Kerry Packer, the Australian business tycoon, can be termed as the “Father of ODI cricket.”
In the late 60s and early 70s, test cricket was so popular nobody thought ODI cricket could match that popularity.
The fast-paced cricketing action, massive sixes, outstanding fielding, insane catches – we should be thankful to Kerry.
But it didn’t become a success overnight. It’s the cricketers who have made ODI cricket what it is today.
Who makes it to the list?
Here we’ve picked the players not only because of the total runs they scored or the number of wickets they received
But also based on how those runs and wickets have helped their respective teams win matches.
Therefore, we are bound to miss a few because there is a big pool from which we chose a few
But, anyway, let’s have a look at the list ‘ Top 10 Big Match Players in ODI cricket ‘
Top 10 Best Match Winners in ODIs
1. Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin’s career is an inspirational story that makes us dream big and never give up
When Sachin started in the 1990s, as a 20-year wonder boy, and just ruled over all bowlers from his era
An innovator, a batting genius, Sachin, in his whole career, played possible shot in the book from ‘uppercut’ to ‘cover-drive.’
He was the first player to score 200 in an innings in ODI format. Most centuries, most half-centuries, most appearances – you name a batting record, and he has it.
His picture-perfect straight drive, shots through the square region have earned him a huge fan following across the world.
- ODI Matches – 463 | ODI Runs – 18,426 | ODI Batting Average – 44.83
- 100s/50s – 49/96 | Best score – 200* | Wickets – 154
2. Sir Viv Richards
Sir Vivian Richards was a pure entertainer, and as a batting innovator, was way ahead of his time.
An era where bowlers dominated over batsmen, his fearless approach made him a nightmare for bowlers worldwide
Using feet against the fast bowlers, standing outside the crease in the death overs, it was Sir Viv who introduced these approaches in ODIs
In short, he revolutionized the art of batting, and it made him an instant fan favourite worldwide
Wisden chose him as the greatest ODI batsman of all time (2002), and we can’t but agree more.
- ODI Matches – 187 | ODI Runs scored – 6721 | Batting Average – 47
- 100s/50s – 24/45 | Best score – 189* | Wickets – 32
3. Virat Kohli
43 centuries in 233 innings with an average of 60 – and so, Kohli, only 32, very rightly gets a high rank in this list
Some people achieve greatness by sheer dedication, passion, will-power and Virat is an example of one such self-made greats
We know that “chasing big runs batting second is tough, but when we look at Kohli’s stats, you’ll think otherwise.
In the last ten years, he has scored 6867 runs ( with 26 centuries) while chasing at an insane average of 69.36
Virat has achieved many records in his career, and recently his name is included in the ‘Wisden cricketers of the Decade’ list.
- ODI Matches – 2426 | ODI Runs – 11,792 | Batting Average – 59.85
- 100s/50s – 43/57 | Best Score – 183 | Strike Rate – 93.39
4. Ricky Ponting
People consider Ricky Ponting as one of the greatest batsmen of all time alongside Sachin & Brian Lara.
Ponting holds the record of being part of most ODI victories as a player (262 wins)
Yes, he got picked for his batting, but his determination, will to win – that’s what gave him the ‘legend’ status.
A great catcher, an athletic fielder, an inspirational leader, Ponting led the Australian side to two World Cup triumphs
One of the better players of fast bowling, Ponting was known for his wide variety of shots, notably the hook and pull.
He was also equally good against spin, and the significant number of runs in the subcontinent proves that
- ODI Matches – 375 | ODI Runs – 13,704 | Batting average – 42.03
- 100s/50s – 30/82 | Best score – 164
5. Mahendra Singh Dhoni
‘Captain Cool’, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, is considered one of the best finishers in the ODI format.
A right-handed batsman and a keeper, Dhoni is the most successful Indian ODI captain ( 110 wins from 200 ODIs ), second only to Ricky Ponting (165 wins)
Much like Virat, he also has an impressive average when it comes to successful run chases
Apart from scoring 11,000 runs batting at five or lower, he led the victorious Indian side in the 2011 World Cup
- ODI Matches – 350 | ODI Runs – 10,773 | Batting average – 50.53
- Highest score – 183*| 100s/50s – 10/73 | Dismissals inflicted – 444
6. Muttiah Muralidharan
Its no denying that Muralitharan was one of the most excellent spinners the world cricket has ever seen
If Saqlain was the one to invent ‘Doosra,’ then Murali was the one to popularize it
His bowling action was based on heavy usage of both arm and shoulder, and so, his stock ball and the ‘doosra’ used to turn a lot, even in overseas pitches.
He finished as the highest wicket-taker in ODI cricket with 534 wickets, and still, that record remains untouched
He continues to serve as a good ambassador of cricket by grooming talents from all parts of the world.
- Matches – 350 | Wickets taken – 534 | Bowling average – 23.08
- Five-wicket hauls – 10 | Best bowling figures – 7/30
7. Kumar Sangakkara
Many people believe Sangakarra is the best left-handed best batsmen of all time, and his 14000 ODI runs prove that.
Gilchrist or a Dhoni – were both excellent keepers and destructive batsmen, but Sangakarra was way different.
Sangakarra was more of someone to build the innings to allow power hitters to come and finish well for the team
Along with Mahela Jayawardena, Sangakkara took Sri Lankan cricket to the next level as Sri Lanka ended as runners-up in 2007 and the 2011 World Cup.
Indeed, God never fulfilled his dream of winning the World Cup, but his run-scoring form never came to a halt
Many greats overplay themselves to achieve a milestone. But with him, the selection was always on merit.
- ODI Matches – 404 | ODI Runs – 14,234 | Batting average – 41.98
- Highest score – 169| 100s/50s – 25/93 | Dismissals inflicted – 501
8. Adam Gilchrist
It was Adam Gilchrist, along with Sanath Jayasuriya, who redefined the meaning of an ‘Opener’ in ODIs.
Not visually attractive yet effective – that’s Gilly for you. On his day, he even made the great bowlers look ordinary.
Gilly was an ultimate big match player and the only player to register a three fifty-plus score in the World Cup finals.
He was a gentleman both on and off the field, and he was someone who let his bat do the talking.
Not only that, behind the stumps, his 472 dismissals as a keeper also talks a lot about his wicket-keeping skills
The Australian side won three consecutive World Cups from 1999 to 2007, and Gilchrist had a significant role in all of them.
- ODI Matches – 287 | ODI Runs – 9,619 | Batting average – 35.89
- Strike rate – 96.94 | 100s/50s – 16/55 | Dismissals inflicted – 472
9. Wasim Akram
A master in the art of swing bowling, Wasim had great control over line and length.
He also had great control over the old ball as he could reverse the ball both ways.
This always made him a dangerous bowler, especially in the death overs when it comes to ODI cricket.
He had a fantastic bowling partnership with Waqar Younis and became the 1st bowler to cross 500 ODI wickets.
For all these achievements, Wisden rightly rated as the greatest ODI bowler of all time.
- ODI Matches – 356 | ODI Wickets – 502 | Bowling average – 23.52
- Best bowling figures – 5/15 | five-wicket hauls – 6 | Runs scored – 3,717
10. Yuvraj Singh
‘Player of the Tournament’ of the 2011 World Cup, Yuvraj Singh was one of the greatest ODI cricketers of all time.
An exceptional fielder, an absolute match-winner with the bat – Yuvraj is any captain’s dream to have in their team.
A natural stroke player, the only player to hit six consecutive 6s, he was India’s go-to man in run chases.
Be it India’s famous win at Lords or India’s successful 2011 World Cup – every time; it was Yuvraj who played a significant role in India’s victory.
Yuvraj, along with Mohammed Kaif, were the ones responsible for changing the fielding culture of India.
Yuvi was also successful with his slow left-arm bowling as he took 120 ODI wickets from 304 matches.
He had one five-wicket haul performance, and that too came in a World Cup match.
- ODI Matches – 304 | ODI Runs – 8,701 | Batting Average – 36.55
- 100s/50s – 14/52 | Best score – 150 | Wickets taken – 120