ODI GOAT: Lee v Akhtar

Two of the fastest bowlers the game has ever seen go head-to-head to help find the greatest ODI player of all time

Sam Ferris

13 April 2016, 05:52 PM AEST

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!


The numbers: Matches: 221 | Wickets: 380 | Average: 23.36 | SR: 29.4 | Economy: 4.76 | BB: 5-22 | 5w: 9

WATCH: From the Vault: Brett Lee saves the day

Why he makes the list: For Brett Lee, it was all about that pace which made batsmen tremble. Perhaps the fastest bowler Australia has ever produced, Lee had few equals in one-day cricket during his 12-year career. Charging in like an Olympic sprinter and vaulting at the crease like a long-jumper, Lee's simplistic yet furious action put extreme pressure on the batsman and his own body. Starting off as a raw, bleach-blond 23-year-old, he was like lightning when he burst onto the international scene in 1999-00; unpredictable, frightening and dangerous. No fast bowler with 150 or more ODI wickets has a better strike rate than Lee's 29.4. His nine five-wicket hauls is the third-best of all time, behind Waqar (13) and Murali (9). And his 380 wickets is a record for Australia, one he shares with legendary paceman Glenn McGrath. Lee was at his best at the 2003 World Cup in South Africa, taking 22 wickets at 18 as Australia rolled through the tournament undefeated. 

Performance we loved: Bowling at "the speed of light" according to Brendon McCullum, Lee was virtually untouchable against New Zealand in November 2005. Hitting speeds of 156kph in Auckland, Lee's opening onslaught of six overs produced three wickets, four maidens, only five runs and the Man of the Match award.  It was peak Lee; searing pace, unwavering accuracy and a hint of outswing. His second wicket was scary. After bowling No.3 batsman Hamish Marshall, Lee then trapped twin brother James plumb in front with a delivery that was simply too quick


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

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.

#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

#ODIGOAT First Round: Waqar v Johnson

#ODIGOAT First Round: Warne v Kumble

#ODIGOAT First Round: Hooper v S. Waugh

#ODIGOAT First Round: Imran v Hadlee

ODI GOAT bracket