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ODI GOAT: McGrath v Pollock

16 April 2016

Two of the best opening bowlers of their time go head-to-head // Getty Images

Sam Ferris


@samuelfez

Sam Ferris


@samuelfez

Two accurate and prolific opening bowlers go head-to-head in this ODI GOAT clash

The #ODIGOAT is cricket.com.au's knockout competition to determine the greatest ODI player of all time. We've selected our top 64 ODI players and now we're asking YOU to do the hard work – that is, narrow it down to one. Set up in much the same way as a tennis tournament, each day you'll see head-to-head match-ups, with the winner of those progressing to the next round to square off with their next challenger. From 64, we'll go to 32, to 16, 8, 4 and ultimately our final. So cast your VOTE and decide just who is the greatest ODI player in history!

GLENN McGRATH (AUSTRALIA)

Matches: 250 | Wickets: 381 | Average: 22.02 | SR: 34 | Economy: 3.88 | BB: 7-15 | 5w: 7

Why he makes the list: From a scrawny kid bowling to a 44 gallon drum on the red soil of Narromine in the central west of New South Wales, Glenn McGrath grew up to conquer the world as Australia's most prolific paceman. It's often said the best plans are the simplest, and McGrath's no-nonsense assault on or just outside off-stump - along with the odd bouncer - reaped rewards unlike no other. His 50-over game was built on the same fundamentals as his five-day approach; targeting opening batsman with the new ball in search for an edge, before returning in the closing stages and targeting the stumps. Like most Australians of his era, World Cup cricket brought the best out of him. No player in the history of the quadrennial showpiece has taken more than the 71 wickets he claimed in his four appearances and three wins from 1996-2007. He finished his career as the 2007 World Cup player of the tournament, Australia's leading ODI wicket-taker, and a certified legend of the one-day game.

WATCH: Re-live some vintage McGrath

Performance we loved: Australia's 1999 World Cup campaign was on the rails when they faced the West Indies in Manchester. Needing to win - or as it turned out, not lose - seven matches in a row to lift the trophy, the second stop on the road to glory was the Windies at Old Trafford. A sedate start to the tournament from McGrath was forgotten when he ripped the heart of Brian Lara's men, taking 5-14 inside nine overs. It was vintage McGrath; he snared the edge of opener Sherwin Campbell and then trapped Jimmy Adams first ball with one that straightened down the line. But he saved the best for Lara. After tying the master batsman down, McGrath produced the perfect delivery to a left-hander – a ball that pitched on middle and leg, beat the bat and clipped the top of off-stump. The Windies were rolled for 110, Australia won by six wickets and the march to glory rolled on.

SHAUN POLLOCK (SOUTH AFRICA)

Matches: 303 | Wickets: 393 | Average: 24.50 | SR: 39.9 | Economy: 3.67 | BB: 6-35 | 5w: 5

Runs: 3,519 | Average: 26.45 | SR: 86.89 | 100s: 1 | HS: 130

Why he makes the list: While South Africa's express pacemen tried to blast out batsman at one end, Shaun Pollock quietly went about his business at the other, drying up runs, creating chances and taking bulk wickets. For a seam bowler with 393 ODI wickets, the most by a South African, his skills appeared underrated in the 50-over format. He could make the ball talk on almost any surface, whether it be through the air or off the deck each way. Pollock was always probing, wanting an edge or a gap between bat and pad to exploit. It's a testament to his abilities with the white ball that the right-armer dismissed Sachin Tendulkar, perhaps the best ODI batsman of all-time, a record nine times, along with fellow speedsters Chaminda Vaas and Brett Lee. His primary role was to take wickets, but on his day he was equally destructive with the bat, often chipping in with crucial runs down the order. 


Performance we loved: In perhaps the greatest ODI off all time, Pollock put South Africa in the box seat at the halfway stage of the 1999 World Cup semi-final against Australia at Edgbaston. On a day which would end in chaos and misery, it started tremendously positive when Pollock removed Mark Waugh for a duck in the first over. He returned to snap a 90-run stand between Steve Waugh and Michael Bevan by dismissing the Australian captain caught behind, before cleaning up Tom Moody and Shane Warne. Pollock finished the innings with the wicket of Bevan in the final over to restrict Australia to 213, a total that proved to be one too many for the Proteas. 

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About the Writer

@samuelfez

Sam Ferris is a Sydney-based journalist for cricket.com.au. He started in 2011 as a Big Bash League correspondent and continues to monitor the domestic scene and national sides closely.