Sam Ferris & Adam Burnett
Sam Ferris & Adam Burnett
The #ODIGOAT is cricket.com.au's knockout competition to determine who the fans think is the greatest ODI player of all time. We started with 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, to 32, we are now into the round of 16. Next it will be 8, 4 and ultimately our final. So cast your VOTE and decide just who is the greatest ODI player in history!
SHANE WARNE (AUSTRALIA)
The numbers: Matches: 194 | Wickets: 293 | Average: 25.73 | SR: 36.3 | Economy: 4.25 | BB: 5-33 | 5w: 1
#ODIGOAT Voting: Warne beat out fellow leg-spinner Anil Kumble in a landslide in the first round, taking 83 per cent of the vote to stroll through to the round of 32, before taking a 74-26 victory over Kapil Dev in the second round.
Why he makes the list: Mercurial, masterful and utterly memorable, Shane Warne's genius spread equally across five-day and 50-over cricket. While his Test record was built on volume, endurance and moments of magic, Warne's ODI career stands on big-match performances and rear-guard efforts. He rescued Australia from the brink of defeat in the 1996 World Cup semi-final against the West Indies with 4-36 in Chandigarh. Three years later it was in England, his home away from home, where the best of Warne surfaced. In the final, there was no stopping Warne or the Australians. Warne took 4-33, bamboozling, baffling and banishing Pakistan's batsmen as Australia romped to their second world title. Before Warne, a spinner's place in an ODI team was about containment. But the King of Spin was a deadly double: a wicket-taking phenomenon whose relentless accuracy dried up the runs in the middle overs.
Performance we loved: There's plenty to pick from, but it has to his 4-29 in the 1999 World Cup semi-final in Birmingham. The Proteas got off to a rollicking start in their pursuit of 214, before captain Steve Waugh called upon his ace spinner. Warne had been battling poor form and uncharacteristically low confidence, but the star bowler never shone brighter than when his team needed him most. With his eighth ball, Warne bowled Herschelle Gibbs with a delivery rivalling the 'Ball of the Century' – pitching outside leg, spinning sharply across the batsman to clip the top of off stump. Five balls later, Warne bowled Gary Kirsten through the gate with another booming leg-break. Both openers gone, Warne set his sights on Proteas skipper Hansie Cronje. Within two deliveries he had his man caught at first slip. With each wicket the Victorian bellowed "C'mon!" as his teammates mobbed him mid-pitch. He returned to remove supreme allrounder Jacques Kallis as Australia held their nerve to steal a tie and advance to the World Cup final.
MUTHIAH MURALIDARAN (SRI LANKA)
The numbers: Matches: 350 | Wickets: 534 | Average: 23.08 | SR: 35.2 | Economy: 3.93 | BB: 7-30 | 5w: 10
#ODIGOAT voting: Murali swept to victory against Aussie Brad Hogg in the round of 64, collecting 84 per cent of the vote, before edging out Shahid Afridi 51-49 in the second round.
Why he makes the list: Divisive, destructive and deceptive, Muthiah Muralidaran was an unassuming talking point in world cricket for a decade-and-a-half. Throughout that time, the mystery spinner from Kandy in the heart of Sri Lanka baffled the world's best batsman with his variations; the great Adam Gilchrist admitting as much recently when he said facing Murali made him feel like a child. Controversy centred upon his action – he was called for throwing in an ODI against England in Adelaide in the summer of 1998-99 and his captain, Arjuna Ranatunga, threatened to lead his team from the field. Law changes and legalities aside, Murali was a master of his craft, a spinner capable of unerring accuracy with an ability to turn the ball both ways with barely a change of action. It all resulted in the most wickets by one man in ODI cricket, a World Cup title in '96, and endless comparisons with Shane Warne as the greatest spinner of the modern era, perhaps ever.
Performance we loved: Sharjah, October 2000. Murali ran through India like the proverbial hot knife through butter, claiming 7-30 – then the single best figures in the history of ODIs. With 294 to defend, Murali went to work, removing Robin Singh for his 200th one-day wicket, then Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh and four more batsmen in a stunning rout that handed his side a 68-run win.
#ODIGOAT First Round
Tendulkar v Sharma | Akram v Starc | Garner v Donald | Richards v de Silva | Azharuddin v Miandad | Dev v Vettori | Lloyd v Border | Jones v Clarke | Waqar v Johnson | Warne v Kumble | Hooper v S. Waugh | Imran v Hadlee | Lee v Akhtar | M. Waugh v Jayasuriya | De Villiers v Boucher | Lara v Amla | Gilchrist v McCullum | Gayle v Haynes | McGrath v Pollock | Anwar v Ganguly | Sehwag v Greenidge | Ponting v Gibbs | Dhoni v Sangakkara | Inzamam v Kallis | Murali v Hogg | Bond v Ambrose | Malinga v Vaas | Kohli v Pietersen | Symonds v Klusener | Afridi v Saqlain | Bevan v Hussey | Dilshan v Jayawardena
#ODIGOAT Second Round
Shoaib v Waqar | Jayasuriya v S. Waugh | Ambrose v Vaas | Miandad v Lara | Warne v Dev | Border v Inzamam | Gilchrist v Sangakkara | Richards v Jaywardena | Wasim v Garner | Ponting v Clarke | McGrath v Imran | Tendulkar v Anwar | Bevan v Sehwag | Symonds v De Villiers | Muralidaran v Afridi | Kohli v Gayle
#ODIGOAT Third Round