The ICC Cricket World Cup is the pinnacle event in the world of One Day International cricket. Since its inception in 1975, some of the greatest cricketers have left their mark on this prestigious tournament. According to the match preview, you will take a look at 10 players who have had the most outstanding careers in the ODI World Cup.
1. Sachin Tendulkar (India)
Undoubtedly one of the greatest batsmen to have played the game, Sachin Tendulkar had an illustrious career spanning 24 years. In six World Cup appearances between 1992-2011, Tendulkar amassed a staggering 2,278 runs at an average of 56.95. He scored six centuries and was the leading run-scorer in three editions – 1996, 1999 and 2003. Tendulkar almost single-handedly carried Team India on his shoulders many times and came agonizingly close to winning the cup in 2003, falling just short in the final. His dedication and passion for the game made him a hero for millions of fans worldwide.
2. Ricky Ponting (Australia)
Captain Cool, as he was known, was a masterful leader who led Australia to back-to-back World Cup triumphs in 2003 and 2007. As a batsman, Ponting was a prolific run-scorer who amassed 1,273 runs in 12 World Cup matches at an average of 60.61. He scored five centuries, including a match-winning 140 in the 2003 final against India. Ponting was a big match player who always stood up when his team needed him the most. His exploits helped Australia establish themselves as the most dominant ODI side of that era.
3. Sanath Jayasuriya (Sri Lanka)
The swashbuckling opener from Sri Lanka was a trailblazer who changed the way opening batting was approached in ODI cricket. In 25 World Cup matches, Jayasuriya amassed 1,349 runs at an average of 32.11 including four centuries. More than his runs, it was his fearless approach and ability to put opposition bowlers on the backfoot early that stood out. He was a key member of Sri Lanka’s World Cup winning squad in 1996, scoring an unbeaten century in the quarterfinals. Jayasuriya’s all-round exploits with both bat and ball made him one of the most influential ODI players ever.
4. Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka)
Widely regarded as one of the finest batsmen to play the game, Sangakkara was the backbone of Sri Lanka’s batting for over a decade. In 38 World Cup matches, he amassed 1,532 runs at an average of 52.06 including four centuries. Sangakkara was the leading run-scorer in the 2015 edition. More than his runs, it was his calm demeanour and ability to steer his team out of trouble that made him a valuable asset. Along with Mahela Jayawardene, he formed a formidable middle order partnership and played a key role in Sri Lanka’s title triumph in 1996 and runners-up finishes in 2007 and 2011.
5. Mahela Jayawardene (Sri Lanka)
The elegant right-handed batsman was the perfect foil to Kumar Sangakkara in Sri Lanka’s golden era. In 48 World Cup matches, Jayawardene amassed 1,889 runs at an average of 44.05 including six centuries. He was a big match player who often played match-winning knocks for his team. Along with Sangakkara, he formed the backbone of Sri Lanka’s batting and was their leading run-scorer in the 2007 edition where they finished runners-up. Jayawardene also led Sri Lanka to the final in 2011. His astute captaincy and classy batting made him one of the best ODI all-rounders of his generation.
6. Adam Gilchrist (Australia)
The explosive left-handed wicketkeeper-batsman from Australia changed the way wicketkeeping batting was looked at. In his eight World Cup appearances between 1999-2007, Gilchrist blasted 1,085 runs at an average of 35.50 including four centuries. More than his runs, it was his ability to take the game away from the opposition in the blink of an eye that made him such an impactful player. Gilchrist’s pyrotechnics played a key role in Australia’s successive World Cup triumphs in 1999, 2003 and 2007. He was a match-winner who could single-handedly turn a game on its head.
7. AB de Villiers (South Africa)
The 360-degree batting genius from South Africa was simply a joy to watch in his prime. In his six World Cup appearances between 2003-2015, de Villiers amassed 902 runs at an average of 60.13 including four centuries. More than his runs, it was his ability to effortlessly switch gears and take the game away from the opposition that stood out. He played some of the most incredible innings in World Cup cricket but could not convert his individual brilliance into team success. However, de Villiers’ exploits with the bat made him one of the most watchable and entertaining batsmen of the modern era.
8. Inzamam-ul-Haq (Pakistan)
The burly right-handed batsman from Pakistan was a masterful run-scorer and shrewd captain. In his five World Cup appearances between 1992-2007, Inzamam amassed 873 runs at an average of 53.31 including two centuries. More than his runs, it was his ability to steer his team out of trouble with calm and composed knocks that stood out. He played a key role in Pakistan’s title triumph in 1992 and was their leading run-scorer in the 1999 and 2003 editions. Inzamam’s exploits with the bat and leadership skills made him one of the finest all-round ODI cricketers Pakistan has ever produced.
9. Wasim Akram (Pakistan)
The Sultan of Swing was arguably the greatest left-arm pacer of all time. In his five World Cup appearances between 1987-1999, Akram snapped 55 wickets at an average of 25.09 and an economy rate of 4.52. He could swing the ball both ways at searing pace and was a constant threat to the opposition batting. Akram played a key role in Pakistan’s 1992 World Cup triumph where he was their leading wicket-taker. His match-winning spells repeatedly helped Pakistan win tight games. Akram’s skills with the ball made him the most feared bowler of his generation.
10. Muttiah Muralitharan (Sri Lanka)
The greatest bowler in ODI history, Muralitharan redefined what was possible for a spinner in the limited-overs format. In his seven World Cup appearances between 1996-2011, Murali snapped 65 wickets at an average of 24.12 and an economy rate of 3.79. He was the leading wicket-taker in three editions – 1999, 2003 and 2007. Muralitharan’s ability to consistently take wickets in the middle overs and choke the run flow made him a vital asset for Sri Lanka. His exploits played a big role in Sri Lanka’s title triumph in 1996 and runners-up finishes in 2007 and 2011. Muralitharan’s greatness with the ball cemented his place as one of the finest World Cup cricketers ever.
While there were many other greats who left their mark, As seen in odi world cup highlights these 10 players stand out as the best performers based on the impact and match-winning contributions they made in the biggest stage of ODI cricket – the ICC Cricket World Cup. Their exploits with both bat and ball repeatedly helped their teams win tight games and titles over the years.
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