Highest individual score in ODI World Cups: The all-time list

A typical ICC World Cup match is never complete without a high-quality batting innings. Over the years spanning several World Cup editions, fans have witnessed some swashbuckling batting performances. As the Cricket World Cup nears in India this October, we look at who has the highest individual score in ODI World Cups, counting down from ten to one.

Highest individual score in ODI World Cups: The all-time list

Although cricket may be seen as a collective sport with everyone required to chip in, some individuals go on a rampage and single handedly steal the show with the brutal exhibition of their batting exploits. Let’s find out the top 10 players that have done this over the history of the World Cup, with the highest individual scores in ODI World Cups.  

10. Glenn Turner, New Zealand (171 runs)

Glenn Turner made himself a household name throughout the cricket world by dedicating himself to cricket from an early age and making the best possible use of his considerable natural ability. Almost frail-looking, pale-faced, and serious-minded, Turner was an immaculately straight-playing opener, who defended with a solidity of technique few contemporaries matched. 

Turner played the innings of his life during the inaugural World Cup edition in 1975. New Zealand was playing their first World Cup match against the then East Africa team. Turner scored an unbeaten 171 (200) in the span of a little more than three hours which comprised 16 fours and two sixes, and was the batsman’s highest individual score in ODI World Cups. His powerful innings helped New Zealand gain a comfortable victory over East Africa by a whopping margin of 181 runs.    

9. Craig Wishart, Zimbabwe (172* runs)

Craig Wishart was a capable top-order batsman and an attacking stroke player who took a while to do justice to his talent. Although he was constantly going in and out of the national side, Wishart was able to overcome all his adversaries and go on to become one of the finest run scorers for Zimbabwe. 

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Before calling time on his international cricket career, Wishart made his final World Cup appearance in 2003 where he bashed an inexperienced Namibian side with a record-breaking score of 172* (151). He spent almost 190 minutes at the crease and scored at a scintillating strike rate of 113.9 which included 18 fours and three sixes.  

8. Virender Sehwag, India (175 runs)

Highest individual score in ODI World Cups

Sehwag was the man who turned out to be the nemesis for several bowling oppositions throughout his 15-year-long international career. The former top-order Indian batsman went on to construct an extraordinary career with a relentless quest and a genius for boundary-hitting. 

With minimal footwork but maximum intent, Sehwag has piled enormous runs at a faster pace than anyone in the history of cricket. The Indian opener had a keen grasp of his own abilities and his opponent's strengths and weaknesses, exploiting them in a forensic manner. Few batsmen have hit the ball harder square on the off side, and fewer still have hit them as frequently. 

Sehwag played the knock of his life during his final World Cup appearance in 2011 at Mirpur where he smashed his way to a breathtaking 175 off 140 balls taking Bangladeshi bowlers to the cleaners. He scored at an explosive strike rate of 126 which featured 14 fours and five sixes. India went on to win the game quite comfortably in the end courtesy of Sehwag’s magnificent knock, which was his highest individual score in ODI World Cups.

7. Kapil Dev, India (175* runs)

Kapil Dev

Hailed by many for his commendable bowling achievements, the former Indian bowling all-rounder was a gifted batsman too. Kapil was a powerful stroke player who had the ability to use his long levers to good effect. He played some exquisite innings as a middle and lower order batter which bailed India out of trouble on numerous occasions. 

Dev’s greatest feats were leading India almost jauntily and by his all-round example to the 1983 World Cup victory against the eighty West Indies. During this World Cup edition, Kapil played an innings that no one would have dreamt even in their wildest dreams. During a league-stage match against Zimbabwe, India were reduced to 17-5 and a shambolic collapse was most certainly on the cards. 

However, Kapil had other plans as he went on the counter-offensive and scored his highest ODI World Cup knock of 175* (138). He brutally annihilated the Zimbabwe bowling attack by smashing 16 fours and six sixes as India went on to register an emphatic 31-run victory.  

Read also: ICC World Cup winners list: 1975 to 2023    

6. David Warner, Australia (178 runs)

Highest individual score in ODI World Cups

David Warner is a highly versatile top-order batsman who can not only play some delightful shots but is also quite athletic while running between the wickets. Representing Australia across all three formats, Warner amassed a lot of runs and soared to some scintillating batting milestones in his international career. 

Warner saved his best for the 2015 World Cup and made some significant contributions with the bat which propelled Australia to 5th World Cup title. During this World Cup edition, Warner played a sensational innings of 178 (133) at an astronomical strike rate of 133.3 which featured 19 fours and five sixes. His knock, the sixth highest individual score in ODI World Cups, helped Australia derail Afghanistan by a mammoth 275 runs.     

5. Viv Richards, West Indies (181 runs)

Viv was the most fearless and audacious batsman of his era whose presence would simply make the bowlers tremble in fear. His power was awesome, he hooked devastatingly and never wore a helmet, rocking back from his front-foot base to take the ball from his eyeline in front of square. 

Richards would tear into any bowling attack on any given day, seemingly as he desired. His strengths were on the front foot. The big-hitter could get so far forward that he was able to plant that left foot outside the line of off stump, taking lbw out of the equation which created his own imaginary leg stump line from where he would flick bowlers relentlessly through midwicket. 

The crowd became witness to one such brutal innings in the 1987 World Cup where Viv played a monstrous innings of 181 in 125 balls at a scintillating strike rate of 144 which involved 16 fours and six sixes. His innings was so brutal that Sri Lanka fell almost 200 runs short while chasing the target set by West Indies in the second innings.   

Read also: Most runs in ODI World Cups: The all-time list

4. Sourav Ganguly, India (183 runs)

The tall left-handed opening batter from India has achieved a number of milestones to his name while he simultaneously worked on his game to evolve as a charismatic leader. Although his career was never without drama, he has been in the middle of some uneasy controversies which threatened to prematurely end his international career. 

However, Ganguly remained defiant amidst all the chaos and went on to become one of the finest batsmen ever to have been produced by India. During the 1999 World Cup match against Sri Lanka at Taunton, Ganguly unleashed his wrath and notched up a match-winning innings of 183 in 158 balls which brought the resurgent Lankan side down on their knees, and was the fourth highest individual score in ODI World Cups.  

3. Gary Kirsten, South Africa (188* runs)

Gary Kirsten was never blessed with the flair and the pure technique of his half-brother Peter, but his discipline, temperament, and his penchant for hard work stood out during his days as South Africa's opener. As a batter, he had the determination, the ability to concentrate for long periods, and a burning desire to score runs. Calm and level-headed, he brought a healthy degree of common sense to the art of batting. 

Read also: Most sixes in ODI World Cups: The all-time list

Periodically, Kirsten endured patches when he persistently got out in a similar fashion, but he worked through the problem and made several adjustments to his technique. He played a devastating innings of 188* (159) against a paltry UAE side back in the 1996 World Cup edition. The batsman scored effortlessly around the park at a remarkable strike rate of 118.23 which eventually powered South Africa to a gigantic 169-run victory.

2. Chris Gayle, West Indies (215 runs)

Highest individual score in ODI World Cups

Speaking of extraordinary batting records, “The Universe Boss”, Chris Gayle, is never far away from making headlines. Gayle has a jovial and charismatic character and was equipped with some serious batting talent. He only knew one way to score and that was primarily in the form of boundaries. 

The moment Gayle got his eye in and settled into his rhythm–which could take some time–it would be game over for the opposition team. He currently holds the record for the most number of sixes in ODI and T20I World Cup which is still unbeaten to this date. 

In addition, Gayle also holds the record for having the second highest individual score in ODI World Cups. The West Indian plundered 215 runs, which he achieved in the 2015 World Cup against Zimbabwe which included 10 fours and a whopping 16 sixes.

1. Martin Guptill, New Zealand (237* runs) 

Martin Guptill Highest individual score in ODI World Cups

Martin Guptill holds the record for the highest individual score in ODI World Cups. He managed to bag this unique feat by surpassing Gayle’s record of 215 which he previously set during the ongoing edition of the 2015 World Cup. 

As a right-handed opening batsman, Guptill has consistently been among the runs in ODIs. Guptill showed he had it in him to dominate all formats, winning the Richard Hadlee Medal in 2011-12 along with being named ODI and T20 player of the year at the New Zealand Cricket Awards. 

Guptill played the knock of his life against the West Indies in the 2015 World Cup quarter-final where he smashed his way to a jaw-dropping 237*(163) at an unbelievable strike rate of 145.39. Following his scintillating batting performance, Guptill once again earned the ODI and T20 Player of the Year awards for 2015.  

Unless New Zealand call for the services of an aging Martin Guptill once more at this World Cup, then the list of the top 10 highest individual scores in ODI World Cups will have no active players on it this year. Can one of the stars of the 2023 Cricket World Cup smash their way onto it? Will Shubman Gill surpass one of these legends and make the highest individual score in ODI World Cups, or is this a list that cannot be broken? Tune in this October to find out.

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Bren Gray

Bren Gray

Bren is our resident Kiwi, and has been playing or watching sports down under in New Zealand for the better part of three decades. With 12+ years' experience as a professional writer, Bren loves to dive deep into all things cricket to bring the best betting analysis, predictions and news here at CricNerds.com.