There have been plenty of players who have smashed a half-century on their ODI debut in the cricketing world. But how many have entertained the crowd along the way with their glorious shots and fast-paced innings? This article features a list of four players who faced the fewest balls to get to a half-century on their ODI debut.
Shorter formats and accelerated gameplay are the stereotypes of the modern era of cricket. A 20-ball or 30-ball half-century does not garner much attention these days. But if a debutant pulls off such a stunt, it becomes a topic of interest in any era. The cricketing world has been fortunate enough to witness such accelerated half-centuries by some of the most talented debutants over the years. Here are four such debutants who faced the fewest balls to reach their half-centuries on ODI debut:
#1 Krunal Pandya (26 balls), IND v ENG Pune 2021:
Continuing his form from the Vijay Hazare Trophy 2021, Krunal Pandya smashed a 26 ball half-century on his ODI debut to rescue India from a mini-collapse. After India lost the wickets of Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, and Hardik Pandya in quick succession, Krunal Pandya put up a crucial stand of 112*(57) with KL Rahul to guide India to a competitive total of 317.
Krunal kicked-off his innings in style by hitting three boundaries in Sam Curran’s over. He was smart enough to pick weak deliveries and send them past the boundary line. He didn’t try too much off smashing and played most of his shots on merit. Krunal and Rahul also played the field by guiding the balls in the empty areas for doubles. Krunal dedicated this unbeaten knock to his late father, who he lost recently.
#2 John Morris (35 balls), NZ v ENG Adelaide 1990:
John Morris scored an unbeaten 63 off 45 deliveries on his ODI debut in 1990 against New Zealand in the second match of the Benson & Hedges World Series. It was a rain-affected match which was reduced to 40 overs per side. New Zealand batted first and put 199 on board, setting a target of 200 for England.
England lost the match by seven runs but, John Morris became the fastest to score a half-century on ODI debut and shattered the ten-year-old record of Roland Butcher. He beat Butcher’s record by a ball by getting to his 50 off 35 balls. Morris held this record for more than 30 years until recently, when Krunal Pandya pulled it off in 26 deliveries against England.
#3 Roland Butcher (36 balls), ENG v AUS Birmingham 1980:
Roland Butcher, also recognized as the first black cricketer to play for England, used to be an attacking middle-order batsman. He played three ODIs and three tests for England between 1980 and 1981. Roland held the record of smashing the fastest half-century on debut for about ten years until John Morris beat him by one ball. Roland’s half-century on ODI debut was also the overall fastest ODI half-century of that time.
Roland made his ODI debut in 1980 against Australia in the second ODI at Birmingham. Butcher entered the field after England lost the wicket of Graham Gooch on 215 and scored a 36-ball half-century. He ended up with an individual score of 52 off 38 deliveries with five fours in this swift innings.
#4 Ben Hollioake (37 balls), AUS v ENG London 1997:
Ben Hollioake is the third English player on this list and the fourth fastest to reach an ODI half-century. Ben made his ODI debut in 1997 in the third ODI against Australia. The young all-rounder was aged just 19 when he was sent as a pinch hitter to face legendary Australian bowlers like Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne. Ben played fearlessly, hitting drives to McGrath and sweeps to Warne.
Ben Hollioake claimed his debut ODI half-century from just 37 balls. He went about his business for a few more balls before finally getting out on 63 to Jason Gillespie. This brilliant inning from Hollioake Jr. earned him lots of praise in media, as he was compared to a legend like Ian Botham. Unfortunately, Ben Hollioake died in a car accident at the young age of 24.