ODI GOAT: Sangakkara v De Villiers

A Sri Lanka legend goes head-to-head with a South Africa superstar to decide who was the best in one-day cricket

Sam Ferris & Adam Burnett

08 May 2016, 05:06 PM

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, we are now into the round of 16. Next it will be 8, 4 and ultimately our final. So cast your VOTE and decide just who is the greatest ODI player in history!


Kumar beats AB


The numbers: 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

#ODIGOAT voting: De Villiers' first-round match-up with compatriot Mark Boucher produced one of the most emphatic results to date, with ABdV claiming 96 per cent of the vote, while his victory over Andrew Symonds in the second round was also emphatic.

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.

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 39thover, 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 the46th 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.


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

WATCH: Kumar's classic BBL cameo

#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.

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

Richards v Miandad | Jayasuriya v Ponting | Wasim v Waqar | Tendulkar v Bevan | Warne v Murali | Inzamam v Kohli | Imran v Ambrose 

Vote for the ODI GOAT