Top 5 underrated ODI knocks of Suresh Raina
There are very few Indian players who can bat, bowl and field outstandingly. Suresh Raina is definitely one of those considering the intensity he brings whenever he is at the center of action.
He saves a lot of runs to the team with amazing efforts on the field and also chips in with a decent number of overs when the main bowlers are having a bad day. Raina has an economy of 5.11 in the 50-over format which is impressive considering the fact he is the sixth bowler in the team.
Raina's main strength of batting has been handy to the team whenever it has been in a sticky situation. Having represented India in 226 ODIs, he averages 35.31 at a strike-rate of 93.50 with 5 centuries and 36 fifties. He has been the most flexible batsman and has batted at different positions depending on the team’s requirement.
A quickfire 40 or a wicket to break a big partnership can turn the game on its head and Raina has done those on numerous occasions to the team. There have been instances where his contributions down the order were overshadowed by big knocks from his teammates. Let us look at some of the underrated ODI knocks of Raina.
#5 66 off 39 against New Zealand at Napier (2009)
After losing both the T20s against the Kiwis,it was time for the Indian team to perform well in the 50 over format. The first ODI was at Napier where India batted first and got to 273 in 38 overs. India were 27 for no loss when it started to rain heavily and the match was reduced to 38 overs per side.
Sehwag scored 77 off 56 before falling to Vettori. Yuvraj ran himself out and the team found themselves in a mix. Raina came in at 5 and started playing aggressive shots from the start with Dhoni at the other end.
The pair put up 110 runs in just 12.2 overs with Raina playing the cameo and Dhoni playing the support role. Raina was in superb touch and the sixes over the deep mid-wicket was a treat to watch.
He got to his fifty in just 31 balls and the Kiwis were mere spectators. He ended up scoring 66 off 39 balls with 5 boundaries and 4 maximums. If not for that innings by Raina, India would have fallen short. This innings proved his worth to the team.