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Michael Bevan

Michael Bevan: The prototype finisher

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Australian batsman Michael Bevan in many ways foreshadowed the direction of one-day cricket. We look back at some of his best one-day innings that defined him as possibly the first of the modern breed of 'finishers'.

72* (65) v Sri Lanka, Perth, 1999: The run-out of Ricky Ponting brought Bevan to the crease with the scoreboard reading 138/4 after 29 overs and the game well balanced. But Bevan's superb innings, in which he scored at faster than a run a ball despite just four boundaries, pulled the home side up to a challenging 274/7. Glenn McGrath's miserly bowling then sealed victory for Australia by 45 runs.

53* (42) v Pakistan, Lahore, 1994: Back-to-back dismissals of both Waugh brothers saw Bevan join David Boon with the score still below 200 as the innings entered its final stages. But a masterful knock despite tricky conditions dragged Australia up to a competitive total of 269/5 against the hosts in the tri-series final, with Bevan scoring 68% of the 78 runs added while he was at the crease. Pakistan fell comfortably short, and Bevan ended the match as the only player to score at a strike rate over 100.

Bevan's 74* carried Australia from 48/4 to victory, causing England to be knocked out of the 2003 Cricket World Cup
Bevan's 74* carried Australia from 48/4 to victory, causing England to be knocked out of the 2003 Cricket World Cup

33* (25) v Zimbabwe, Delhi, 1998: Despite a wonderful century from Ponting, who was eventually dismissed just over three overs from the end of the innings with 145 runs to his name, Australia could have easily ended up on the wrong side of an upset but for the late impetus provided by Bevan. He lifted them to 294/3 from their 50 overs, before fifties from both Grant and Andy Flower saw underdogs Zimbabwe fall just 16 runs short of Australia's total.

101* (103) v India, Sharjah, 1998: Just 11 days after his under-stated but vital innings against Zimbabwe, Bevan was called upon to perform a completely different job. Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble had just removed Ponting and Damien Martyn in quick succession, leaving the Australian innings in the lurch at 87/3. But Bevan provided a masterclass of one-day batting to hold the innings together and accelerate his side to a total of 284/7, which proved too much for India despite that classic 143 from Sachin Tendulkar.

74* (126) v England, Port Elizabeth, 2003: As the group stage of ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2003 drew to a close, England found themselves having to beat the undefeated Australia side to proceed to the next stage. Some sublime bowling from Andy Bichel, who took 7/20, left Australia needing only 205 to win. Yet, things looked bleak as Bevan strode to the crease with the score 48/4. He and Darren Lehmann brought some order before another collapse left the Aussies 80 runs short of victory with just two wickets in hand. But the steady hand of Bevan steered them home, alongside Player of the Match Bichel, who contributed 34 runs himself to an unbroken ninth-wicket stand of 83.

87* (113) v India, Margao, 2001: A quickfire start in pursuit of 266 to win was checked by the wickets of Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting in one over of Javagal Srinath. Bevan then kept pace with Adam Gilchrist, but the innings began to fall away following the keeper's dismissal. Steve Waugh, Lehmann and Andrew Symonds all fell cheaply before Ian Harvey provided the support Bevan needed to see the visitors to victory by four wickets.

Bevan was able to build an innings with the lower order to take Australia to strong totals
Bevan was able to build an innings with the lower order to take Australia to strong totals

69* (74) v England, Sydney, 1999: Frequent wickets pegged Australia back as they looked to post a big score in the first of two finals in the tri-series against England. But Bevan held it together, as well as keeping the scoreboard ticking along at a healthy pace. He finished as the only Australian to pass fifty, and was only outpaced by Gilchrist's 30-ball 29, as they set England 233 to win. The visiting batsmen also struggled to score as freely as Bevan had, with the exception of Alec Stewart's jovial 27 from 18.

102* (95) v New Zealand, Melbourne, 2002: Chasing 246 to win, Australia quickly found themselves in trouble at 53/4 when Bevan arrived at the crease, and fell further to 82/6. But partnerships of 61 and 81 with Shane Warne and Brett Lee kept the hosts in the game. Bevan brought up his sixth ODI century from 93 balls as Bichel accompanied him to the target with three balls and two wickets to spare.

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