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ODI GOAT: Lara v Amla

14 April 2016

Brian Lara and Hashim Amla - two of ODI cricket's most fluent batsmen // Getty

Adam Burnett


@AdamBurnett09

Adam Burnett


@AdamBurnett09

The Prince of Trinidad takes on Proteas royalty - who gets your vote?

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!

BRIAN LARA (WEST INDIES)

The numbers: Matches: 299 | Runs: 10,405 | Average: 40.48 | SR: 79.51 | 100s: 19 | HS: 169

WATCH: The brilliant Brian Lara

Why he makes the list: Any batting list comparing the best there has been wouldn't be complete without the Prince of Trinidad, Brian Charles Lara. Emerging onto the scene in the early 1990s at the tail end of a legendary West Indian era, Lara flew the flag for the Caribbean side in his own inimitable fashion. Occasionally there was controversy, often rumblings of internal discontent, but to cricket lovers worldwide, it did little to dull the manner in which the little left-handed genius illuminated the sport whenever he strode to the middle. The intense focus, the instinctive crouch, the full flourish of the bat, and the glorious, flowing follow through. It was a recipe that captivated ODI audiences for the best part of 17 years and produced 19 hundreds, though as was the case for much of his career, Lara's individual brilliance during a difficult era for the Windies failed to translate into team success in the five World Cups he played.

Performance we loved: World Cup '96. The Windies had just been beaten by Kenya, the latest evidence that their once mighty empire was in irrevocable decline. A quarter-final against tournament favourites South Africa appeared a merciful means of exit for Richie Richardson's side, but Lara, typically, rose to the occasion. On a turning track in Karachi, the Proteas opted for the spin of Paul Adams over the pace of Allan Donald. It was a gamble that discounted the fleet-footed Lara, who proceeded to blaze 16 fours in a sublime 111 from 94 balls. The innings put the Windies through to a World Cup semi-final, which remains their most recent appearance in the tournament's final four.

HASHIM AMLA (SOUTH AFRICA)

The numbers: Matches: 131 | Runs: 6,204 | Average: 52.13 | SR: 89.06 | 100s: 22 | HS: 159

WATCH: Amla makes a century against Australia

Why he makes the list: Just as Virat Kohli adds his name again and again to the record books for his remarkable run-scoring exploits, South Africa's unassuming master Hashim Amla comes along and erases the Indian from top spot. Amla might have only played 131 ODIs but his numbers already stand up against the best there has been. Over the past five years, the elegant right-hander has made a habit of stepping over every batting giant you can name and implanting himself atop the lists of Fastest to 2000 ODI runs … 3000 ODI runs … 4000 ODI runs … you get the picture. Last October, he scored his 6000th ODI run in his 123rd innings – 13 knocks fewer than Kohli, the previous record holder. The silent partner alongside AB de Villiers in one of ODI cricket's most potent combinations (they've scored 2,851 runs in partnership at an astonishing average of 81.45), Amla's stroke-play is indicative of his Indian ancestry, with his ability to whip the ball through gaps in the leg-side field a particular joy. Due to his patience and his method of accumulating rather than blasting runs, he's often seen as a slower scorer, yet among the 50 batsmen with 6000-plus ODI runs, he is 10th in terms of strike-rate. His average meanwhile, puts him third behind de Villiers and Michael Bevan among players from Test-playing nations.

Performance we loved: On a pitch that wasn't suited to classic strokeplay, Amla stood head and shoulders above his teammates and England's batsmen with a fabulous 150 from 124 balls in Southampton in 2012. On a day when no other player could muster more than 52, Amla's quality shone through, the silky smooth South African playing shots all around the wicket to forge a match-winning contribution. It was made all the more special by the context; with that victory, the Proteas became the first nation to be ranked No.1 in all three formats.   

#ODIGOAT First Round: Tendulkar v Sharma

#ODIGOAT First Round: Akram v Starc

#ODIGOAT First Round: Garner v Donald

#ODIGOAT First Round: Richards v de Silva

#ODIGOAT First Round: Azharuddin v Miandad

#ODIGOAT First Round: Dev v Vettori

#ODIGOAT First Round: Lloyd v Border

#ODIGOAT First Round: Jones v Clarke

#ODIGOAT First Round: Waqar v Johnson

#ODIGOAT First Round: Warne v Kumble

#ODIGOAT First Round: Hooper v S. Waugh

#ODIGOAT First Round: Imran v Hadlee

#ODIGOAT First Round: Lee v Akhtar

#ODIGOAT First Round: M. Waugh v Jayasuriya

About the Writer

@AdamBurnett09
Adam Burnett is senior news editor of bigbash.com.au. He previously wrote for and edited at Inside Cricket magazine and The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia and The Telegraph and The Guardian in the UK.