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ODI GOAT: Shoaib v Waqar

23 April 2016

Adam Burnett & Sam Ferris


Adam Burnett & Sam Ferris


It's an all-Pakistan pace match-up to kick off our second round of voting with the Rawalpindi Express against Waqar

The #ODIGOAT is cricket.com.au's knockout competition to determine 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, we are now into the round of 32. Next it will be 16, 8, 4 and ultimately our final. So cast your VOTE and decide just who is the greatest ODI player in history!


SHOAIB AKHTAR (PAKISTAN)

The numbers: Matches: 163 | Wickets: 247 | Average: 24.97 | SR: 31.4 | Economy: 4.76 | BB: 6-16 | 5w: 6

WATCH: From the Vault: Shoaib sizzles at the Gabba

ODI GOAT voting: Shoaib triumphed in a battle of the quicks to beat Brett Lee in the first round, Shoaib picking up 55 per cent of the vote. 

Why he makes the list: Controversial and captivating, Shoaib Akhtar was always in the headlines for one reason or another. Among fast bowlers, he was arguably the quickest of the lot. While his action had its doubters, Shoaib delivered the fastest ball ever recorded with it – a 161.3kph thunderbolt to England's Nick Knight in the 2003 World Cup. He was Pakistan's third great quick after Imran Khan, joining legendary pair Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis to form perhaps the most lethal one-day bowling attack in history. As he grew older he became smarter, coupling his extraordinary speed with clever changes of pace. Like most quicks on this list, Shoaib possessed a deadly yorker, one which tailed into the right-hander and was almost impossible to defend when delivered perfectly. It's no surprise that of his 247 wickets, 111 were bowled or lbw.

Performance we loved: The 'Rawalpindi Express' was sometimes just too fast and too furious. On April 21, 2002, he was just that against New Zealand. With 275 runs behind him, Shoaib steamed in from what felt like the boundary rope to dismantle the Black Caps, taking a career-best 6-16 in Karachi. Starting with the wicket of captain Craig McMillan, Shoaib tore through the brittle batting order, bowling Jacob Oram, Andre Adams, Brooke Walker and Ian Butler as New Zealand lost 7-50 in 16 overs.


WAQAR YOUNIS (PAKISTAN)

The numbers: Matches: 262 | Wickets: 416 | Average: 23.84 | SR: 30.5 | Economy: 4.68 | BB: 7-36 | 5w: 13

WATCH: Waqar Younis sending stumps flying

ODI GOAT voting: Waqar sliced through the first round of voting like so many batsmen's defences, toppling Australian left-arm brute Mitchell Johnson with 76 per cent of the vote.

Why he makes the list: Top-order or tail, left-hand or right, no-one destroyed batsmen with the machine-like efficiency of Pakistan swing king Waqar Younis. Lightning fast and lethally accurate, Waqar ran through batting orders with the nonchalance of a child through a playground. Together with Wasim Akram, and under the tutelage of another swing sultan, Imran Khan, Waqar learned to make the ball talk – and sing, and dance – and employed his methods to devastating effect through his 14-year ODI career. The late inswinging yorker was his calling card, and the chief weapon in his world record 13 five-wicket hauls. Perhaps the only thing missing from the right-arm quick's resume is success at the World Cup; he missed Pakistan's 1992 triumph and was overlooked for their appearance in the 1999 final. 

Performance we loved: Just when batsman thought it was safe to wander back out to the crease, the 2001 model Waqar revisited his early 1990s pomp. The venues were the swing-friendly cities of Leeds and Nottingham. The victims England and Australia respectively. It was the first match though – a match in which victory was ultimately conceded to Pakistan amid troubling scenes of crowd violence – that Waqar really shone, removing England's top six and then taking another to leave the quick with 7-37, then the third-best figures in ODI history. Two days later, he took on world champs Australia and won, taking 6-59 to lead his side to a 36-run victory.

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