World Cup fastest hundreds: 12 blistering knocks

The mindset of batsmen has changed since the first World Cup in England in 1975. In an era of power-hitting, racking up quick-fire centuries have increasingly become the norm.

De Villiers scored the third-fastest century in World Cup history (off 52 balls) and finished with 162 off 66 balls riding on 17 fours and 8 sixes.   -  getty images

The mindset of batsmen has changed since the first World Cup in England in 1975. Shorter grounds, flatter pitches, wider blades and fielding restrictions have ushered in an era of power-hitting where amassing targets in excess of 400 and racking up quick-fire centuries have increasingly become the norm.

We take a look at the fastest centuries in the history of the World Cup, revisiting those breathtaking knocks in detail.

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FASTEST HUNDREDS IN WORLD CUP

off 50 balls

KJ O’Brien (113)

Ire v Eng

Bangalore

2011

off 51 balls

GJ Maxwell (102)

Aus v SL

Sydney

2015

off 52 balls

AB de Villiers (162*)

SA v WI

Sydney

2015

off 57 balls

Eoin Morgan (148)

Eng v Afg

Manchester

2019

off 66 balls

ML Hayden (101)

Aus v SA

Basseterre

2007

off 67 balls 

JM Davison (111)     

Can v WI  

Centurion     

2003

off 70 balls

PR Stirling (101)

Ire v Net

Kolkata

2011

off 70 balls

KC Sangakkara (117*)

SL v Eng

Wellington

2015

off 72 balls

AC Gilchrist (149)

Aus v SL

Bridgetown

2007

off 73 balls

KC Sangakkara (105*)

SL v Ban

Melbourne

2015

off 79 balls

Shaiman Anwar (106)

UAE v Ire

Brisbane

2015

off 79 balls

BRM Taylor (121)

Zim v Ire

Hobart

2015

 

-RAJNEESH GUPTA

Kevin O’Brien 113 off 63 balls, Ireland vs England, 2011 World Cup Group B, M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore

Kevin O’Brien walked out to bat with Ireland four down for 106, chasing 328, and put on an exhibition of power hitting. O’Brien slammed the fastest century in World Cup history (off 50 balls) and was dismissed for a 63-ball 113, paving the way for a three-wicket win. His blitzkrieg innings was studded with six sixes and 13 fours.

Glenn Maxwell 102 off 52 balls, Australia vs Sri Lanka, 2015 World Cup Group A, Sydney Cricket Ground

Four years later, at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Maxwell racked up the second-fastest century, powering Australia into the quarterfinals with a 64-run win over Sri Lanka. The Victorian batsman’s innings was the springboard to Australia finishing on 376. The last 18 overs produced 200 runs, 102 of which came off Maxwell’s willow. He hammered 10 fours and four sixes in a man-of-the-match winning knock.

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AB de Villiers 162 (n.o) off 66 balls, South Africa vs West Indies, 2015 World Cup Group B, Sydney Cricket Ground

De Villiers gave a masterclass on 360-degree batting. The flamboyant right-hander scored the third-fastest century in World Cup history (off 52 balls) and finished with 162 off 66 balls riding on 17 fours and 8 sixes. It was a typical de Villiers knock, with him peppering the regions behind square on the onside and offside with nonchalant sweeps and reverse sweeps for sixes off the likes of Jason Holder. On occasions, he held his shape to deposit anything full and on off-stump over long-on and long-off.

Matthew Hayden 101 off 68 balls, Australia vs South Africa, 2007 World Cup Group A, Warner Park, St Kitts

Eight years earlier, Australia’s Matthew Hayden had recorded what was at the time the fastest World Cup century, bringing up the landmark off 66 balls against a South African bowling attack comprising Shaun Pollock, Makhaya Ntini, Jacques Kallis, among others. Hayden’s first fifty came off 36 balls and the second off 30. He brought up his century with a six off South African captain Graeme Smith. 

Canada’s John Davison held the record for the fastest century in World Cup history when he made a hundred off 67 balls against the West Indies at SuperSport Park in Centurion in 2003.   -  getty images

 

John Davison 111 off 76 balls, Canada vs West Indies, 2003 World Cup Group B, SuperSport Park, Centurion

Canada’s John Davison held the record for the fastest century in World Cup history when he made a hundred off 67 balls against the West Indies at SuperSport Park in Centurion in 2003. He finished with 111 off 76 balls, including eight fours and six sixes.

Paul Stirling 101 off 72 balls, Ireland vs Netherlands, 2011 World Cup Group B, Eden Gardens, Kolkata

Paul Stirling’s match-winning century against the Netherlands in a Group B match at the 2011 World Cup, gave the Irish cricket supporters another day to remember. In doing so, Stirling became the youngest centurion at a Cricket World Cup and recorded what was at the time the fourth-fastest (off 70 balls) in the tournament’s history. With Ireland chasing another 300-plus score (after it had successfully chased down 328 set by England earlier in the tournament), Stirling made a 72-ball 101 to put Ireland in a strong position in pursuit of 307. He shared a 177-run stand with captain William Porterfield for the first wicket and laid the foundation for the middle-order batsmen to go on and complete the job. Ireland won by six wickets and with 14 balls to spare.

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Kumar Sangakkara 117 (n.o) off 86 balls, Sri Lanka vs England, 2015 World Cup Group A, Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara scored four consecutive centuries in the 2015 World Cup and one of those was the fastest century of his ODI career and the joint-fifth-fastest in World Cup history. It came against England at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington, where Sri Lanka was chasing 310 for victory. The wicketkeeper-batsman made the most of the English bowlers' failure to hit the right lengths by collecting runs square of the wicket on either side. He brought up his century off 70 balls and finished unbeaten on 117 off 86 balls, with 11 fours and 2 sixes. Sri Lanka coasted home with 16 balls to spare.

Kumar Sangakkara 105 (n.o) off 76 balls, Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh, 2015 World Cup Group A, Melbourne Cricket Ground

Prior to his 86-ball 117 against England, Kumar Sangakkara had made a 76-ball 105 to help Sri Lanka post a huge score batting first against Bangladesh at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. He brought up his century off 73 balls and, on this occasion, shared a 210-run unbeaten partnership with Tillakaratne Dilshan for the second wicket. Sangakkara got his runs at a strike rate of 138.15, with Sri Lanka going on to win the match by 92 runs.

Adam Gilchrist 149 off 104 balls, Australia vs Sri Lanka, 2007 World Cup final, Kensington Oval, Barbados

Adam Gilchrist’s innings of 149 off 104 balls in the 2007 World Cup final was peppered with 13 fours and 8 sixes.   -  getty images

 

Adam Gilchrist’s innings of 149 off 104 balls in the 2007 World Cup final was peppered with 13 fours and 8 sixes, 100 of Gilchrist’s runs came in boundaries and, except Lasith Malinga, the Sri Lanka bowling attack had one of those afternoons when it didn’t matter what they tried, Gilly was always a step ahead. Gilchrist was eventually dismissed but not before he had made almost two-thirds of the team’s runs (215).

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Shaiman Anwar 106 off 83 balls, UAE vs Ireland, 2015 World Cup Group B, Gabba, Brisbane

Shaiman Anwar became the first UAE cricketer to score a century in the World Cup, and the second in One-Day International overall, when he hit an 83-ball 106 against Ireland. He reached the landmark in 79 balls; his is the joint-10th-fastest century in the history of the World Cup. Anwar’s century helped UAE post 278 for nine at the Gabba in Brisbane after the Ireland captain William Porterfield had won the toss and chosen to field first. It was an innings that came in a losing cause, though, with quickfire half-centuries from Gary Wilson and Kevin O’Brien dragging Ireland past the finish line with four balls to spare.

Brendan Taylor 121 off 91 balls, Zimbabwe vs Ireland, 2015 World Cup Group B, Blundstone Arena, Hobart

Brendan Taylor’s century against Ireland was one of two he made in the quadrennial tournament and he, unfortunately, finished on the losing side on both occasions (the other was against India in another Group B match in Auckland). Here, with Zimbabwe chasing 332 for victory, Taylor brought up his century off 79 balls and, after his team had been reduced to four for 74, kept it in the hunt with a 149-run fifth-wicket partnership with Sean Williams (who himself made 96 off 83 balls). He fell for 121 and Zimbabwe, despite Williams’ effort, fell short by six runs.