He was a man who was feared in the 1990s and the 2000s. Herschelle Gibbs was a batsman who was audacious when he wielded the willow and made the bowlers wilt under the flamboyance that he exuded out in the middle. The South African batting maestro featured in 90 Tests and 248 ODIs for his country. While he scored 6167 runs in the whites, the right-hander amassed over 8000 (8094) runs in ODI cricket. As Gibbs turns 47 today, let us take a look at the top 5 knocks played by the batting dynamite in international cricket.
5) 90* vs West Indies (T20Is)
On 11th September 2007, Gibbs tore into the West Indies’ bowling attack at the Wanderers in the very first T20 World Cup. West Indies batted first and scored a mammoth 205 in their allotted 20 overs, with Chris Gayle scoring a blistering 117. But then, Gibbs stepped up for his side and helped South Africa chase down the target with 2.2 overs to spare. The right-hander struck 14 fours and 2 sixes in his 55-ball knock and scored an unbeaten 90.
4) 143 vs New Zealand (ODIs)
This was another knock that came in a World Cup, but the format was different. In the 50-over World Cup that was held in South Africa in 2003, the hosts took on the New Zealand side. South Africa won the toss and batted first, and Gibbs single-handedly helped his side to post a challenging total of 306 runs on the board. The right-hander scored 143 off 141 deliveries and struck 19 fours and 3 sixes in his knock. In fact, the next highest run-scorer for South Africa after Gibbs was Lance Klusener, who scored 33*. However, Gibbs’ knock was overshadowed by a magical century from Kiwi skipper Stephen Fleming. Fleming’s unbeaten 134 allowed New Zealand to beat South Africa by 9 wickets.
3) 211* vs New Zealand (Tests)
This was a knock that came in the year 1999, against New Zealand at Christchurch in the whites. The hosts won the toss and elected to bat first. Allan Donald and Shaun pollock wreaked havoc, as New Zealand were bowled out for just 168 in their first innings. The South African innings was all about two batting maestros, Herschelle Gibbs and Jacques Kallis. The duo came together with the scorecard reading 127/1, and put on an undefeated partnership of 315 runs. While Kallis scored 148*, Gibbs helped himself to a splendid 211*. Gibbs’ innings was laced with 23 fours and 3 sixes. However, in the second innings, New Zealand batsmen stepped up. The Black Caps ended their second innings with the scorecard reading 127/1, as the match ended in a draw.
2) 228 vs Pakistan (Tests)
In January 2003, the South African side gave an absolute pounding to the visiting Pakistan side in the second Test at Cape Town. And, the catalyst of the victory was Herschelle Gibbs. South Africa won the toss and decided to bat first. The South African openers, Graeme Smith and Herschelle Gibbs put on a colossal partnership of 368 runs for the first wicket to bat Pakistan out of the match. While Smith scored 151, Gibbs helped himself to a magical 228 off just 240 deliveries. South Africa ended their first innings with a massive total of 620 on the board.
In reply, the Pakistan batting line up folded up meekly. The visitors were shot out for just 252. The Pakistan side was asked to follow on, and in the second essay too, they were bowled out for 226 and handed South Africa a mammoth victory by an innings and 142 runs.
1) 175 vs Australia (ODIs)
A historic innings from Gibbs! This knock from Gibbs came in the year 2006, at a time when the T20 fever had not yet caught up with the cricketing world. In fact, on 12th March 2006, Australia and South Africa created history at the Wanderers by scoring a total of 872 runs in 99.5 overs. Australia batted first, and piled up a whopping total of 434 runs on the board, with skipper Ricky Ponting blasting a 105 ball 164. However, the kangaroos were surely not prepared for the onslaught from Herschelle Gibbs. Walking in with South Africa’s scorecard reading 3/1, Gibbs pounded the Australian bowling attack into submission.
The right-hander scored a whirlwind 175 off just 111 balls, as South Africa pulled off the impossible. The hosts chased down the target of 435 with one wicket and one ball to spare. Both Ponting and Gibbs jointly received the ‘Man of the Match’ award.