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!
SACHIN TENDULKAR (INDIA)
The numbers: Matches: 463 | Runs: 18,426 | Average: 44.83 | SR: 86.23 | 100s: 49 | HS: 200no
#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.
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.
SAEED ANWAR (PAKISTAN)
The numbers: Matches: 247 | Runs: 8,824 | Average: 39.21 | SR: 80.67 | 100s: 20 | HS: 194
#ODIGOAT voting: Anwar had a showdown with former India captain Sourav Ganguly in the roud of 64 and took two-thirds of the votes, winning with 64 per cent.
Why he makes the list: Saeed Anwar emerged on the international scene as a 20-year-old in 1989 and, by the end of '93, had established himself as one of ODI cricket's most dominant batting forces courtesy of six hundreds from the top of the Pakistan batting order. Blessed with fabulous hand-eye coordination and taking a particular delight in flaying the ball through gaps in the off-side field, the best was yet to come; in May 1997, Anwar earned himself a place in Pakistan cricket folklore with a world record 194 against India in Chennai. He scored three ODI centuries that year – probably his peak as a batsman – and pushed on until the 2003 World Cup, making another hundred against India. That match was his penultimate ODI innings and when he left the game, he did so with more centuries than anyone excluding Sachin Tendulkar.
Performance we loved: It has to be his magnum opus, the 194 against India, which bettered Viv Richards' mark of 189no for the highest score in ODI history. The runs came in sweltering heat – he had a runner for much of the innings due to loss of fluid and heat exhaustion – and from only 146 balls, with 22 fours and five sixes. One Anil Kumble over went for 26, including three consecutive sixes, as Anwar controlled the innings completely to take his side to a match-winning total of 5-327.
#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