The #ODIGOAT is cricket.com.au's knockout competition to determine the greatest ODI player of all time. We've selected 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'll go to 32, to 16, 8, 4 and ultimately our final. So cast your VOTE and decide just who is the greatest ODI player in history!
SAEED ANWAR (PAKISTAN)
Matches: 247 | Runs: 8,824 | Average: 39.21 | SR: 80.67 | 100s: 20 | HS: 194
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.
SOURAV GANGULY (INDIA)
Matches: 311 | Runs: 11,363| Average: 41.02 | SR: 73.70 | 100s: 22 | HS: 183
Wickets: 100 | Average: 38.49 | SR: 45.60 | Economy: 5.06 | BB: 5-16 | 5w: 2
Why he makes the list: If Sachin Tendulkar was India's batting king through the 1990s and 2000s, Sourav Ganguly was the prince. And Ganguly's batting carried a regal quality to it; at his best, there were few players who could match his stroke-play through the off side. Confrontational and occasionally controversial, there was no denying Ganguly's appetite for runs – from his second ODI in May, 1996, to his final match in November 2007, only Tendulkar scored more runs worldwide. Together, the pair hold the record for the most ODI runs in partnership (8,227 with 26 century stands), while the enigmatic left-hander also blossomed as a leader, taking India all the way to the 2003 World Cup final.
Performance we loved: Taunton, England, 1999. Ganguly made what was then the second-highest World Cup score in history – a stunning 183 from 158 balls against Sri Lanka. Chaminda Vaas broke through in the opening over but the Lankans were then met with the double act of Ganguly and Rahul Dravid, who weren't separated until they'd pocketed myriad records, including the highest-ever ODI partnership – a scarcely believable 318. Sixteen years on, it's only been bettered twice. Ganguly was at his imperious best, relishing the short boundaries square of the wicket to carve 17 fours and seven sixes as India posted 6-373, going on to defeat the defending champions by 157 runs.
#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