The highest score ever hit in a World Cup final and the fastest World Cup final hundred of all time – Adam Gilchrist’s 149 against Sri Lanka is second on Wisden’s list of the ODI innings of the 2000s.

Adam Gilchrist 149 (104)

Australia v Sri Lanka, 2007 World Cup final
Kensington Oval, Bridgetown
April 28, 2007

Going into the 2007 World Cup final, Adam Gilchrist was not a man in form. In his first 10 games at the tournament, he had failed to reach 60, and his two most recent innings altogether had yielded just two runs. Although Gilchrist had played his part in Australia’s 1999 and 2003 World Cup wins, he had yet to register a World Cup hundred. At 35, that window of opportunity was closing.  

Gilchrist did have a habit, though, of saving his best till last. In both the 1999 and 2003 finals he’d hit tempo-setting half-centuries at better than a run a ball, performances that were ultimately overshadowed by the brilliance of his teammates – most notably, Shane Warne in 1999 and Ricky Ponting in 2003.

[breakout id=”0″][/breakout]

The story is now part of cricketing folklore. Attempting to arrest his slide in form, Gilchrist audaciously planted a squash ball in his left glove to force him to be more top-hand dominant at the crease – a tool he had used in training based off advice given by his coach in Perth, Bob Meuleman. With the squash ball implanted in his glove, Gilchrist scored the fastest World Cup final hundred of all time.

In a rain-affected 38-overs-a-side contest, Gilchrist was brutal from the get-go. He raced to 50 off 43 balls – his third better-than-a-run-a-ball half-century in a World Cup final – and from there, went through the gears to a level of hitting never seen before on such a stage, even eclipsing his skipper Ponting’s efforts four years prior.

Gilchrist proceeded to blast 99 off his final 61 balls to put the final practically out of reach of Sri Lanka before the halfway point of the game. Less than a year before his final international appearance, it was fitting that Gilchrist, a player who arguably had a greater impact than anyone else on how the game was played in the 2000s, produced such an innings in a match of such magnitude.