Muradnagar’s own Suresh Raina has called time on his cricket career today. While he has steadily slid into the shadows, the declaration confirms what we all knew was around the corner. It began to spiral with the IPL 2022 auctions. Unsold after 13 seasons of service, the snub left him visibly (and vocally) disappointed. A stalwart for the Uttar Pradesh side in domestic cricket and Chennai Super Kings in the IPL, the southpaw was a key middle-order batter in the Indian set-up, often combining with his close friend and ex-captain MS Dhoni to bring India home. We look back on his five most important (if not best) knocks in Indian colours. 

Also Read: Why Suresh Raina has retired from ‘all formats of cricket’

#1. 34* vs Australia, ICC World Cup 2011

At the old Motera, the hosts and defending champions clashed in a heavyweight quarter-final. Riding on Ricky Ponting’s painstakingly compiled 104, Australia posted 260 in their 50 overs. In response, India was coasting at 168/3 at one stage, but two quickfire wickets left them reeling at 187/5. Batting in tandem with the brilliant Yuvraj Singh, the duo smashed 74 runs in a little over ten overs to seal victory. Raina was at his blazing best, scoring 34 in just 28 balls. As the Aussies wilted under their combined assault, a potentially nerve-wracking chase turned into a celebratory affair.    

#2. 110* vs Zimbabwe, ICC World Cup 2015

Brendan Taylor’s scorching 138 (off 110 balls) had helped the Chevrons to a healthy 287 in their 50 overs. Virat Kohli’s dismissal left India struggling at 92/4. In walked MS Dhoni to join his CSK comrade at the crease. The next 26 overs were all smooth sailing for the Indians, as the duo scripted an unbeaten 196* run partnership. Raina pinched a hundred, playing with authority and calm. With 110* off 94 balls- which included 9 fours and 4 sixes- he helped India ease to a 6-wicket win. While not quite as iconic as Kapil Dev’s dashing 175 from 17/5 against the same opposition aeons ago, it continued a tradition of World Cup stardust against the African opposition. Dhoni’s 85* (off 76 balls) was no less crucial.  

#3. 89* vs England, 2nd ODI, 2006

A year into his debut, Raina first shone against England in a tight ODI at Faridabad. Yet to forge his reputation as a master of chases, he landed in the middle at 80/4. Soon it would be 92/5. Chasing 227 looked a far ask against the Flintoff-Anderson-Plunkett combine. Alongside Dhoni- the first of their many stands- Raina ate into the England total. The 118-run partnership brought India to the cusp of victory, eventually sealed with 6 balls to spare. 

#4. 100 vs England, 2nd ODI, 2014

Ah, the Cardiff classic! Raina and Dhoni combined yet again to drive India to victory. The former was at his brutal best, scything 100 off just 75 balls. Sixty-six of those runs came in boundaries- 12 fours and 3 sixes- as a packed Sophia Gardens revelled to a Raina tune. The visitors posted 304/6 before bowling England out for a paltry 161. 

Also Read: Asia Cup 2022: India seeks survival against Sri Lanka in must win Super 4 tie

#5. 101 vs South Africa, ICC T20 World Cup 2010

Against the fearsome pace attack of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Jacques Kallis, Raina reeled off a madcap 101 in 60 balls. In doing so, he became India’s first T20I centurion, a distinction he’ll carry to his deathbed and beyond. The matchwinning knock contained 9 fours and 5 sixes, treating spectators at the Beausejour Stadium (in Gros Islet) to a spectacular onslaught.