A century is a shimmering achievement for any batsman and when it comes on cricket's greatest stage - the World Cup - it is all the more delectable. But how do the centurions in the global event stand out? They etch their names in the record books by reaching the magical three-figure mark as quickly as possible. Oneindia Cricket pays tribute to the batting heroes that have come up with the fastest centuries at the World Cup.
Kevin O'Brien (50 balls): Ireland's Kevin O'Brien became the fastest World Cup centurion, playing England in the 2011 World Cup. Coming in at 111/5 and chasing a massive 327/8, O'Brien belted 13 boundaries and 6 sixes to bring his side within sight of victory. Ireland eventually won the match with 3 wickets and 5 balls to spare.
Matthew Hayden (66 balls):Matthew Hayden hit the fastest century in World Cup history against South Africa. Hayden raced to three figures off just 66 balls taking Australia to a score of 377/6. Australia won the game by 83 runs.
John Davison (67 balls): Canadian opener John Davison took the world by storm at the 2003 World Cup, shocking the West Indies with his ton that came off just 67 balls. Davison however, ended up on the losing side as the West Indies raced to a seven-wicket victory. Davison's whirlwind knock of 111 off 76 balls accounted for more than half of his side's total of 202.
Kapil Dev (72 balls): Kapil's epic 175 runs off 138 balls against Zimambwe in the 1983 World Cup came after India had slumped to 9/4 and 17/5. The then captain smashed 16 fours and 6 sixes in his innings as he completely swung around match. India rallied to win the match by 31 runs.
Adam Gilchrist (72 balls): Adam Gilchrist's 149-run innings, in the 2007 World Cup final against Sri Lanka contained 13 fours and eight sixes. It was the highest individual score in a final Gilchrist put on 172 for the first wicket with opener Matthew Hayden, another World Cup final record, to propel Australia to 281/4 from their 38 overs in the rain-reduced match.
Virender Sehwag (81 balls): Indian opener Virender Sehwag smashed an 81-ball hundred against minnows Bermuda at the 2007 edition. He finished with a score of 114 off 87 balls and helped India score the highest World Cup score of 414 at Port of Spain.The score was enough to help India coast to a 257 run win - the largest margin of victory in World Cup history.
Mahela Jayawardene (81 balls): Sri Lanka's prolific batsman Mahela Jayawardene equalled Virender Sehwag's record when he decimated the Canadian bowling in Sri Lanka's opening game of the 2011 World Cup, hitting 100 off 81 balls. His knock guided Sri Lanka to 332/7 and lifted the side to a 210-run win over Canada.
Clive Lloyd (82 balls): Signaling the initiation of the West Indies period of world domination, Clive Lloyd blasted 102 off 85 balls (12x4, 2x6) against Australia in the final of the 1975 World Cup. He also shared in a fourth wicket stand of 149 runs with Rohan Kanhai before departing. The West Indies posted a total of 291 runs in 60 overs to win the match by 17 runs.
Brian Lara (83 balls): The classy left-hander blazed his way to 111 off 94 balls (16x4) against the South Africans in the quarterfinal of the 1996 World Cup as the Windies compiled a total of 264/8m. The side from the Caribbean then restricted the Proteas to 245 all out, thus winning the match by 19 runs.
Sachin Tendulkar (84 balls): The Little Master powered his side to a mammoth score of 329 against Kenya in their 1999 World Cup match with an individual score of 140 off 114 balls (16x4, 3x6). He also shared in an unbroken 237-run stand with Rahul Dravid as India went on to win the match by 94 runs