With the 2023 ODI World Cup in full swing, we look back at the highest individual scores in the tournament’s history. Martin Guptill’s 237* in 2015 holds the record, but who else makes the top 10?
The 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup was certainly one to remember, with a truly iconic final capping off proceedings in England.
It was the hosts who came out on top against New Zealand at Lord’s in July 2019, when Ben Stokes led them to glory in a Super Over that possibly represented the most dramatic moment in ODI World Cup history.
With the scores after both innings tied at 241, Stokes and Jos Buttler combined for 15 runs from England’s Super Over. James Neesham and Martin Guptill went in for the Black Caps. On the first ball he faced – but the final delivery of the over – Guptill was run out, with England triumphing thanks to their superior boundary count of 26 to 17.
Guptill was unable to get New Zealand over the line on that occasion, and it had been a similar story four years earlier, when the Black Caps fell to Australia in the 2015 final.
The New Zealand batsman might have failed to spark in the final, scoring just 15 runs, but he won the Golden Bat award by scoring the most runs overall.
But, who are the players that have scored the highest individual innings scores during an ODI World Cup match?
1. Martin Guptill (New Zealand, 2015 – 237*)
It’s that man again. Featuring right at the top of this list is New Zealand opener Guptill, who at 36 will not be part of the Black Caps’ plans this time around.
He was the star of the show in the 2015 World Cup – co-hosted by New Zealand – plundering 547 runs in total across nine innings, at an average of 68.37 and a strike rate of 104.58.
Guptill’s highest score – and the highest single-innings total of any player in the ODI World Cup so far – came against West Indies in the quarter-finals, when he turned on the style in Wellington with a sensational double century. His 237 not out marks the second-highest score on record in any 50-overs match, behind Rohit Sharma’s 264 for India against Sri Lanka in 2014.
Guptill was at the crease for going on four hours (223 minutes, to be exact), and he faced 163 deliveries. He lashed 11 sixes and struck 24 fours, propelling New Zealand to 393-6, with the Windies only able to muster 250 all out in response.
2. Chris Gayle (West Indies, 2015 – 215)
The 2015 tournament was a good one for batters, and West Indies star Chris Gayle etched his name into the record books with a superb 215 from 147 balls in a 73-run win over Zimbabwe, whose bowlers were simply no match.
Gayle – who also took two wickets with the ball – led the West Indies to 372-2, only succumbing with the very final ball of the innings, with Zimbabwe having dismissed fellow opener Dwayne Smith with just the second ball of the day.
It was some performance from the West Indian talisman, who thrashed 16 sixes and at the time held the record, though of course that was swiftly taken off him by Guptill just 25 days later.
Indeed, Gayle could only watch on from the field as the record was taken in front of his eyes, with the West Indies star helpless to prevent it, despite having been on hand to catch out both Kane Williamson and Corey Anderson.
3. Glenn Maxwell (Australia, 2023 – 201*)
There’s a strong argument that this knock from Glenn Maxwell is the greatest-ever ODI innings, not just in a Cricket World Cup. With Australia chasing 292 in the group stage of the 2023 World Cup, the impressive Afghanistan had reduced them to 91-7 in their chase. Victory looked all but assured.
But then Maxwell, ‘together’ with Pat Cummins – who was a spectator like the rest of us – put on a remarkable 202-run partnership to rescue the game. Maxwell, who smacked 21 fours and 10 sixes, brought up his double century with the final ball of the match as he became the first Australian male cricketer to hit 200+ in an ODI innings. His mammoth total came off just 128 balls and was made all the more heroic by the fact he was constantly battling against cramps and spasms.
The pair’s 202-run partnership for the eighth wicket is not only the highest in Australia’s ODI history, but overall as well, breaking the record of 138 between Andrew Hall and Justin Kemp.
4. Gary Kirsten (South Africa, 1996 – 188*)
For 19 years up until 2015, it was South African Gary Kirsten who held the record for the highest score at an ODI World Cup, with his unbeaten 188 against the UAE back in 1996.
South Africa cruised to 321-2 and went on to win by 169 runs in that match in Rawalpindi.
At the time, it was the Proteas’ highest ODI score of all time, while Kirsten’s tally – which came at a strike rate of 118.23 – was the second-highest knock in a 50-over game, too, behind Viv Richards’ then record of 189.
Kirsten – who would go on to coach India – always enjoyed playing on the sub-continent, with an average score of 53.85 in seven Tests in the region.
A measured and composed opener, Kirsten struck four sixes in this innings, which accounted for a fifth of the maximums he hit through his entire ODI career (185 matches). Interestingly, in 10 of his other 12 ODI centuries, Kirsten did not hit a single six, so this is an innings in which he really did let loose – relatively speaking.
5. Sourav Ganguly (India, 1999 – 183)
Three years after Kirsten set the then-record, Ganguly fell just short when he lashed 183 from 158 balls against Sri Lanka at Taunton in an innings that included 17 fours and a further seven sixes.
That knock marked Ganguly’s highest total in an ODI, and his stint at the crease only came to an end in the final over, when he was dismissed by Pramodya Wickramasinghe.
India went on to win the match by 157 runs, and although they made it out of the group stage, they failed to progress from the Super Six into the semi-finals.
6. Vivian Richards (West Indies, 1987 – 181)
The legendary Richards held the tournament record for nine years after his effort of 181 from 125 balls against Sri Lanka in Karachi in 1987.
The West Indian great Richards only scored a higher ODI total on one other occasion – 189 not out against England in Manchester in 1984.
Richards finished the tournament as the fourth-highest run scorer (381), though West Indies only played three matches, as they failed to make it out of the group stage.
7. David Warner (Australia, 2015 – 178)
It’s back to the future now after that trip down memory lane, as we return to the 2015 edition to look back at David Warner’s exceptional 178 against Afghanistan in Perth.
Warner needed just 133 deliveries to reach that tally, as he smashed 19 fours and added five maximums, with his score coming at a strike rate of 133.83.
That represents Warner’s second-best ODI total, after the 179 he managed against Pakistan in 2017.
8. Mitchell Marsh (Australia, 2023– 177*)
Mitchell Marsh smashed an unbeaten 177 as Australia comfortably chased down the 307-run target set by Bangladesh in their final group game in 2023. Taskin Ahmed had dismissed Travis Head early on but after that, Mitchell Marsh put on two massive stands with David Warner (120 partnership off 116 balls) and Steve Smith (175 off 135) to take Australia home.
Marsh finished on 177* off 132 balls, crunching 17 fours and nine sixes. It’s Marsh’s highest ODI score, as well as being the highest score by a No. 3 male batter for Australia. It is also the third-highest score for an Aussie in the Cricket World Cup.
T9. Kapil Dev (India, 1983 – 175*)
Long before Guptill and Kirsten, and even before Richards’ effort, India’s Kapil Dev set the ODI World Cup record with a fantastic 175 not out in a 31-run victory over Zimbabwe in 1983.
India’s captain, Kapil Dev finished as the fifth-highest run scorer in the tournament (303), as his side went on to triumph by overcoming a strong West Indies side in the final.
T9. Virender Sehwag (India, 2011 – 175)
The third Indian on this list, Virender Sehwag is tied with Kapil Dev in seventh place, having scored 175 against co-hosts Bangladesh in the 2011 World Cup.
Sehwag’s sublime effort actually came in the opening match of the tournament, and it was also the only time in that World Cup that the opener managed a century – indeed, he only scored over 50 on one other occasion during India’s run to the final, in which he was out for a duck, though India — in what was Sachin Tendulkar’s last World Cup — nevertheless overcame Sri Lanka.
11. Quinton de Kock (South Africa, 2023 – 174)
Quinton de Kock is the second South African player to make our top 10. The left-handed opener bludgeoned 174 off just 140 balls in South Africa’s fifth group-stage game at the 2023 World Cup against Bangladesh. His efforts, together with Heinrich Klaasen’s 49-ball 90, took South Africa to 382/5 from their 50 overs. Bangladesh could only muster 233 in reply.