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!
LASITH MALINGA (SRI LANKA)
The numbers: Matches: 191 | Wickets: 291 | Average: 27.77 | SR: 31.6 | Economy: 5.26 | BB: 6-38 | 5w: 7
Why he makes the list: Lasith Malinga emerged from Sri Lanka as the latest offering in the cricket world's 'sling dynasty'; a raw 20-year-old with searing pace and the type of reaction that generally produced scattergun results. But Malinga was an exception. The right-armer's unique round-arm action was deceptive to batsmen, and that, allied with his pace and a deceptive slower ball, made him difficult to handle. What made him almost impossible to deal with at times was his exceptional yorker – certainly the world's best for a sustained period of time and the chief reason for his phenomenal success in ODI cricket. Two hat-tricks – against Australia and Kenya – and the only double hat-trick in ODI history highlight his potency when he's in the mood, as Malinga became Sri Lanka's undoubted spearhead following the retirement of Chaminda Vaas and a key reason behind their runs to the 2007 and 2011 World Cup finals.
Performance we loved: Did we mention a double hat-trick? The circumstances only added to Malinga's historic feat, as Sri Lankan went within a whisker of snatching what would have been perhaps the most astonishing win in World Cup history. The Proteas were within four runs of victory, still five overs in hand, and only five wickets down. Too easy, surely? Enter Malinga. Over 44.5. A slower ball takes care of Shaun Pollock, out. 44.6. Yorker. Classic Malinga. Andrew Hall, out. At the other end, Chaminda Vaas concedes just one run. 46.1. Jacques Kallis edges behind, OUT! Hat-trick. SA eight down. 46.2. Another perfect yorker crashes into Makhaya Ntini's middle stump. OUT! Four in four! Somehow, the Proteas get home by one wicket, Robin Peterson edging Malinga through slips for the winning runs.
CHAMINDA VAAS (SRI LANKA)
The numbers: Matches: 322 | Wickets: 400 | Average: 27.53 | SR: 39.4 | Economy: 4.18 | BB: 8-19 | 5w: 4
Why he makes the list: If Malinga was the fire for Sri Lanka, Chaminda Vaas was the ice. A left-arm swing and seam bowler who relied more on smarts than flat-out pace, Vaas spent 14 years on the ODI scene; only Wasim Akram has played more than his 322 matches among fast bowlers, while he is one of only four to have taken 400 wickets. In that time he became indisputably Sri Lanka's greatest fast bowler, capturing a World Cup title in '96 and appearing in another final in 2007.
"We were a team highly dependent on Chaminda Vaas and Murali," Kumar Sangakkara told cricket.com.au recently. "'Vaasy' was so clinical in his execution – to have that amount of precision is unbelievable. Had he played for any other country, he would have reached just unbelievable levels, but on dead, dusty Sri Lankan tracks, for him to have had the career he had, it's phenomenal."
Performance we loved: On one amazing day in Colombo back in December 2001, Vaas had a field day running through a hapless Zimbabwe outfit. Controlling his swing beautifully, the left-armer took a wicket with his first ball, later claimed Sri Lanka's first ODI hat-trick, and went on to become the first bowler to take eight wickets in the format. He finished with 8-19 (Murali spoiled the party with the two final wickets) as Zimbabwe were skittled for 38. Given the calibre of the opposition, it probably wasn't Vaas' most rewarding spell, but statistically, it was unprecedented.
#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
#ODIGOAT First Round: Lee v Akhtar
#ODIGOAT First Round: M. Waugh v Jayasuriya
#ODIGOAT First Round: De Villiers v Boucher
#ODIGOAT First Round: Lara v Amla
#ODIGOAT First Round: Gilchrist v McCullum
#ODIGOAT First Round: Gayle v Haynes
#ODIGOAT First Round: McGrath v Pollock
#ODIGOAT First Round: Anwar v Ganguly
#ODIGOAT First Round: Sehwag v Greenidge
#ODIGOAT First Round: Ponting v Gibbs
#ODIGOAT First Round: Dhoni v Sangakkara
#ODIGOAT First Round: Inzamam v Kallis
#ODIGOAT First Round: Murali v Hogg
#ODIGOAT First Round: Bond v Ambrose