The greatest left-handed batsman ever produced by India is certainly Sourav Ganguly. As his career unfolded, many opinions formed about his playing style. Some said he is afraid of short pitch deliveries, while some titled him as the “God of offside”. Similarly, some mocked his athletic ability, while some respected his ability to invigorate a team. Above all, Ganguly is the one who introduced Team India to the concept of aggression, intensity, and passion. The Prince of Kolkata transformed the Indian side of the 2000s into a team of winners. Along with his captaincy skills, there is a major role of his batting expertise in achieving this feat. Throughout his career, “Dada”, played so many great innings that it’s difficult to point out which one is the best. Nevertheless, to give you a recap of his illustrious career, here is a list of the 5 best innings of Sourav Ganguly.
5) 131 vs England, London, 1996
Every batsman has a dream of scoring a century in test match cricket. However, only a few manage to do it on their debut and even fewer at the “Home of Cricket”. Batting first, with the help of Jack Russel’s 129, England was able to put on 344 runs on the board. Coming in at no.3 for India, Ganguly batted for more than 7 hours and scored a brilliant 131 runs. He played a total of 301 balls and struck 20 fours in his innings. Besides Ganguly, Rahul Dravid also made his debut in this match. Coupled with Dravid, he took the total score beyond the mark of 400. This match marked the dawn of a new era in Indian cricket. Subsequently, this inning is on the 5th spot in the list of 5 Best innings of Sourav Ganguly
4) 239 vs Pakistan, Bengaluru, 2007
What better occasion to hit your first-ever double ton than to do it against your biggest rival- Pakistan. After winning the toss, India chose to bat. But a disastrous batting start had India reeling at 61/4. Coming in at no.4, Ganguly felt stranded at one end. However, in came a young Yuvraj Singh (169 runs) and both went on to form a 300-run stand, taking the team’s total to 361. After Yuvraj’s departure, Ganguly continued his assault and got into a 178-run stand with Irfan Pathan (102 runs). Finally, he cracked under a loopy Danish Kaneria delivery looking to sweep the ball, ending his 518 min marathon stay at the crease. In total, he faced 361 balls and hit 30 fours and two sixes for his career-best 239 runs. This great inning takes the 4th spot in the list of 5 best innings of Sourav Ganguly.
3) 144 vs Australia, Brisbane, 2003
The Australian batting line after a strong start collapsed from 268/2 to 323 all out after being sent in to bat first. After a cautious start, India lost 3 wickets within a span of 22 balls. In walked Sourav, with a history of grief against fast bowling to face the test of his life. After struggling in the start, he was seen on top of his powers with a sense of self-belief in his batting. He built his innings with the support from the other end and scored a glamourous 144 runs in just 196 balls, clearing the rope 18 times along the ground. Thereby hitting blistering cover drives and square cuts along with swirling pulls and hooks to the short-pitched deliveries targeted at his ribcage. It was a brave, spirited, and emotion-filled hundred. Therefore, this innings ranks at the no.3 spot on the 5 best innings of Sourav Ganguly.
2) 183 VS Sri Lanka, Taunton, 1999
Destroying a reigning world cup winning team, that too in his first-ever World cup. This inning shows the brutal power that Sourav Ganguly possessed in his armory. Sri Lankan captain Ranatunga won the toss and asked the Indian team to bat first. But Sourav Ganguly had different plans altogether. After losing Sadagopan Ramesh in the very first over, Ganguly was joined by Rahul Dravid at the crease. After reaching his hundred in 119 balls, Ganguly upped the ante and stroked the next 83 runs in just 39 balls. He finally got out after scoring a mammoth 183 runs laced with 17 fours and 7 sixes. His 183 coupled with Dravid’s 145 helped India post a gigantic total of 373/6. This remains his highest score in ODIs and ranks 2nd in the list of 5 best innings of Sourav Ganguly.
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1) 141 vs South Africa, Nairobi, 2000
The occasion was the Semifinals of the ICC knockout trophy, which now is known as the Champions Trophy. After winning the toss, India decided to have a bat first. Opening the innings. Ganguly started temperately but soon opened the floodgates of electrifying stroke-play. Shots packed with power and timing continued the flow of runs. Ganguly anchored the innings from start to end and remained unbeaten. He finished with 141 runs of 142 balls, consisting of 11 fours and 6 hits out of the ground. This knock helped India post a challenging total of 295/6 which turned out to be too much for South Africa. As a result, India won the match by 95 runs and qualified for the finals. The importance and quality of this knock are immeasurable. Therefore, it takes the 1st spot in the list of the 5 best innings of Sourav Ganguly.
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