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, to 16, we are now into the quarter-finals. Next it will be the semi-finals, and ultimately our final. So cast your VOTE and decide just who is the greatest ODI player in history!
VIV RICHARDS (WEST INDIES)
The numbers: Matches: 187 | Runs: 6,721 | Average: 47.00 | SR: 90.20 | 100s: 11 | HS: 189no
#ODIGOAT Voting: Richards was a dominant winner in his round of 64 match-up against Sri Lanka champion Aravinda de Silva, claiming 75 per cent of the vote. He faced another Sri Lankan great in Mahela Jayawardena in the second round, and won just as convincingly, before easing past Pakistani legend Javed Miandad in the round of 16 with 57 per cent of the vote.
Why he makes the list: It was serendipitous that Viv Richards and ODI cricket came along at a similar time, because it feels like one was made for the other. The West Indies had only played two ODIs before Richards debuted in the format at the 1975 World Cup, and truth be told, he had an ordinary tournament, despite his famous three run-outs in the Windies' final triumph over Australia. It was in 1976 – Richards' record-breaking year in Test cricket – that he found his feet in the format, and never looked back. By the end of the decade, he'd set the benchmark for ODI batting, inspired by his own natural aggression to hit harder and score faster than anyone who'd come before him. A match-winning century in the 1979 final earned him a second World Cup trophy, while an unbeaten 153 from 130 balls against Australia at the MCG in'79 was another instant classic. In the 1980s, 'The Master Blaster' dominated, motoring along at a strike-rate of 90 while every other batsman tried – and failed – to keep up.
Performance we loved: The apogee in a wonderful career came in 1984 against England in Manchester when, with his side deep in trouble at 7-102, Richards launched an outrageous assault on the bowlers, blasting 189no in a total of 9-272 (the next best score was 26). For 13 years it stood as the highest score in ODI history, and to this day remains a contender for the best ODI knock there has been – suitably supplied by one of the best ODI batsmen of all.
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. He was then the winner of a one-sided clash with Pakistani Saeed Anwar, taking 93 per cent of votes, and emerged victorious over Aussie ODI legend Michael Bevan with 57 per cent of votes in the round of 16.
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.
#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