Flamboyance Personified: Looking at Suresh Raina’s top ten batting performances in international cricket

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After sharing countless partnerships in blue and in yellow, the iconic pair of MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina announced their retirement from international cricket. The swashbuckling left-hander was India’s mainstay in the middle order and has played several crucial knocks over the course of his career for the Indian cricket team.

After amassing 226 ODI, 19 Test and 78 T20I appearances to his name, the 33-year-old will bid farewell to the International circuit bearing no regrets. Let us have a look at Suresh Raina’s top ten innings when it comes to international cricket.

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10. 89 vs England; 4th ODI 2012; Mohali

With a chance to seal the series with a game to go. Suresh Raina scored a gem of a knock by calmly negotiating the middle overs.

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Raina’s unbeaten 89 off 79 was the backbone in India’s pursuit of 258 for the win. While the match is often reminisced for Rohit Sharma’s maiden outing as an opener, the left-hander’s efforts to conduct the knock after Sharma’s dismissal also deserves a viewing.

9. 81 vs England; 3rd ODI 2005; Faridabad

India were in a precarious position at 91-5 batting second chasing 227. Raina, was relatively new into the scene with only seven matche experience to catch up with the English pace battery.

The left-hander’s 81 was crucial to nab a lead in the series. The 19-year-old showed some early glimpse as he shared the crease with MS Dhoni.

8. 71 vs Australia; second ODI; Vishakapatnam

The only possible ODI in a rain-marred series saw the introduction of the “Bleed Blue” jersey and a sensational chase led by Virat Kohli. Lurking behind the chase is yet another pivotal character who sped things up with regular boundaries in the middle.

The chase of 290 was turned into a cakewalk, courtesy of Suresh Raina’s explosive knock of 71 off just 47 deliveries.

7 120 vs Sri Lanka; 2010; Colombo

Suresh Raina was dismissed for a duck during his ODI debut against the Lankans. The left-handed all-rounder made amends after receiving his cap from Rahul Dravid.

On a flat surface, Raina registered his first test century in his first outing in whites itself. The innings involved a mammoth 256-run stand with Sachin Tendulkar.

While Raina’s test career began on a high, it never came to fruition as he ended up making only 19 test appearances with an average below 30.

6. 100 vs England; 2nd ODI 2014; Cardiff’

While India endured a rough time in the test series, they won the ODI series relatively easily. In India’s win at Cardiff, Raina scored a superb ton that took India past 300.

Although it seemed that rain would wash away Raina’s hard work, the rain gods showed enough mercy to wipe out England’s batting to bring a result.

5. 49* vs Australia; 3rd T20 2016; Sydney

After already claiming the series by a margin of 2-0, India’s hope for a potential whitewash was diminished with a captain’s knock by Shane Watson in the first innings.

Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan had laid out the perfect foundation for the middle order. However, the side lost track of the chase and the required rate saw a huge steep. Yuvraj Singh’s last over antics won the game, but Raina’s unbeaten 49 was the real thorn in Australia’s side.

4. 34* vs Australia; 2011 WC Quarter-Final; Ahmedabad

A star-studded batting line-up meant that Raina had to spend the World Cup from the bench early on. However, he was brought into the action in the crucial quarter-final clash against the mighty Aussies.

Coming in at a tricky and a pivotal point during the chase, Raina aided Yuvraj Singh in the middle as the duo prevented the loss of another wicket and sealed India’s spot in the semi-finals of the tournament.

While 34 may not seem such a huge score, considering the magnitude of the match, the opposition and pressure, 34 is worth its weight in gold.

3. 36* vs Pakistan; 2011 WC Semi-Final; Mohali

Coming of fresh off a heroic performance, the Men In Blue needed Raina’s assistance to get over the line yet again. Playing against Pakistan in a high-voltage semi-final encounter, India slumped into the trouble after a comfortable start.

The southpaw struck around with the tail order to steer India to 260. After India’s World Cup win, coach Gary Kirsten had later stated that Raina’s twin knocks won India the trophy.

2. 101* vs South Africa; 2010 T20 WC Group Stage; Gros Islet

Raina’s love-affair with major tournaments continued as he became the first Indian to record centuries across all three formats.

The left-hander’s one-man show brought the IPL to West Indies as he scored his ton in sixty balls making world-class bowlers like Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel look like amateurs.

1. 110* vs Zimbabwe; 2015 World Cup; Auckland

India’s perfect start to their World Cup campaign was threatened with a resilient showing by Zimbabwe. Brendan Taylor had set the stage with a sensational knock in the first innings leaving India an uphill target of 288 to scale.

The chase was derailed as India lost 4 wickets with the scoreboard yet to reach a hundred. Suresh Raina joined forces with his skipper MS Dhoni to record an unbeaten 196-run stand for the fifth wicket.

Raina scored 9 fours and 4 sixes in his unbeaten knock of 110 off 104 deliveries.

The shuffle across the crease to nudge the ball to fine leg, the inside-out shot over covers and the slog sweeps will all be etched in the memories of the millions of fans across the nation.

Raina will be playing for the Chennai Super Kings in the upcoming IPL season which starts next month in the UAE for which the wagers are available here.

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