5 of the most famous cameos in cricket history

  • The advent of limited-overs cricket has seen aggressive batting come to the fore of the game.
  • We take a look at 5 pinch-hitting exploits from cricket history that are still remembered.
S Samaddar
Top 5 / Top 10
Modified 31 Mar 2020, 15:15 IST

Carlos Brathwaite
Carlos Brathwaite's famous cameo in the 2016 T20 World Cup final saw West Indies lift the trophy

Ever since the emergence of limited-overs cricket, attacking batsmanship has become the calling card of plenty of batsmen in the game. However, the 1990s saw an explosion in power hitting from batsmen all over the world due to the innovations brought about by Martin Crowe in the 1992 World Cup. Cricket has not been the same since. Batsmen got used to the idea that it was okay to lose a couple of wickets as long as the runs were scored at a fast rate as it helped dent the opposition bowlers' confidence.

The emergence of T20 cricket has further added to the importance of short, fast innings that completely change the game. Hence, cameos have become much more frequent than ever before. Here is a look at some of the most famous cameos that have been played in international cricket over the years.

(Note: Only knocks of fewer than 15 deliveries have been included in the list)

#5 Andre Russell 42*(13) v Pakistan, Christchurch, World Cup 2015

Andre Russell
Andre Russell

There are very few batsmen in the world at the moment who can match West Indian all-rounder Andre Russell when it comes to power hitting. In a league game against Pakistan in the 2015 ICC World Cup, he showed exactly why he could be such a game-breaker. He came in to bat in the 48th over at the fall of the 5th wicket, with the scorecard reading 259/5 and unleashed absolute carnage to take the West Indies to 310 in 50 overs.

Against a capable Pakistani attack, he belted four sixes and three fours to score a breathless 13-ball 42 and completely knocked the stuffing out of one of the better bowling attacks in the tournament. After hitting his first boundary in the 48th over, Russell took Wahab Riaz to the cleaners in the 49th over as he hit three sixes in one over and completely changed the game.

The West Indies romped to a 150 run victory.

#4 Moin Khan 31* (12) v Australia, Leeds, 1999 World Cup

Moin Khan
Moin Khan

During the late 1990s, Pakistan's wicketkeeper Moin Khan was probably one of the most dangerous lower-order batsmen in the world due to his ability to improvise and score quickly during the slog overs. In the group game against Australia at Leeds, he played one of his most famous late order innings against one of the best bowling attacks in the world at the time. He came in to bat at the fall of the 6th wicket in the 47th over after Abdul Razzaq and Inzamam ul Haq had taken Pakistan to 230.

Moin Khan then proceeded to attack the Australians in his own inimitable way, hitting three sixes and two fours in a 12-ball cameo scoring 31 runs and taking Pakistan to an imposing 275 in 50 overs. He hit McGrath for two sixes, one off a top edge and other from a flick before depositing the pacer over the third man for another one as the Australians were left licking their wounds.

His innings proved crucial as Pakistan defended the score and won a close game by ten runs. 

#3 Mohammad Azharuddin 29* (10) v Pakistan, Sharjah, 1996

Mohammad Azharuddin
Mohammad Azharuddin

Games between India and Pakistan have often thrown up genuinely remarkable performances from players of both sides. In a One Day International in Sharjah back in 1996, the then Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin played one of the most memorable cameos in the history of the fixture. Following centuries from Navjot Sidhu and Sachin Tendulkar, India were on course for a big score, but they needed the final flourish from Azharuddin to turn it into a 300 plus one.

He came in to bat at 264-4 and in the next ten deliveries he faced, he carted two fours and two sixes to take India to 305. All boundaries seemed to come off the middle of the bat. Azharuddin amassed 24 runs in an over off Pakistan paceman Ata-ur-Rahman as India recorded a score that eventually proved to be beyond Pakistan's grasp. 

#2 Darren Sammy 34* (13) v Australia, World T20, Dhaka, 2014

Darren Sammy
Darren Sammy

Members of the West Indian cricket team have played some of the best cameos in recent years. One such cameo was played by Darren Sammy in the World T20 game against Australia at Dhaka. There had been a lot of talk ahead of the game from the Australians, and there was definitely a nasty edge to the game.

When Sammy walked in to bat, West Indies did not look in great shape as they found themselves needing 50 to win off 21 balls in pursuit of Australia's imposing total of 179. However, captain Sammy proceeded to play one of the most outstanding T20 innings in recent history to turn the game around completely. In the 19th over, he launched Mitchell Starc for six over the long-on boundary and then proceeded to hit him for two fours to turn the tide.

The West Indies needed 12 runs from the last over to win the game, but the first two balls were dots. With tension mounting, Sammy hit the next two deliveries off James Faulkner out of the ground to complete one of the most memorable chases seen in recent memory. 

#1 Carlos Brathwaite 34*(10) v England, World T20 final, Kolkata, 2016

Carlos Brathwaite
Carlos Brathwaite

Even in isolation, Carlos Brathwaite's breathtaking cameo in this game is one of the greatest ones ever played, but when put into context, the true enormity of the effort becomes clear. Playing in a World T20 final in one of the world's biggest arenas is a tough ask for any young cricketer but then going on to keep one's nerve and nonchalantly hit four sixes in the last over of the game is something that will probably not happen again for a long time.

West Indies were struggling in their chase of England's 155 in the final at the Eden Gardens, and slowly the required run rate began to climb as the well-set Marlon Samuels seemed unable to connect. Brathwaite had come in to bat in the 16th over but had only faced six balls and scored ten runs.

When the last over from Ben Stokes commenced, West Indies needed 19 to win, and no one quite gave Brathwaite a chance. Most he could do was take a single and hope for the well-set Samuels to go for the big hits.

However, nothing of that sort happened as he sent the first delivery of the last over soaring between long leg and square leg. The next one went miles over long-on for six, and the third one over mid-off sent England's hopes crashing.

Needing 1 to win off 3, he did not tap and run but instead hit another six to rub it in. 

Published 20 Oct 2017, 14:00 IST
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