ODI GOAT: Symonds v Klusener

It's a showdown between two great allrounders in our round of 64 - who gets your vote?

Adam Burnett

21 April 2016, 04:00 PM

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: 198 | Runs: 5088 | Average: 39.75 | SR: 92.44 | 100s: 6 | HS: 156 | Wickets: 133 | Average: 37.25 | SR: 44.6 | Economy: 5.00 | BB: 5-18 | 5w: 1

WATCH: Symonds sizzles in Sydney

Why he makes the list: The barnstorming best of Andrew Symonds almost never materialised at international level. A laidback Queenslander with world-beating skills in every facet of the game, Symonds scored just two half-centuries and took a couple of four-fers in his first 54 ODIs. Suddenly, he flicked a switch. Selectors gambled on him for the 2003 World Cup and he duly repaid the faith, hammering a maiden hundred first-up and rescuing Australia with an unbeaten 91 in the semi-final against Sri Lanka. For the ensuing six years Symonds was among the premier allrounders in ODI cricket. Built like a rugby league player (he once trialled with the Brisbane Broncos), he used his imposing figure to his advantage both with bat in hand and even in the field, where he reigned supreme whether in the ring or in the outfield. From his unpredictable early days, Symonds morphed into one of Australia's most bankable stars, regularly churning out match-turning knocks in the middle order with an impressive blend of fireworks and finesse. It all ended in ignominy, with a fishing trip and some cross words, but in between, the dreadlocked entertainer had become a cult hero in Australian sport.

Performance we loved: Symonds' 143 not out (from 125 balls, with 18 fours and two sixes) against Pakistan in the '03 World Cup transformed Australia's tournament after it began in the shambles of the Shane Warne controversy, and transformed the allrounder's career. Coming to the crease at 4-86 in the 16th over, he played second fiddle to Ricky Ponting initially before the captain's departure for 53 meant he had to take on the lead role. He did it brilliantly, flaying a high-quality Pakistan attack to all parts and leading Australia to what proved to be a match-winning 8-310.


The numbers: Matches: 171 | Runs: 3576 | Average: 41.10 | SR: 89.91 | 100s: 2 | HS: 103* | Wickets: 192 | Average: 29.95 | SR: | Economy: 4.7 | BB: 6-49 | 5w: 6

Lance Klusener // Getty
Klusener starred in the 1999 World Cup // Getty Images

Why he makes the list: As fearsome as the nickname suggests, Lance 'Zulu' Klusener was a force of nature for South Africa through the late 1990s and early 2000s. A left-handed batsman who hit the ball as hard as anyone with his railway sleeper of a bat, and a right-arm quick who liked to pitch full or short and little in between, Klusener was an aggressive x-factor who could turn a match in a matter of minutes. Startlingly effective with the ball – only six players have taken more than his six five-wicket hauls in ODIs – the Klusener legend was actually built on his finishing ability with the bat; capable of scything the ball through the field with a devastating combination of power, placement and timing, he had a habit of ending matches in a hurry with whirlwind knocks that left the opposition in shock. The '99 World Cup was his high watermark – despite a disastrous ending for the Proteas, he was the Player of the Tournament with 17 wickets and 281 runs.

Performance we loved: Klusener was consistently brilliant at the '99 World Cup and he set the tone early with a man-of-the-match performance against defending champs Sri Lanka. At 7-115, the Proteas were in a world of bother, but Klusener changed the complexion of the match with an intelligent 52no from 45 balls to get his side to a defendable 9-199. He then chimed in with 3-21 late in the piece to help rout the Lankans for 110 in response to complete a superb all-round effort. 

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CATO Sri Lanka