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Clarke and Ponting

ODI GOAT: Ponting v Clarke

Two World Cup winning Australian captains go head to head in the round of 32 - who gets your vote?

The #ODIGOAT is cricket.com.au'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!

RICKY PONTING (AUSTRALIA)

The numbers: Matches: 375 | Runs: 13,704 | Average: 42.03 | SR: 80.39 | 100s: 30 | HS: 164

WATCH: From the Vault: Ponting on top of the world

#ODIGOT voting: Ponting swept the floor with South African great Herschelle Gibbs in the round of 64, taking an incredible 92 per cent of the vote. 

Why he makes the list: A colossus of one-day cricket, Ricky Ponting emerged as a pint-sized Tasmanian with a ruthless streak that defined every facet of his game. Combining an uncompromising nature with the gifts that moved then Academy coach Rod Marsh to label him the best young batsman he'd ever seen, Ponting went on to establish himself as the greatest ODI No.3 of them all, and perhaps the most imposing figure at the crease since Viv Richards. With an incomparable pull shot the pick of a bagful of strokes, the belligerent right-hander was the driving force behind Australia's dominance in ODI cricket from the beginning of the 21st century. In the field, his catching was phenomenal, but it was his penchant for direct-hit run-outs that set a new benchmark. As captain, he entered uncharted waters, taking his team to consecutive World Cup titles in 2003 and 2007 without dropping a single match. He bowed out of the game in the 2011 tournament, with a fighting century against eventual champions India, having ensured his legacy as one of the all-time greats.   

WATCH: Ponting's World Cup final masterclass

Performance we loved: There were 30 hundreds and plenty of classics among them, but how can we go past the imperious 140no he made in the 2003 World Cup final? India invited Australia to bat, and with a strong platform laid, Ponting took his time to settle in, his 50 coming up from 74 balls with just one four. From there, he flicked the switch, and provided a spectacle of hitting rarely seen; eight sixes were dispatched into the crowd – several of them into the upper tiers – as Ponting launched a blitzkrieg on the Indian bowlers in the back half of the innings. The result was the most emphatic statement imaginable – Ponting's final 90 had come from 47 balls, he'd shared an unbroken 234-run stand with Damien Martyn, and India needed 360 to win the World Cup. They didn't come close.

MICHAEL CLARKE (AUSTRALIA)

The numbers: Matches: 245 | Runs: 7,981 | Average: 44.58 | SR: 78.98 | 100s: 8 | HS: 130

#ODIGOAT voting: It was a closer battle for Pup in the round of 64, but he edged out compatriot Dean Jones, taking 54 per cent of the vote.

WATCH: Mix Tape: The best of Michael Clarke

Why he makes the list: Alongside the likes of Ponting, Gilchrist and Symonds, Michael Clarke was rarely a headline stealer in ODI cricket but between overs 15 and 40, there were few better accumulators of runs. Like Damien Martyn before him, that was the role Clarke was tasked with for much of his career; with an all-conquering Australia blessed with explosive batting in both the top and lower middle-order, he regularly used his hard running, gap picking, and superb play of spin to maintain a run rate while the field was lining the boundary. He was outstanding in Australia's 2007 World Cup triumph, scoring 436 runs at 87.20 and a strike-rate of 94.98, and by February 2008, he'd surged to No.2 on the ODI world batting rankings. Seven years later, he was again front and centre on the world stage, making 74 to all but see Australia home at the MCG in the World Cup final – a glorious conclusion to a wonderful ODI career.

Performance we loved: Clarke had already led Australia 24 times in ODIs before he was officially handed the full-time job in 2011, and in a sign of things to come on the Test front, he promptly scored a hundred straight up against Bangladesh in Mirpur. Revelling in the leadership, it was a classic Clarke contribution; made amid the crumbling of wickets to steady an innings that might otherwise have fallen apart, scored at roughly a run a ball and featuring precise placement and footwork as he helped his side to what proved a match-winning total.

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