ODI GOAT: De Villiers v Boucher

A modern-day superstar, a record-breaking keeper, and two SA legends - who gets your vote?

Sam Ferris

14 April 2016, 05:25 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!


Matches: 200 | Runs: 8,621| Average: 54.56 | SR: 100.18 | 100s: 24 | HS: 162no

Dismissals: 169 | Catches: 164 | Stumpings: 5

WATCH: AB blasts fastest ever ODI century

Why he makes the list: There's only one AB de Villiers. While he's not quite the statistical outlier of Don Bradman, his record to the uninitiated prompts a second glance and rechecking of the figures. It's astonishing. Having played a neat 200 ODIs, no player has scored more runs than his 8,621 or has a higher average than his 54.56. He is the fastest batsman to 7,000 runs in terms of innings. And he owns the fastest century of all time; a 31-ball demolition of the West Indies in 2015. De Villiers is a marvel to watch. Like a tiger ready to pounce, he crouches down, knees bent, eyes focused as his prey enters its delivery stride. In that position, he can hit the ball anywhere, 360 degrees, and for six. He has no weakness. He treats spin and seam with the same disdain, revels on fast and slow pitches. He gave the gloves away to focus on his batting, but the numbers suggest he should have kept them – he averages 71 as a 'keeper, with 10 tons in 55 digs. Perhaps only one man, India's Virat Kohli, can challenge de Villiers as the 50-over format's modern master, but even he is in awe of the South African. "He (de Villiers) is the best batsman of this generation," Kohli said. There's only one AB de Villiers.

WATCH: AB de Villiers' finest work

Performance we loved: It was like a video game with cheat mode on. De Villiers' 31-ball century at the Wanderers defied belief, logic, and 44 years of ODI history. Walking out to bat in the 39th over, he hit his first ball for four to the straight boundary. Three balls later he went four, six, four, six, six. Either side of his world record 16-ball half-century, de Villiers put another string of boundaries together; six, six, six, four, six. Two more lucrative streaks followed – six, four, six, six (that's his hundred, in the 46th over), six and six, six, four, six, six. He was out for 149 in the final over, one run short of another record. In total he hit 16 sixes, or one every 2.75 balls he faced.


Matches: 295 | Runs: 4,686| Average: 28.57 | SR: 84.76 | 100s: 1 | HS: 147no

Dismissals: 425 | Catches: 403 | Stumpings: 22

WATCH: Mix Tape: Boucher's best in Oz

Why he makes the list: As safe as a bank behind the stumps and as solid as a rock in South Africa's lower order, Mark Boucher had the pleasure of keeping to some of the finest fast bowlers the one-day game has seen. Standing back to the likes of Allan Donald, Dale Steyn, Shaun Pollock, Jacques Kallis and Makhaya Ntini, Boucher was astute and accomplished when an edged delivery came his way. He sits third on the list of the most prolific glovemen, behind his contemporaries Kumar Sangakkara (482) and Adam Gilchrist (472). With the bat, at his best he was brutal; strong down the ground, free-flowing through the off-side and damaging late in the innings. While he shares the record for most dismissals in an innings, six, Boucher will most be remembered for navigating South Africa to the most improbable of run-chases when he hit the winning runs to complete the world record pursuit against Australia in 2006.

Performance we loved: It has to be the 438 game in Johannesburg. Set 435 to win by Australia, Herschelle Gibbs's 175 laid the perfect foundation, but work still needed to be done when Boucher walked to the middle at 4-299 in the 32nd over. While others hit out around him, Boucher was determined to be there at the end, hitting just four boundaries but rotating the strike regularly and with ease. When it came down to the last over, the match was South Africa's to lose. Scores were tied when Boucher emphatically struck Brett Lee down the ground for the match-winning four in perhaps the greatest ODI of them all.   

#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

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#ODIGOAT First Round: Warne v Kumble

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CATO Sri Lanka