From the Sultan of Multan, a double century deluge that echoes through time.
On a balmy December day in 2011, cricket history witnessed a seismic shift as Virender Sehwag, the Sultan of Multan, etched his name in the annals of the game by becoming the second batsman to breach the elusive 200-run mark in one-day internationals (ODIs). The stage was set at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore, where Sehwag orchestrated a run-riot against the West Indies, propelling India to their highest-ever ODI team total.
India, leading the series 2-1, opted to bat after winning the toss. Sehwag, along with Gambhir, launched an onslaught that left the West Indies reeling. In a true Sehwag spectacle, the Nawab of Najafgarh blazed his way to a half-century in just 41 deliveries, showcasing his trademark aggressive style.
As the dust settled, Sehwag's blade carved a path of destruction, setting the stage for a record-breaking inning.
Sehwag's innings were not just about scoring runs; they were a masterclass in controlled aggression. The flamboyant opener mixed power with precision, unleashing an array of shots that had the crowd at the edge of their seats. His century, achieved in a mere 69 deliveries, was a testament to his ability to dominate the opposition with sheer audacity.
While Gambhir played the supporting role in their 176-run partnership, Sehwag's onslaught was relentless. The scoreboard was ticking rapidly, and the West Indies bowlers found themselves at the receiving end of a cricketing storm.
Sehwag's assault continued relentlessly, reaching the 150-run mark off 112 deliveries. What followed was sheer cricketing history—he hammered his way to the coveted double century in just 28 deliveries more. The milestone was achieved with a trademark Sehwag cut, mirroring the shot that had brought up his century earlier.
Two hundred nineteen runs off 149 deliveries, adorned with 25 boundaries and seven towering sixes. Sehwag's innings showcased his dominance, with 142 runs amassed solely through fours and sixes. This masterpiece remains the second-fastest 200-plus score in ODI cricket, with a staggering strike rate of 146.97.
Sehwag's fireworks propelled India to an imposing total of 418 for 5—a record for the team in ODI cricket. The West Indies, chasing a mammoth target, succumbed to the Indian bowling attack, managing only 265 runs. India emerged victorious by 153 runs, sealing the series with authority.
As the Holkar Cricket Stadium erupted in cheers, Sehwag had not only etched his name in the record books but also paved the way for India's triumph.
Virender Sehwag's legacy extends beyond this historic double century. His fearless approach and penchant for colossal scores made him a cricket icon. In a career spanning 251 ODIs and 104 Tests, Sehwag amassed 8273 and 8586 runs, respectively. His audacious style is encapsulated by the fact that eight times in ODIs, he flirted with the 200-run mark.
Sehwag's impact went beyond statistics; it was about changing the narrative of how opening batsmen approached limited-overs cricket. His ability to dictate terms from the very beginning of an innings revolutionised India's approach to ODIs.
As cricket aficionados revisit the events of December 8, 2011, the image of Virender Sehwag's blistering innings stands as a testament to his unparalleled skill and entertainment value. The Sultan of Multan had, once again, showcased his ability to seize the moment, leaving an indelible mark on the cricketing tapestry.
Beyond the statistics, Sehwag's innings on that fateful day symbolised the spirit of Indian cricket: fearless, aggressive, and always ready to rewrite the record books. The memory of his double century in Indore remains etched in the collective consciousness of cricket fans, a timeless reminder of a maestro in full flow on a historic day in Indian cricket.