The #ODIGOAT is cricket.com.au'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, we are now into the round of 16. Next it will be 8, 4 and ultimately our final. So cast your VOTE and decide just who is the greatest ODI player in history!
WASIM AKRAM (PAKISTAN)
The numbers: Matches: 356 | Wickets: 502 | Average: 23.52 | SR: 36.2 | Economy: 3.89 | 5w: 6 | BB: 5-15
#ODIGOAT voting: It was a battle of the lethal left-armers in the round of 64, but Mitchell Starc was no match for Wasim, who claimed 79 per cent of the vote. And the Wasim bandwagon picked up a gear in the second round, with a whopping 91 per cent rating the Pakistani a better ODI bowler than West Indies legend Joel Garner.
Why he makes the list: Perhaps the greatest left-arm fast bowler to grace a cricket field, Wasim Akram revolutionised pace bowling and mastered the mystical art of reverse swing. In a career that spanned almost 19 years, Wasim was the first player to 500 ODI wickets and no quick has taken more scalps than the Lion of Lahore. Possessing a quick arm-action and a wrist like a whip, Wasim was devastating in the middle of his career – taking 198 wickets in 131 matches from 1992 to 1997. In combination with fellow swing prodigy Waqar Younis there was no better new-ball pair as Pakistan won the '92 World Cup then stampeded to the '99 final. Wasim remarkably played under 13 different captains, but was never more effective than under his own leadership; in 109 matches at the helm, he claimed 158 wickets at 22.63, slightly better than his overall career record, and led Pakistan to 66 wins. Above all the numbers and records, Wasim was the most feared white-ball quick of his generation, and perhaps the best ever.
Performance we loved: The big stage is where legends are made, and there is no bigger stage than the final of a World Cup. In 1992, Pakistan came up against England at the MCG and it was Wasim who turned the tide. He chipped in late in Pakistan's innings with a rampant 33 from 18 balls, de rigueur today but almost unheard of 24 years ago. The momentum stayed with the speedster into England's innings where he removed Ian Botham with the new ball then returned late at the behest of Imran Khan to trigger the breakthrough; a ball that swung in, pitched, held its line and clipped the top of off-stump to remove a perplexed Allan Lamb for 31. Next ball, Chris Lewis faced the same delivery, only this time the ball swung in with the angle, hooping into the stumps. England never recovered, Pakistan won their first world title and Wasim was man of the match, and an instant legend.
WAQAR YOUNIS (PAKISTAN)
The numbers: Matches: 262 | Wickets: 416 | Average: 23.84 | SR: 30.5 | Economy: 4.68 | BB: 7-36 | 5w: 13
ODI GOAT voting: Waqar sliced through the first round of voting like so many batsmen's defences, toppling Australian left-arm brute Mitchell Johnson with 76 per cent of the vote. His second-round match-up saw him meet fellow Pakistani quick Shoaib Akhtar, fresh from having outpaced Australia's Brett Lee. But Akhtar couldn't keep up with Waqar, who won 69 per cent of the vote.
Why he makes the list: Top-order or tail, left-hand or right, no-one destroyed batsmen with the machine-like efficiency of Pakistan swing king Waqar Younis. Lightning fast and lethally accurate, Waqar ran through batting orders with the nonchalance of a child through a playground. Together with Wasim Akram, and under the tutelage of another swing sultan, Imran Khan, Waqar learned to make the ball talk – and sing, and dance – and employed his methods to devastating effect through his 14-year ODI career. The late inswinging yorker was his calling card, and the chief weapon in his world record 13 five-wicket hauls. Perhaps the only thing missing from the right-arm quick's resume is success at the World Cup; he missed Pakistan's 1992 triumph and was overlooked for their appearance in the 1999 final.
Performance we loved: Just when batsman thought it was safe to wander back out to the crease, the 2001 model Waqar revisited his early 1990s pomp. The venues were the swing-friendly cities of Leeds and Nottingham. The victims England and Australia respectively. It was the first match though – a match in which victory was ultimately conceded to Pakistan amid troubling scenes of crowd violence – that Waqar really shone, removing England's top six and then taking another to leave the quick with 7-37, then the third-best figures in ODI history. Two days later, he took on world champs Australia and won, taking 6-59 to lead his side to a 36-run victory.
#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