Watson blasted an unbeaten 185 off 96 balls, as Australia chased down a target of 230 with 24 overs and nine wickets to spare against Bangladesh in Dhaka yesterday.
His 15 sixes were the most by any player in an innings, as was his 150 runs in boundaries, which also included 15 fours. Watson's percentage of his team's score (79.7 per cent) of 1-232 was also the highest by any player in history, surpassing West Indian master blaster Viv Richards (69.48 per cent).
After posting his ton in 69 balls – the third-fastest by an Australian – he hit five more fours and nine more sixes, including four in succession off left-arm spinner Suhrawadi Shuvo.
The all-rounder said the motivation for his unprecedented hitting spree was simple.
"I got to a point where I got pretty tired, it was hot and humid out there so I didn't really want to have to run too much," he said.
That also explained why his spectacular display of brutality with the bat built to a crescendo – with four sixes and two fours in his last 10 balls faced.
"I was either going to try to hit as many sixes as I could, or get out, because I was pretty tired, that was as simple as it was," Watson said.
The last of his sixes took him past Matthew Hayden's previous Australian scoring record of 181 not out, and former captain Ricky Ponting hit the winning runs two balls later.
Watson's onslaught began immediately the innings started, hitting 53 of his 62-run opening stand with Brad Haddin (eight).
He then scored 132 of his 170-run unbroken partnership with Ponting (37 from 42 balls), who was happy to be completely overshadowed.
"It made my job easy, I just had to get a single to give him strike," Ponting said. "This was an amazing innings. Some of those sixes would have cleared any boundary in the world. It probably won't sink into us for a while how good that was."
Earlier, Mitchell Johnson took three wickets as Bangladesh made what seemed a competitive 7-229. Australia dropped out-of-form batsman Cameron White, replaced by Callum Ferguson, but it proved irrelevant as Watson's heroics meant Ferguson did not get to bat.
Australia lead the series 2-0, with the final game tomorrow.
Shane Watson's history-making stats:
• 185 not out from 96 balls: highest ODI score by an Australian.
• 15 sixes: the most by any player.
• 79.7 per cent of team score: the greatest by any player.
• 150 in boundaries (15 fours, 15 sixes): the most by any player.
• 69 balls to bring up century: the third-fastest by an Australian.