On 23rd February 2003, John Davison got Canada on the cricket map with a historic knock against the West Indies at the 2003 World Cup. The opener had slammed the then fastest century in the World Cup as he blew West Indies away with his 67-ball ton. Davison finished his monumental knock with 111 runs off 76 balls, including eight fours and six sixes.
Canada had come into the game after suffering a heavy defeat against Sri Lanka in their previous outing. They were bowled out for a world-record low of just 36 as Sri Lanka thrashed them by 9 wickets. Unsurprisingly, there was absolutely no crowd in the stands when Canada locked horns against the West Indies at Centurion.
Davison, however, did not take long to make the fans regret their decision. West Indies won the toss and decided to bowl first, probably expecting to finish the game quickly by bowling out the demoralised opposition cheaply. However, they were in for a rude shock as Davison had some other plans.
Opening the batting, Davison took the West Indies bowlers to the cleaners with his hard-hitting. His knock came against an attack that had some decent bowlers like Pedro Collins, Merv Dillon and Vasbert Drakes.
After scoring 4 runs off the first seven balls, Davison made his intentions clear in the fourth over when Collins tried to rattle him with a yorker and a bouncer. The Canada opener hit a four and a six to collect 15 of that over. From thereafter, there was no looking back as he hit his way to a 30-ball fifty. When his partner Ishwar Maraj was dismissed by Collins, the score was 96 and the latter had scored only 16 of those runs.
It was followed by a 59-run stand with Desmond Chumney who contributed only 19 in the partnership. Prior to Chumney’s dismissal, Davison reached his century with a huge six over long-on off Mervyn Dillon. When he attempted another six, Vasbert Drakes came up with a sensational effort at long-on to end his monumental knock. Davison also had luck on his side that day, He was dropped on 55 and 76, and miraculously escaped being bowled on 71 as the ball failed to dislodge the bails after rolling on to the stumps.
Canada’s other batsmen, however, failed to deliver as they were all out for a modest 202 in 42.5 overs. West Indies then came out all guns blazing on the pitch that was nothing less than a paradise for the batsmen. Wavell Hinds smashed the fastest fifty in World Cup history off 24 balls before Brian Lara bettered it by a delivery minutes later. West Indies eventually chased down the total in just 20.3 overs.
Keeping the result aside, it was Davison’s day and he was deservedly given the Man of the Match award. His record stood for four years before Matthew Hayden broke it at the 2007 World Cup. The record is currently held by Ireland’s Kevin O’Brien for his 50-ball century against England at the 2011 World Cup.