Alistair Brown (left) and James Benning (right) scored 176 and 152 respectively in the carnage © Getty Images
Alistair Brown (left) and James Benning (right) scored 176 and 152 respectively in the carnage © Getty Images

On April 29, 2007 Surrey scored an absurd 496 for 4 in a South Conference Match in the Friends Provident Trophy against Gloucestershire. Abhishek Mukherjee looks back at the highest total ever in a List A match.

When Alex Gidman took his team to the field that fateful morning, not a single member of the Gloucestershire side thought what was in store for them. With an international bowler in Anthony Ireland and two seasoned professionals in Ashley Noffke (he would later go on to play for Australia) and Steve Kirby, they had a more-than-decent bowling line-up.

After Mark Butcher won the toss and elected to bat on a shirtfront wicket, out strode the dangerous Alistair Brown and the dependable James Benning. Brown had already broken Graeme Pollock’s record unbeaten 222 not out by a distance five years back, and his 160-ball 268 still remains the List A World Record. Benning, on the other hand, was not as absurdly destructive, but held a niche of his own, being a Surrey mainstay as an efficient batting all-rounder, especially in the shorter versions.

What followed in the next few overs can only be described by one word: carnage. Brown launched himself into the hapless Gloucestershire attack, and ripped the bowlers apart the way he had done in that match in 2002. Benning provided him with the perfect sangat, and the two made merry at The Oval.

Brown’s hundred came in 50 balls. Benning held his fort, allowing Brown to play his strokes in full flow. Despite not making it big at international level, Brown was a much feared name in the domestic circuit, and today he was in his mood. He brought up his 150 as well, and the dependable Benning reached his fifty soon afterwards.

The three main bowlers of Gloucestershire had been taken to the cleaners already, as were Ian Fisher and Mark Hardinges. Gidman brought on Marcus North to bowl his rather innocuous bowling — and it worked! Somehow, like a bolt out of the blue, North hit Brown’s stumps, just as he had been approaching yet another double-hundred. He eventually ended up scoring 176 from an astonishing 97 balls — with 20 fours and 8 sixes, which meant that 116 of the runs were scored in boundaries. In a BBC interview, Brown later confessed that the 268 had was on his mind by then, and also called the dismissal as a ‘missed opportunity’.

Though 294 for one was not really a score a fielding side celebrates at, Gidman and his men probably breathed a sigh of relief. It was far from over, though: Azhar Mahmood, whose lower-order slogs in the finishing overs had often given Pakistan that extra bit of advantage over their opponents, walked out — ahead of Butcher and the seasoned Mark Ramprakash.

Benning, meanwhile, took the centrestage now, with Mahmood for company. When Benning eventually fell for 152 off 134, he had hit 15 fours and four sixes. Brown later mentioned that Benning ‘paced it very well’, and never got carried away by the temptation to match Brown.

With the score on 365 for 2, Surrey looked all set to go past Sri Lanka’s world record List A score of 443 for 9 against Netherlands. The record on English soil — Surrey’s own 438 for 5 against Glamorgan (when Brown had smashed 268) — was under threat as well.

Out strode Rikki Clarke (Butcher still held back himself and Ramprakash), and the scoring rate — ridiculous as it may sound — accelerated. Mahmood fell for a 29-ball 35 (two fours, one six) just after 400 was up, and the dangerous Jonathan Batty joined Clarke. Both of them scored faster than even Brown, which was saying something. They added 68 runs in 14 minutes. No, you did not read that wrong. The scorers found it virtually impossible to keep up with the rate. Sri Lanka’s world record passed away almost unnoticed.

Batty was finally bowled by Kirby for a 10-ball 29 (1 four, 3 sixes), and Clarke finished off the 50 overs with Roy Hamilton-Brown for company. Clarke eventually scored an unbeaten 82 off just 28 balls with 9 fours and 6 sixes — which meant that a whopping 88 per cent of his runs were scored in boundaries.

Surrey finished with 496 for 4 in the allotted 50 overs – at 9.92 runs per over. There were 47 fours in the innings as well as 22 sixes — adding to 320, which was a good score on its own. The economy rates read: Noffke 8.90, Ireland 9.25, Kirby 9.10, Fisher 11.25, Hardinges 12.83, North 8.20, and Gidman 9.33: none of them went for below 8 runs an over.

Gloucestershire did not stand a chance. Trying their level best, and not minding to go down fighting, they were soon reduced to 65 for 5 by Mahmood and Mohammad Akram, and even a 400-run defeat did not look impossible. Mercifully, the Surrey change bowlers, Steve Magoffin and Hamilton-Brown, were a bit off-track, and Hardinges and Steve Adshead both scored fifties, adding 114 runs for the sixth wicket.

The rest fell in a heap as Noffke hit out and Chris Schofield picked out the tail, one by one, finishing with 7-0-38-3. Akram came back to polish off things, and finished with 6.1-1-36-4. Gloucestershire collapsed to 239 from 34.1 overs (they hit 24 fours and 7 sixes as well), and lost by 257 runs.

An elated Alan Butcher, Surrey manager and father of Mark, commented: “You won’t see too many matches like this in one-day cricket where a team racks up this many runs. Conditions were very good for batting but it was still an incredibly faultless display by the likes of Ali, James, and Rikki in particular.”

Brief scores:

Surrey 496 for 4 in 50 overs (Alistair Brown 176, James Benning 152, Rikki Clarke 82 not out) beat Gloucestershire 239 in 34.1 overs (Mark Hardinges 57, Steve Adshead 54; Mohammad Akram 4 for 36, Chris Schofield 3 for 38) by 257 runs.

(Abhishek Mukherjee is a cricket historian and Senior Cricket Writer at CricketCountry. He generally looks upon life as a journey involving two components – cricket and literature – though not as disjoint elements. A passionate follower of the history of the sport with an insatiable appetite for trivia and anecdotes, he has also a steady love affair with the incredible assortment of numbers that cricket has to offer. He also thinks he can bowl decent leg-breaks in street cricket, and blogs at He can be followed on Facebook at and on Twitter at