Sam Ferris & Adam Burnett
Sam Ferris & Adam Burnett
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, 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!
SANATH JAYASURIYA (SRI LANKA)
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
#ODIGOAT voting: Sri Lanka's Sanath Jayasuriya has been an Australian giant-killer in the ODI GOAT competition so far, garnering well-orchestrated partisan support. 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.
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.
VIRAT KOHLI (INDIA)
The numbers: Matches: 171 | Runs: 7,212 | Average: 51.51 | SR: 89.97 | 100s: 25 | HS: 183
#ODIGOAT voting: King Kohli reigned supreme over Kevin Pietersen in the round of 64, claiming 68 per cent of the vote compared to KP's 32 and he was at it again in the second round, taking 68 per cent of the vote against West Indies star Chris Gayle. The third round was a much tighter affair for Virat, who ultimately triumphed over Pakistan's Inzamam-ul-Haq with 54 per cent of the vote.
Why he makes the list: At 27, Virat Kohli might already be the best batsman ever in ODI cricket. His technique is flawless. His mindset is unforgiving. His numbers are mind-boggling. In what may be deemed as blasphemy by Australian readers, Kohli is even better than Michael Bevan in a run chase. Settle down, settle down. Hear us out. Kohli has 15 centuries in 91 innings batting second, two less than record-holder Sachin Tendulkar with 17 in232 innings, and 12 more than Bevan's three in 81. In games where India has won batting second, Kohli averages 84, has 13 tons in 57 knocks and was not out 18 times (yes, Bevo averaged 86). Kohli averages 50 or more against seven Test-playing nations and no less than 38. It's a stunning record which gets better every time you look at it.
Performance we loved: This 2012 innings has been relatively forgotten, but it's still one of the most mind-bending run-chases in history. Needing to win inside 40 overs to secure a bonus point and keep their tournament alive, India were set an unfathomable 321 to win by Sri Lanka after centuries to Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara. The few thousand in attendance at Hobart's Blundstone Arena were treated to perhaps the best run chase of all time, as Kohli bossed 133 from only 86 balls to steer India to victory in the 37th over. It started a chain reaction for the dashing right-hander who scored three centuries and a 66 in his next four innings.
#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