Even though his debut match presents the toughest challenge for any batsman, performing in his final appearance also requires an enormous amount of resilience. There have been numerous accomplished players who have participated in their respective last matches without any inkling on the gravitas surrounding those occasions.
Also Read: 10 batsmen who scored a century on ODI debut
In this segment, let us take a look at the six batsmen who have scored the most runs in their respective last ODI appearances. Despite their sparkling knocks, those games turned out to be their final matches in the format due to various reasons ranging from retirements to contentious selection calls. Needless to say, all active cricketers are not taken into consideration.
#6 Dennis Amiss - 108 against Australia (1977)
Dennis Amiss was a prolific run-scorer for England during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Apart from racking up 3612 runs in his impressive Test career, he was also the first preeminent ODI batsman to emerge from his country. Having been introduced to the format late in his career, the right-hander scored England's maiden century-maker in the format. In all, he scored four centuries from just 18 ODIs.
Amiss' last ODI appearance came against Australia in the summer of 1977. Having taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the 3-match series, England were looking to aggravate the visitors' woes at The Oval. Mike Brearley and Amiss compiled a patient opening stand of 161 before the skipper was stumped off the bowling of Kerry O'Keeffe.
Even as Jeff Thomson and Len Pascoe instigated a catastrophic collapse, Amiss continued to build his innings at the other end. His 146-ball 108 helped England reach a strong total. Chasing 243 from 55 overs, Australia rode on captain Greg Chappell's scintillating ton to complete a thrilling two-wicket triumph.
#5 Desmond Haynes - 115 against England (1994)
With as many as 8648 runs from 238 ODIs, Desmond Haynes occupies the fourth position in the list of all-time leading run-scorers from West Indies. His technical supremacy and remorseless appetite for runs complemented fellow Bajan Gordon Greenidge's brutal stroke-play at the top of the order. Following his long-time batting partner's retirement in 1991, Haynes found himself opening the innings with quite a few inexperienced players.
In his last ODI, Haynes was accompanied by Phil Simmons at the top of the order. Trailing 1-2 in the series, England opted to bowl first in the penultimate game at the Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad. The seasoned opener put their bowlers to the sword with a brilliant 112-ball 115 which carried West Indies to 265/7 before the innings was halted. With their revised target amounting to 209 from 36 overs, the visitors put up a gallant fight. But West Indies romped home by 15 runs to seal the series.
#4 Clive Radley - 117 not out against New Zealand (1978)
One of those rare cases who transcended the levels of batsmanship, Clive Radley was a player with modest returns in the County circuit. However, when he swapped his Middlesex outfit for England's pristine whites, the right-hander found ways to accumulate runs at the highest level. Despite making a mark at the international arena, his career was restricted to just 8 Tests and 4 ODIs.
To add to his two centuries in Tests, Radley scored his maiden ODI ton in 1978 against New Zealand at Manchester. Opting to bat first, England were dented early when Graham Gooch was run out after facing just two deliveries. But Radley anchored the innings splendidly even as contributions from the middle-order helped immensely.
He remained unbeaten on 117 from 140 balls as the hosts registered a daunting total of 278 from their 55 overs. Their spin combination of Phil Edmonds and Geoff Miller proceeded to send New Zealand crashing to 152 all out. England completed a facile series triumph. Meanwhile, for Radley, the match would remain his final appearance in the limited-overs format.
#3 Feiko Kloppenburg - 121 & #2 Klaas-Jan van Noortwijk - 134 not out against Namibia (2003)
The 39th match of the 2003 World Cup at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein might not have been a particularly significant fixture in terms of the context of the tournament. But the game presented another of those scarce opportunities for Netherlands and Namibia to taste the elixir of the big stage. Even though both teams were out of contention for the ensuing Super Six stages, there was no shortage of motivation for either side.
On a docile track, Netherlands won the toss and decided to bat first. After losing Edgar Schiferli in the sixth over of the innings, their fortunes were shored by an amazing partnership between Feiko Kloppenburg and Klaas-Jan van Noortwijk. Both batsmen hammered centuries to propel the Dutch past the 300-run mark.
Despite a strong showing by their top-order, Namibia collapsed to Adeel Raja's off-breaks as well as Kloppenburg's gentle medium pace. Due to the Associate nation's dearth of international fixtures, the game saw the final appearances of quite a few players from both teams. For Kloppenburg and van Noortwijk, the euphoria generated by their stellar centuries had to suffice for the remainder of their respective careers.
#1 James Marshall - 161 against Ireland (2008)
Not many batsmen would have hammered a mammoth score and subsequently fallen out of favour with the team management. Yet, the unusual manifestation befell James Marshall. Along with his twin brother Hamish, he played several matches for New Zealand in the mid 2000s. Unlike Hamish who made his international debut in 2000, James had to wait until 2005 before representing the Blackcaps. His tryst with the highest level lasted for just three years.
Extra Cover: 5 highest opening partnerships in ODIs
During the opening game of the 2008 Tri-series, New Zealand and Ireland locked horns in Aberdeen. On a benign track against a pedestrian bowling unit, James and Brendon McCullum made merry by putting on a 274-run opening partnership. Even though they fell 12 runs short of the record stand for the first wicket, both batsmen had done enough to propel the Kiwis to a daunting total of 402 for the loss of just two wickets. In reply, the Irish could only muster a paltry 112.
McCullum and James smashed their career best ODI scores of 166 and 161 respectively. While the wicket-keeper batsman continued to surge to greater heights across all formats, the latter was discarded permanently from the New Zealand set-up.