ODI GOAT: Murali v Afridi

Sri Lanka's mystery spinner meets Pakistan's enigma in the round of 32 - who gets your vote?

The #ODIGOAT is's knockout competition to determine 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, we are now into the round of 32. Next it will be 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: 350 | Wickets: 534 | Average: 23.08 | SR: 35.2 | Economy: 3.93 | BB: 7-30 | 5w: 10

WATCH: Murali's World XI magic

#ODIGOAT voting: Murali swept to victory against Aussie Brad Hogg in the round of 64, collecting 84 per cent of the vote.

Why he makes the list: Divisive, destructive and deceptive, Muthiah Muralidaran was an unassuming talking point in world cricket for a decade-and-a-half. Throughout that time, the mystery spinner from Kandy in the heart of Sri Lanka baffled the world's best batsman with his variations; the great Adam Gilchrist admitting as much recently when he said facing Murali made him feel like a child. Controversy centred upon his action – he was called for throwing in an ODI against England in Adelaide in the summer of 1998-99 and his captain, Arjuna Ranatunga, threatened to lead his team from the field. Law changes and legalities aside, Murali was a master of his craft, a spinner capable of unerring accuracy with an ability to turn the ball both ways with barely a change of action. It all resulted in the most wickets by one man in ODI cricket, a World Cup title in '96, and endless comparisons with Shane Warne as the greatest spinner of the modern era, perhaps ever.

Performance we loved: Sharjah, October 2000. Murali ran through India like the proverbial hot knife through butter, claiming 7-30 – then the single best figures in the history of ODIs. With 294 to defend, Murali went to work, removing Robin Singh for his 200th one-day wicket, then Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh and four more batsmen in a stunning rout that handed his side a 68-run win.


The numbers: Matches: 398 | Wickets: 395 | Average: 34.51 | SR: 44.7 | Economy: 4.62 | BB: 7-12| 5fa's: 9

Runs: 8,064 | Average: 23.57 | SR: 117 | 100s: 6 | HS: 124

WATCH: Afridi stars in thriller

#ODIGOAT voting: Two modern Pakistan greats clashed in the round of 64, with Afridi claiming 61 per cent of the vote against Saqlain Mushtaq.

Why he makes the list: Shahid Afridi was a riddle wrapped in an enigma, one that we're not even sure he knows the answer to. At his very best, there was no cleaner hitter, no more dangerous leg-spinner and no player as entertaining. In just his second ODI match, and his first innings, Afridi scored the fastest-ever ODI century – a 37-ball kamikaze show that stunned world champions Sri Lanka. Nicknamed 'Boom Boom' for his pyrotechnics with the bat, Afridi's batting would be overshadowed by his abilities with the ball, evolving into a reliable leg-spinner, one who possessed more variations than an over would allow. His career is littered with incredible solo efforts; Lahore '97, Toronto '98, Lahore '00, Kanpur '05, Durban '07, Dubai '09, Providence '12, just to name a few. But controversy courted Afridi throughout his enigmatic career, which in many respects made him that much more intriguing.

Performance we loved: We could go for the 37-ball ton against SL, or the 42-ball blitzkrieg against India in 2005, but it's not every day a bowler takes seven wickets in a one-day match. With his roller coaster career into its 17th year, Afridi took a remarkable 7-12 against the West Indies in Providence 2012. He took the last seven wickets of the innings, removing names like Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Bravo, Marlon Samuels and Kieron Pollard, levelling the Windies for 98 to win by 126 runs. Oh, and we almost forgot, he hit five sixes in a 55-ball 76 in the first innings, just cause he could.

#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

Vote for the greatest ODI player of all time