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5 biggest margins of victory in ODI cricket

India and South Africa registered 257-run wins at the 2007 and 2015 World Cups respectively
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Neelabhra Roy

Ever since their inception in 1971, ODIs have become one of the most popular formats of cricket. Over the years, the ODI format has featured many great players who have set and broken numerous records. One such record is the margin of victory in terms of the number of runs.

From 1 run to 200, the ODI format has witnessed it all and this article has been written to elucidate the five biggest margin of victories in ODI cricket.

Also read: 10 biggest innings defeats in Test cricket


#5 257 runs – India vs Bermuda, South Africa vs West Indies

Two of cricket’s powerhouses registered wins by 257 runs and both teams achieved this at a World Cup. India were the first team to register a win by this margin and they did this against Bermuda at Port of Spain during the 2007 World Cup.

After losing their tournament opener to Bangladesh, India needed to defeat Bermuda in order to stay in the tournament. However, they were off to a horrible start after Robin Uthappa was dismissed for 3 in the second over courtesy a brilliant catch taken by Dwayne Leverock. The Indian batting received some impetus from a 202-run partnership between Virender Sehwag and Sourav Ganguly. Sehwag got to his first ever World Cup century before being dismissed by Kevin Hurdle.

After Ganguly’s dismissal for 89, Yuvraj Singh along with Sachin Tendulkar added 122 from just 62 deliveries before the former was dismissed for a 46-ball 83. India ended their innings on 413/5 with Tendulkar reaching his half-century and finishing with 57 from 29 deliveries.

In reply, Bermuda got nowhere close to India’s target despite David Hemp’s valiant, unbeaten 76. India bowled out the minnows for just 156, the only time Bermuda crossed 100 in the entire tournament.

India’s win by 257 runs was at the time the largest margin of victory in an ODI match, bettering Australia’s 256-run win over Namibia at the 2003 World Cup at Potchefstroom. India’s score of 413/5 was also the then-highest score in Cricket World Cup history, bettering Sri Lanka’s 398/5 against Kenya at Kandy during the 1996 World Cup.

South Africa, meanwhile, registered their 257-run against West Indies in Sydney at the 2015 World Cup. Batting first, Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis scored half-centuries to put South Africa in a good position before AB de Villiers bashed the Windies bowlers en route to his 162 off just 66 deliveries as South Africa ended their innings on 408/5.

In reply, the entire West Indies team failed to even score as many runs as ABD as they were skittled out for 151 with Jason Holder top-scoring with 56.

#4 258 runs - South Africa vs Sri Lanka

South Africa handed Sri Lanka one of their most humiliating defeats

South Africa won the Test series against Sri Lanka 2-1 and both teams then locked horns in the ODI series with the first match being held at Paarl. South Africa won the toss and opted to bat first. The Proteas lost Graeme Smith early but Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis added 144 to put them back on track.

Following Kallis’ dismissal for 72, Amla was joined at the crease by AB de Villiers and the duo added 91 for the third wicket with Amla reaching his century and ABD reaching his half-century. De Villiers was dismissed for 52 and Amla was dismissed shortly after, for 112. The remainder of the South African batting couldn’t do much and they ended their innings on 301/8 from their 50 overs.

In reply, Sri Lanka put on one of their worst ever batting displays as Morne Morkel and Lonwabo Tsotsobe skittled them out for 43 on the same ground where Sri Lanka had skittled out Canada for 36 (the lowest total in World Cup history). This remains Sri Lanka’s lowest ever ODI total.

#3 272 runs – South Africa vs Zimbabwe

South Africa thrashed Zimbabwe by 272 runs

After sealing the three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe in 2010 by winning the first two games, South Africa were looking for a clean sweep as they travelled to Benoni. South Africa won the toss and opted to bat first. Hashim Amla and Graeme Smith gave the Proteas a steady start but were soon dismissed for 24 and 26 respectively within the space of nine balls.

AB de Villiers and JP Duminy then began to give the Zimbabwe bowlers a solid beating, dealing mainly in fours and sixes. Both players reached their centuries and added 219 runs for the third wicket before the former was dismissed for 109 by Hamilton Masakadza.

Duminy went on to score 129 before being dismissed by Ian Nicholson. Cameos from Albie Morkel, David Miller, and Colin Ingram took South Africa to a mammoth total of 399/6 from their 50 overs.

In reply, the South African bowlers did not give the Zimbabwean batsmen a chance to impose themselves as the likes of Juan Theron, Wayne Parnell, Albie Morkel, and Johan Botha were just too much for the opposition. Zimbabwe were eventually skittled out for 127 and South Africa registered their biggest ODI victory, by 272 runs, sweeping the series 3-0 in the process.

#2 275 runs – Australia vs Afghanistan

Australia broke two World Cup records during their 275-run win over Afghanistan

After suffering a narrow defeat against New Zealand in their third group game, the Aussies were eager to get their 2015 World Cup campaign back on track in their next match against Afghanistan at Perth.

Australia chose to bat first but lost opener, Aaron Finch, early. However, David Warner and Steve Smith steadied the ship and the southpaw reached his century off 92 deliveries. After getting to his milestone, Warner began to accelerate, scoring his next 50 runs off just 24 deliveries, thus registering his second score of 150+ in ODIs.

Smith too reached his half-century as the duo added 260 runs for the second wicket – Australia’s highest partnership in World Cup history – bettering the 234-run stand between Ricky Ponting and Damien Martyn at the 2003 World Cup final against India at the Wanderers.

Warner was eventually dismissed after scoring a then career-best 178 and Smith, a few overs later for 95. Glenn Maxwell played a fiery knock of 88 from just 39 deliveries to guide Australia to 417/5, the highest score in World Cup history, bettering India’s 413/5 against Bermuda in 2007.

In reply, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, and Josh Hazlewood ran riot, dismissing the Afghans for 142, thus giving Australia a 275-run win, the highest margin of victory in World Cup history. It was also Australia’s highest margin of victory in ODI cricket.

#1 290 runs – New Zealand vs Ireland

New Zealand v Bangladesh - 3rd ODI : News Photo
McCullum dismantled the Irish bowling attack

Scotland hosted a three-nation tournament featuring Ireland and New Zealand. The first match of the series was between New Zealand and Ireland at Aberdeen. Ireland won the toss and opted to field first.

New Zealand got off to a flying start as openers James Marshall and Brendon McCullum smashed the Irish bowlers to all parts of the ground. McCullum went on score his maiden ODI century and the duo added 274 for the first wicket, New Zealand’s highest partnership in ODI history, bettering the 204-run stand between Stephen Fleming and Lou Vincent against Zimbabwe at Bulawayo in 2005.

McCullum was eventually dismissed for a career-best ODI score of 166 from just 135 deliveries. Baz’s dismissal turned out to be Ireland’s curse as Ross Taylor and Marshall went hammer and tongs at the bowling, elevating the run-rate in the process. The duo added 114 from just 43 deliveries before Marshall was dismissed for a monumental 161.

Taylor reached his fifty and New Zealand ended their innings on 402/2 in 50 overs. In reply, Ireland were bowled out for 112 with Michael Mason and Tim Southee picking up three wickets apiece. New Zealand thus recorded a 290-run victory, bettering India’s then 257-run record set at the 2007 World Cup for the highest margin of victory in an ODI.

Edited by Staff Editor
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