208* off 153 balls, but India only lost 4 wickets at the end of the 50 overs. So this knock by Rohit couldn’t earn the tag of carrying the bat.

‘Carry the Bat’ Instances Across Formats

There have been over 56 instances of carrying the bat in Test cricket, 13 in ODI cricket, and only one in T20Is.

That one instance in T20I belongs to none other than the Universe Boss, Chris Gayle. The explosive West Indies batter became the first and only cricketer to achieve this mark in the shortest format.

This innings came against Sri Lanka in the 2009 T20 World Cup, where his unbeaten 63 helped the Windies reach 101 while chasing a target of 159.

Talking about ODIs, England’s Nick Knight holds the record for scoring the most runs while carrying the bat in the 50-over format. In 1996, England was struggling against the pace attack of Pakistan in an ODI game. Knight held on to one end while the wickets kept falling on the other. His 125* helped England reach 246, though Pakistan won the game with two wickets to spare.

Coming to Tests, India’s aggressive opener Virender Sehwag notched up an unbeaten 201 off 231 deliveries against Sri Lanka in 2008. Sehwag’s knock was instrumental in helping India put on 329 runs while batting first. 

When wickets were falling on the other end, he kept doing what he was best known for — playing aggressive cricket. Thanks to his knock and Harbhajan Singh’s incredible bowling, India handed the hosts a 170-run defeat.

That’s it for this article. I hope you got the answer you were looking for.

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