One of the greatest ever finishers in One Day International (ODI) cricket was born on this day. Michael Bevan is an enigma not many have been able to decipher because of the way he played himself into a game and the effect he had on it eventually.
One of the pioneers of the word 'finisher' in ODIs, Bevan's virtue was the manner in which he sealed matches and saw them through till the end.
We look back on three of his best knocks.
78* vs West Indies (Sydney 1996)
Often rated as one of the best knocks by the Australian finisher, Bevan came to the fore for Australia in a low-scoring thriller at Sydney in the Benson & Hedges World series in 1996.
West Indies finished at a paltry 172/9 in the allotted 43 overs. A silly run-chase turned interesting as Australia were reduced to 38 for six by Curtly Ambrose and Ottis Gibson.
Bevan, who walked in at 32 for four, put on a crucial 83-run stand with Paul Reiffel for the eighth wicket and remained unbeaten on 78 off 88 balls with six fours to see Australia through by one wicket in the end. With four to win off the last ball, Bevan smashed a boundary to win the game for the Aussies.
79* vs Pakistan (Melbourne 1997)
Bevan's maiden ODI hundred came at Centurion against a world-class South African bowling attack in 1997. But he was dismissed before Australia won the game and as such, this innings against Pakistan perhaps better defines his abilities as a finisher.
Chasing 182 for a win at Melbourne, Bevan walked in at 14/2 and remained unbeaten till the end, making 79* in 142 balls. Wickets tumbled at the other end and at 148/7, Australia seemed out of the game. With Andy Bichel for company, however, Bevan helped Australia cruise through.
102* vs New Zealand (Melbourne, 2002)
This particular knock is rated by Michael Bevan himself as his best-ever ODI knock. Set 246 to win against the Kiwis at Melbourne in 2002, Bevan walked in at 53 for four with Australia's top-order of Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting, Mark Waugh and Damien Martyn back in the hut.
Steve Waugh and Ian Harvey fell soon, as Australia was reduced to 82 for six. Bevan shared stands of 61 and 81 with Shane Warne and Brett Lee and remained unbeaten on 102 in 95 balls with seven fours to see Australia through to a stunning, unexpected win.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Sena Vidangama