Batting blitz stuns crowd, sets new ODI records
FRED WOODCOCK AND LOGAN SAVORY
Growing up hitting a cricket ball around his backyard in Christchurch and dreaming, as most young cricketers do, of playing for New Zealand, even the super-talented Corey Anderson surely couldn't have imagined this.
The 23-year-old's batting blitz in the third one-day cricket international against the West Indies in Queenstown yesterday not only stunned those watching at the ground and on television, it set a world record for the fastest century in history.
In a reduced 21 overs-per-side match, Anderson notched his first ODI ton, in his seventh match, in just 36 balls, which knocked off the world record set by Pakistan's Shahid Afridi in 1996.
Afridi held the record with 37 balls and with Anderson on 95 from 35 balls he needed to hit the 36th ball for six to put himself into the record books.
Anderson, who grew up in Canterbury and played all his formative years for the province but these days plies his trade domestically with Northern Districts, did just that, bringing the Queenstown crowd to their feet and full of voice as they marvelled at one of the finest displays of hitting seen in New Zealand.
Anderson finished 131 not out from 41 balls in an innings that included 14 sixes and six fours, as New Zealand won the match by 159 runs to level the five-match series at 1-1.
He was oblivious to his feats at the time, saying he wasn't exactly aware he had broken the record for the fastest century until he heard the ground announcement.
"I just thought it was a pretty quick hundred; I didn't realise that it was the fastest," he said.
"I came in looking for a few singles to get myself in but a couple came out of the middle and you just keep going."
It was a momentous day for Ryder, too. He brought up his century in 46 balls in just his second international match since his comeback to cricket, after being out of action for months with severe head injuries following an attack outside a Christchurch bar in early April.
Anderson said little was said between the pair, other than "shot bro" every time a ball sailed over the boundary.
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, himself a noted big hitter, was in awe of the onslaught.
"I don't know how many one-dayers there have ever been played – there's probably in excess of, I don't know, 3000 maybe – and ... that to me is the cleanest hitting I've ever seen at a ground."
FASTEST ODI CENTURIES
36 balls – Corey Anderson (New Zealand)
37 – Shahid Afridi (Pakistan)
44 – Mark Boucher (South Africa)
45 – Brian Lara (West Indies)
45 – Shahid Afridi (Pakistan)
46 - Jesse Ryder (New Zealand).
- The Press
Should the NZ selectors pick Jesse Ryder if he's available?