ODI GOAT: Sachin v Sanath

Two little masters go head-to-head in our first semi-final to determine the fans' favourite one-day international player

The #ODIGOAT is'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, to 16, we are now into the quarter-finals. Next it will be the semi-finals and, ultimately, our final. So cast your VOTE and decide just who is the greatest one-day international player in history!



The numbers: Matches: 463 | Runs: 18,426 | Average: 44.83 | SR: 86.23 | 100s: 49 | HS: 200no

WATCH: Mix Tape: The Little Master at his ODI best

#ODIGOAT voting: Taking on compatriot Rohit Sharma in round one, the Little Master produced yet another fine innings, collecting 89 per cent of the vote. He was then the winner of a one-sided clash with Pakistani Saeed Anwar, taking 93 per cent of votes after trending on Twitter in the subcontinent during the poll, and emerged victorious over Aussie ODI legend Michael Bevan with 57 per cent of votes in the round of 16. His toughest match-up - and what some could argue would have been a worthy final - Sachin faced off against West Indies Master Blaster Viv Richards. Sachin emerged victorious in an even-haded and fair contest that went to the wire with 53 per cent of the vote. 

Why he makes the list: Because he's Sachin, and excluding 'The Little Master' from the top 64 ODI players of all time would be like discussing relativity without Einstein. Tendulkar took his first short, confident strides to the middle as a 16-year-old in 1989 and for the next 22 years or so it felt like he scarcely left the middle. Throughout, he retained his boyish appearance, exacerbated by his oversized pads and railway sleeper of a bat that he swung with a precision that matched his footwork. The right-hander was technically adroit, unerringly patient, wholeheartedly ruthless and perhaps more than anything, possessed an insatiable appetite for scoring runs. He did that better, and more regularly, than anyone to have played ODI cricket, as the 4000-plus gap he has on his nearest rival on the 'most ODI runs' list attests. He fell one short of 50 ODI centuries, but fittingly became the first man to score 200 in an ODI. His record-breaking, feted career was capped off with a World Cup triumph on home soil in 2011.

Performance we loved: The 1998 version of Tendulkar was perhaps the most devastating of all; the Little Master had found his place at the top of the batting order, had benefited from lessons learned through almost a decade on the international scene, but still retained a youthful exuberance. Two days before his 25th birthday he made a blistering 143 against Australia in Sharjah, hammering five sixes and nine fours in what was ultimately a losing run chase. He made up for the defeat two days later, when he celebrated his quarter-century with a repeat act, this time in the final. Chasing 273 to win, Tendulkar picked up where he'd left off 48 hours earlier, flaying an Australian attack that must have been sick of the sight of him for another 134 from 131 balls. Across two innings, Tendulkar had provided an unrestrained celebration of subcontinental batting, and proof positive that, when in the mood, no-one on the planet could match him.


The numbers: Matches: 445 | Runs: 13,430 | Average: 32.36 | SR: 91.20 | 100s: 28 | HS: 189 | Wickets: 323 | Average: 36.75 | SR: 46.0 | Economy: 4.78 | BB: 6-29 | 5w: 4

WATCH: Mix Tape: Best of super Sanath

#ODIGOAT voting: Sri Lanka's Sanath Jayasuriya has been the beneficiary of some zealous support throughout the tournament. The well-orchestrated partisan support helped Jayasuriya become an Australian giant-killer in the ODI GOAT. Jayasuriya went through the wars to reach the third round - or rather, through the Waugh brothers. The Sri Lankan saw off younger brother Mark with three-quarters of the vote in round one, and then had a close battle with Steve before emerging with 60 per cent of the vote to progress. Then he overwhelmed twice-World Cup winning captain Ricky Ponting in a divisive shock result with 52 per cent of the vote. Things got no easier for Jayasuriya's army in the quarter-finals, up against India's heir apparent Virat Kohli. The Sri Lankan claimed 54 per cent of the vote setting up what should be a close semi-final.

Why he makes the list: For a small man, Sanath Jayasuriya wielded his blade with serious power. Muscular forearms combined with hawk-like vision to produce one of the most devastating batsmen in the history of ODI cricket. Bowlers who pitched short or wide immediately rued their inaccuracy; invariably they'd be forced to watch on as the ball flashed behind point, through cover or square on the leg side to the boundary. The left-hander was at the heart of an ODI revolution in the mid-1990s, after he was promoted to the top of the order by Arjuna Ranatunga and given a license to make hay in the initial 15 overs when the field was up and quick runs were in the offing. No-one performed the role as effectively – or spectacularly – as Jayasuriya, who scored 28 hundreds as an opening batsman across almost two decades in the position (second only to Sachin Tendulkar's 45). In Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka had a world-class aggressor who set the tone for their new-age agenda, and his performances in their triumphant 1996 World Cup campaign – most notably a pair of match-winning knocks against India and England – were critical to his team's success. The hundreds flowed thick and fast from there – highlighted by 189 against India in 2000, still the highest score by a Sri Lankan – while with the ball his left-arm orthodox tweakers were a regular and important part of the make-up of his country's attack through to his retirement in 2011, which ended a 22-year career at the top. 

Performance we loved: Perhaps invigorated by a World Cup title, Jayasuriya's first ODI innings after claiming the '96 title sent records tumbling and set a new benchmark in the format. Against Pakistan in Singapore, he took 32 balls to reach his 50, but needed only half as many again to blitz to three figures. A century in 48 balls obliterated the previous mark for the fastest-ever ODI hundred (Mohammad Azharuddin's 62-ball effort in 1988), while the 11 sixes in his 134 (65 balls) surpassed Gordon Greenidge's eight, made in 1989. 

#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 | Sangakkara v de Villiers

#ODIGOAT Quarter Finals

Richards v Tendulkar | Kohli v Jayasuriya | Imran v Waqar | Warne v Sangakarra