Adam Burnett & Sam Ferris
Adam Burnett & Sam Ferris
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 semi-finals - just one step away from the decider! So cast your VOTE and decide just who is the greatest one-day international player in history!
RESULT: Sangakkara wins.
IMRAN KHAN (PAKISTAN)
The numbers: Matches: 175 | Wickets: 182 | Average: 26.61 | SR: 40.9 | Economy: 3.89 | BB: 6-14 | 5w: 1
Runs: 3,709 | Average: 33.41 | SR: 72.65 | 100s: 1 | HS: 102no
#ODIGOAT voting: In a first-round showdown with New Zealand legend Sir Richard Hadlee, Imran was the resounding winner, collecting 81 per cent of the vote. The second round saw him face up to Australian legend Glenn McGrath and after a tight tussle the Pakistani icon emerged with 60 per cent of the vote, while in the round of 16, he was a clear winner (75 per cent) over West Indies legend Curtly Ambrose. In the quarters, he squared off with compatriot Waqar Younis, emerging with 76 per cent of the vote.
Why he makes the list: Perhaps Pakistan's greatest cricketer, Imran Khan inspired a nation with an imperious all-round game that was matched by the respect he commanded as a leader. Floating to the crease like a butterfly, Imran stung like a bee with the ball through deadly reverse swing, a yorker that dreams are made of, and at his fastest, a fierce bouncer. The captaincy elevated his game and allrounder status, taking more responsibility with the bat to be held in the same regard as peers Botham, Hadlee and Dev. For 18 years he served as Pakistan's most important ODI player, ushering in, and sometimes plucking from obscurity, the likes of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis. At 39, Imran capped off a remarkable career by leading Pakistan to the 1992 World Cup title over England.
Performance we loved: In his last match for Pakistan – the '92 World Cup final in Melbourne – Imran produced one final gem. All tournament he wore a white t-shirt with the image of a tiger on it, imploring his men to fight like a cornered tiger – there is nothing more dangerous than a cornered tiger, he proclaimed. He wore the t-shirt to the toss and won it, electing to bat. Entering at first-drop, Imran steadied the ship at 2-24, combining with Javed Miandad to put on 139 for the third wicket. The elegant right-hander batted for 159 minutes and scored 72 to provide the backbone of Pakistan's 6-249. While his bowling was no longer the rapier of his youth, tactically he was a sharp as ever, unleashing his heir Wasim in a match-winning spell. To cap it all off, he claimed the final wicket as the cornered tigers were finally set free.
KUMAR SANGAKKARA (SRI LANKA)
The numbers: Matches: 404 | Runs: 14,234 | Average: 41.98 | SR: 78.86 | 100s: 25 | HS: 169 | Dis: 501 | C: 402 (19 in field) | St: 99
#ODIGOAT Voting: Sangakkara faced a tough match-up in the first round in India's World Cup winning captain MS Dhoni but was the overwhelmingly popular vote to go through to the final 32. Next, he knocked off Australian legend Adam Gilchrist, claiming 60 per cent of the vote, before ousting South Africa superstar AB de Villiers in the round of 16. In the quarters, Sangakkara dispensed with another Aussie great, Shane Keith Warne.
Why he makes the list: Kumar Sangakkara's ODI career had been incredible enough, but the manner in which he finished it off at last year's World Cup was something else. Sri Lanka didn't get their hands on the trophy they won in '96, so there was no fairytale, but Sangakkara's personal contribution was a triumph – a history-making four straight hundreds through the tournament. It was a classic sign-off from a classical player; a silky left-hander who was too much for even the world's best attacks when he got going. And that was regularly. Sangakkara began his ODI life as a bustling keeper with a fondness for chatter behind the stumps, slotting into the middle order and immediately producing quality contributions. His batting genius quickly became his chief form of contribution (notwithstanding the 482 dismissals behind the stumps), as he was promoted to No.3 and began churning out hundreds for fun. By the end of World Cup 2015, only Sachin Tendulkar had more ODI runs.
Performance we loved: Among those four World Cup hundreds in succession was a magical effort in Sangakkara's final match against Australia. Chasing an improbable 377 to win, it was clear that Sri Lanka's hopes rested on the genius of the pugnacious left-hander. He was at the crease in the second over, receiving an incredible ovation from a strong contingent of his countrymen among the SCG crowd, and set about his work. Taking on the form bowler of the tournament, Mitchell Starc, and some extreme pace also from Mitchell Johnson, Sangakkara resorted to his textbook strokes – with the occasional flashy ramp – and continued building his score, fellow veteran Tillakaratne Dilshan in tow. While ever he was at the crease, the crowd had reason to believe, and he appeared to feed off their energy, moving to another fabulous hundred in even time. Just as a miracle appeared a distinct possibility, he was gone; but in the process he'd left his adoring Australia-based fans with one final reminder of his brilliance.
#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
#ODIGOAT Quarter Finals