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ODI GOAT: Warne vs Kumble

11 April 2016

Shane Warne Anil Kumble

Shane Warne and Anil Kumble - two men who made leg-spin fashionable again // Getty

Australia's King of Spin takes on India's greatest ODI wicket-taker in this all leggies match-up

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!

SHANE WARNE (AUSTRALIA)

The numbers: Matches: 194 | Wickets: 293 | Average: 25.73 | SR: 36.3 | Economy: 4.25 | BB: 5-33 | 5w: 1

WATCH: The best of Warnie, Volume 1

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.

ANIL KUMBLE (INDIA)

The numbers: Matches: 271 | Wickets: 337 | Average: 30.89 | SR: 43 | Economy: 4.3 | BB: 6-12 | 5w: 2

Why he makes the list: Bowling at high speed with subtle variation, Anil Kumble was a one-day spinner ahead of his time. Kumble didn't have to contend with the enormous bats, shrinking ground sizes and extra Powerplay overs his modern contemporaries have to deal with, but he employed the same approach they use today to stifle scoring and pry wickets, and he did it as well as just about anyone. Kumble was at the peak of his powers in 1996. He claimed 61 wickets in 32 matches at 20.24 – comfortably his best year in the powder blue of India. Tall and elegant, the leg-spinner used his 185cm frame to extract any hidden bounce on pitches around the planet. His 337 wickets remain the most by an Indian in one-day cricket, a record unlikely to be broken any time soon.

Performance we loved: In the final of the Hero Cup in 1993, Kumble ran through the West Indies to deliver an emphatic 102-run win and the trophy. Set 226 to win from 50 overs, the Windies were motoring along nicely until Kumble intervened. The wily leggie confiscated the last six wickets for four runs in 26 balls to register the best bowling performance by an Indian. It was a mark that stood 21 years until Stuart Binny took 6-4 against Bangladesh in 2014.

#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

ODI GOAT bracket

About the Writer

 @samuelfez
@samuelfez

Sam Ferris is a Sydney-based journalist for cricket.com.au. He started in 2011 as a Big Bash League correspondent and continues to monitor the domestic scene and national sides closely.

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