ODI GOAT: Richards v Jayawardena

The Windies' Master Blaster takes on a Sri Lanka legend - 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: 187 | Runs: 6,721 | Average: 47.00 | SR: 90.20 | 100s: 11 | HS: 189no

WATCH: Sir Viv vol.1

#ODIGOAT Voting: Richards was a dominant winner in his round of 64 match-up against Sri Lanka champion Aravinda de Silva, claiming 75 per cent of the vote. He's now up against another Sri Lanka legend for a shot at the round of 16. 

Why he makes the list: It was serendipitous that Viv Richards and ODI cricket came along at a similar time, because it feels like one was made for the other. The West Indies had only played two ODIs before Richards debuted in the format at the 1975 World Cup, and truth be told, he had an ordinary tournament, despite his famous three run-outs in the Windies' final triumph over Australia. It was in 1976 – Richards' record-breaking year in Test cricket – that he found his feet in the format, and never looked back. By the end of the decade, he'd set the benchmark for ODI batting, inspired by his own natural aggression to hit harder and score faster than anyone who'd come before him. A match-winning century in the 1979 final earned him a second World Cup trophy, while an unbeaten 153 from 130 balls against Australia at the MCG in'79 was another instant classic. In the 1980s, 'The Master Blaster' dominated, motoring along at a strike-rate of 90 while every other batsman tried – and failed – to keep up.

Performance we loved: The apogee in a wonderful career came in 1984 against England in Manchester when, with his side deep in trouble at 7-102, Richards launched an outrageous assault on the bowlers, blasting 189no in a total of 9-272 (the next best score was 26). For 13 years it stood as the highest score in ODI history, and to this day remains a contender for the best ODI knock there has been – suitably supplied by one of the best ODI batsmen of all.


The numbers:  Matches: 448 | Runs: 12,650 | Average: 33.37 | SR: 78.96| 100s: 19 | HS: 144

WATCH: Mahela magic from the vault

#ODIGOAT Voting: Jayawardena faced off against his compatriot Tillakaratne Dilshan in the first round but was the overwhelmingly popular vote to go through to the final 32, taking 74 pet cent of the vote. 

Why he makes the list: In a career spanning 17 years, few could rival Mahela Jayawardena's elegance, timing and sheer volume of runs. Casting a diminutive shadow, Jayawardena was a giant in Sri Lanka's middle order from 1998 to 2015, finishing his playing days as his country's third greatest ODI runs-scorer behind close friend and partner in crime Kumar Sangakkara and swashbuckling opener Sanath Jayasuriya. His best years in the 50-over format were a decade apart; in 2001 scored 1,260 runs and three tons, the same number of centuries he posted in 2011 where he averaged 46.90. As a captain he was sharp, innovative and fearless. He commanded Sri Lanka to the 2011 World Cup final, scoring a century in the decider against an India side with destiny at their side. A highlights package of any of his 19 tons would be sure to include a merciless whip of his pads, a graceful lofted drive and a scything square cut.

Performance we loved: While his 2011 WC final knock was special for obvious reasons, Jayawardena's unbeaten 115 as captain against New Zealand in the 2007 WC semi-final was pure class. Winning the toss and electing to bat, the right-hander entered at 2-67 in the 14th over and never looked back, caressing and crashing 10 fours and a trio of sixes, the last coming in the final over off supreme speedster Shane Bond to carry the momentum with his side into the change of innings. He topped off his man-of-the-match performance with a brilliant display of captaincy to deliver a crushing 81-run win and Sri Lanka's second World Cup final appearance. 

#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

#ODIGOAT First Round: Malinga v Vaas

#ODIGOAT First Round: Kohli v Pietersen

#ODIGOAT First Round: Symonds v Klusener

#ODIGOAT First Round: Afridi v Saqlain

#ODIGOAT First Round: Bevan v Hussey

#ODIGOAT First Round: Dilshan v Jayawardena