Be it scoring quick runs in the death, bowling handy overs or taking breathtaking catches to change the course of the match, Suresh Raina is up for any task. Indian cricketer is celebrating his 33rd birthday on Wednesday. Born on November 27, 1986, the southpaw is a well-known personality in Indian cricket and has guided the nation to numerous victories single-handedly. The cool-as-cucumber cricketer can attack bowlers from the outset and his inside-out shot is a sheer treat to the eyes. Composure is Raina's biggest strength, which allows him to play quickfire but calculated cameos. In fact, he's the first Indian batsmen to score a century in all three formats of the game. Happy Birthday Suresh Raina: 7 Interesting Things to Know About The World Cup Winning Southpaw.
July 30, 2005, was the date when Raina made his international debut and the batsman isn't done yet. To date, the veteran has represented India in 226 ODIs, in which he has amassed 5615 runs. In T20Is, Raina has 1604 runs from 78 matches. The southpaw also has 768 runs in 18 Tests. Along with that, Ghaziabad-born lad has a prolific record in the Indian Premier League (IPL) where he plays for Chennai Super Kings (CSK). Talking about his skills with the bat, let's look at five of the best knocks played by the star batsman. Suresh Raina Birthday Special: Times When Raina Defied Gravity and Took Spectacular Catches (Watch Video).
87 Against Kings XI Punjab in Mumbai
This innings has to go down one of the best efforts in a losing cause. Chasing a total of 227 in the second Qualifier of IPL 2014, Raina came into bat at number three and unleashed his carnage. He smashed fours and sixes all over the ground to bring up a scintillating fifty. He didn't stop after reaching the landmark and cruised to 87 off just 25 deliveries. However, his innings came to an unfortunate end due to a run-out. The rest of the CSK batsmen couldn't capitalise on the start and faced a 24-run defeat.
101 Against South Africa in Gros Islet
The India vs South Africa clash in the 2010 T20 World Cup saw India's first centurion in T20Is. Batting first, Raina came into bat after opener Murali Vijay bagged a golden duck. The early blow, however, didn't affect Raina much as he attacked the bowlers from the outset. He smashed the likes of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel to register a magnificent ton. Raina's mayhem helped India post 186 runs in the first innings which proved to be fruitful as Men in Blue won the match by 14 runs.
65* Against Sri Lanka in Colombo
Another Raina special was witnessed in the third ODI of India's 2012 Tour of Sri Lanka. While chasing a total of 288 in the second innings, the Men in Blue were reduced to 196/5 and Raina was on the crease. Wickets were less and the run-rate was increasing. However, the southpaw played a calculated innings and brought the visitors back into the match. Batting with Irfan Pathan, the dasher rotated the strike well and also found the boundaries on occasions. His knock of 65 off 45 didn't go in vain as India won the match by five wickets.
100* Against England in Cardiff
Raina was at his prime in the second ODI of India's 2014 Tour of England. The left-handed batsman came to bat at number five and went after the bowlers from the word go. English conditions didn't bother him at all as he boosted India's run-rate in a jiffy. Raina went on to register a ton of mere 74 deliveries, which powered the visitors to 288 in the first innings. In reply, the hosts never looked in the contest and lost the match by 133 runs.
104* Against Zimbabwe in Auckland
India's winning streak in the 2015 World Cup might have ended if Raina wouldn't have showcased his masterclass. Chasing 288 for victory, the Men in Blue were tottering at 4/92. With the likes of Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli back in the hut, all responsibilities were on the southpaw and skipper MS Dhoni. The duo rose to the occasion didn't just bring the innings back on track but also kept the required run-rate in control. In the process, Raina completed his fifth ODI ton with nine boundaries and four maximums. His innings proved vital as the Men in Blue won the match by six wickets.
The star batsman might not be around for the Indian team in the current scenario, he is far from done. Raina will be roaring to make a comeback in the Indian team. The southpaw has expressed his desire to bat at number four in T20 World Cup 2020 and a good outing in the next edition of IPL could well earn him that slot.