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!
SACHIN TENDULKAR (INDIA)
The numbers: Matches: 463 | Runs: 18,426 | Average: 44.83 | SR: 86.23 | 100s: 49 | HS: 200no
#ODIGOAT voting: Taking on compatriot Rohit Sharma in round one, the Little Master produced yet another fine innings, collecting 89 per cent of the vote.
Why he makes the list: Because he's Sachin, and excluding 'The Little Master' from the top 64 ODI players of all time would be like discussing relativity without Einstein. Tendulkar took his first short, confident strides to the middle as a 16-year-old in 1989 and for the next 22 years or so it felt like he scarcely left the middle. Throughout, he retained his boyish appearance, exacerbated by his oversized pads and railway sleeper of a bat that he swung with a precision that matched his footwork. The right-hander was technically adroit, unerringly patient, wholeheartedly ruthless and perhaps more than anything, possessed an insatiable appetite for scoring runs. He did that better, and more regularly, than anyone to have played ODI cricket, as the 4000-plus gap he has on his nearest rival on the 'most ODI runs' list attests. He fell one short of 50 ODI centuries, but fittingly became the first man to score 200 in an ODI. His record-breaking, feted career was capped off with a World Cup triumph on home soil in 2011.
Performance we loved: The 1998 version of Tendulkar was perhaps the most devastating of all; the Little Master had found his place at the top of the batting order, had benefited from lessons learned through almost a decade on the international scene, but still retained a youthful exuberance. Two days before his 25th birthday he made a blistering 143 against Australia in Sharjah, hammering five sixes and nine fours in what was ultimately a losing run chase. He made up for the defeat two days later, when he celebrated his quarter-century with a repeat act, this time in the final. Chasing 273 to win, Tendulkar picked up where he'd left off 48 hours earlier, flaying an Australian attack that must have been sick of the sight of him for another 134 from 131 balls. Across two innings, Tendulkar had provided an unrestrained celebration of subcontinental batting, and proof positive that, when in the mood, no-one on the planet could match him.
MICHAEL BEVAN (AUSTRALIA)
The numbers: Matches: 232 | Runs: 6,912 | Average: 53.58 | SR: 74.16 | 100s: 6 | HS: 108no
#ODIGOAT voting: It was an all-Aussie showdown for Bevan in the round of 64 against Mike Hussey and he emerged on top by the slimmest of margins, claiming 51 per cent of the vote.
Why he makes the list: Before there was James Faulkner or Virat Kohli, before there was MS Dhoni or Mike Hussey or Lance Klusener … there was Michael Bevan. The original – and many argue still the best – 'Finisher', Bevan turned a run chase into an art form. Composed, classy and always confident, the left-hander's presence in the middle of a tense ODI eased the collective nerves of a nation. The key to his success was his ability to assess the situation and respond accordingly, usually with the perfect blend of sharply run ones and twos, and a perfectly-timed boundary to ease the pressure. His phenomenal ODI average is second only to AB de Villiers among Test-playing countries, and few players can have been as responsible for steering their sides to victory on so many occasions.
Performance we loved: There was no shortage of Bevo-inspired magical nights but we'll take the New Year's Day, 1996 SCG epic. Certainly among the most memorable nights of cricket in Australia's modern era, Bevan was the man to steer his country out of serious early trouble (chasing 173 in a rain-affected match against the Windies, the hosts slipped to 6-38), resurrecting the innings and setting his sights on victory. He found strong lower-order support and it all came down to the final ball – with four runs needed to win. Bevan was 74, facing Roger Harper, and he went straight, picking the gap down the ground and sealing history. Few realise it was just his second ODI half-century – he would go on to score another 44 in an incredible career.
#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