Stats Analysis

The best ODI batting and bowling performances of all time

Despite all the recent advances in ODI batting, the top performance in batting and bowling each came more than 30 years ago

"Sometimes I got into difficult positions with God. There was Victor Trumper for example, next to MacLaren and Spooner my most adored. He was an Australian and I was a patriotic English lad. I wanted him always to score a century, but I also wanted England to get him out first ball and win the match. Obviously, I realised, it would be unreasonable to expect God to do for me these two things at one and the same time; for even He could not make Trumper score a century and be defeated first ball; there were, I knew, limits to Divine Power, and I was reasonable enough not to embarrass God, so I reflected carefully about it, and presented my petition in the most accommodating terms I could think of: "Please God, let Victor Trumper score a century for Australia against England - out of a total of 137 all out." - Neville Cardus in Autobiography (1947)
A year after the Wisden 100 tables, ranking the top hundred performances in Test cricket were released in 2002, the ODI Wisden 100, developed by me, was released by Wisden Online. Last year I released completely revised Test Player performance rankings lists and named it GW25 (Golden Willow 25) and RC25 (Red Cherry 25). As the World Cup draws near, I feel it's time to also revamp my ODI performance ratings.
My approach towards ODI ratings earlier was totally different to that for the Test ratings. I developed a base value, based on the runs scored, and created multiplying values, either side of 1.0, for each parameter used. The final ratings value was a multiplicative derivation, with the base value being multiplied by all the derived parameter values.
For quite some time I have thought that this is not the correct method, since the values change quite dramatically. However, I was content to let it be since the final tables were very sound. But now I think the time has come for me to do the ODI performance ratings on the same additive basis as the Test ratings, which is tried and proven beyond any doubt. The only multiplicative aspect retained is on the Match Importance Index.
The two tables are called FW20 (Flashing Willow 20) and WC20 (White Cherry 20). I have 20 entries, mainly to distinguish these from the Test tables. The one other major difference is that the ODI Performance Ratings index values are on a scale of 1 to 100, rather than 1 to 1000. A scaling factor has been used to get the batting and bowling performances on a comparable platform. The top values (scaled up to around 90.0), the top 20 averages, the top 100 averages, the averages across all performances, all have been worked out and confirm this important equalisation.

FW20: ODI Batting Performance Ratings

To start, a summary and brief descriptions of the parameters. Some of the parameter values are scaled down proportionately for sub-50 innings. This is essential because it is incorrect to assign a Bowling Quality parameter value of, say, 10.0, to innings of 189 and 7. The analysis is current up to ODI No. 4133, the recent ODI run feast between England and Pakistan at the Rose Bowl.
The parameters used in the FW20 analysis
Since I am covering batting, bowling and all-round performances together, this article got very long, and I hived off some material into other files for interested readers to peruse. To view the batting parameter details, click here.
BP = Batting Position; LOC = Location (home/away/neutral)
1. Viv Richards, 189 not out v England, Old Trafford, 1984
Richards got in at 11 for 2, saw a procession of batsmen depart at the other end, saw the score at 102 for 7, and then at 166 for 9. He added 106 for the last wicket with Michael Holding. The 189 not out (off 170 balls, with 26 boundaries, in a team total of 272) was made off a potent English attack. The other batsmen managed 73 runs altogether. This innings scores very well on all the parameters and is placed at the top. In fact, Richards' classic and Gary Gilmour's 6 for 14 have stayed in the top places in the 17 years that my rankings have been around, starting as the ODI Wisden 100.
2. Kapil Dev, 175 not out v Zimbabwe, Tunbridge Wells, 1983 Kapil got in at 9 for 4, saw the score go down to 78 for 7 and 140 for 8, and finished on 175, having taken India to 266 for 8. A loss would have meant an almost certain exit from the World Cup, and no glory on the day of the final. It only took Kapil 138 balls to score 175. These two innings by Richards and Kapil, played within an year of each other, are eerily similar and will take the top two places almost always.
3. Adam Gilchrist, 149 v Sri Lanka, World Cup final, Bridgetown, 2007
Gilchrist opened the innings and took the match away from Sri Lanka within the first 20 overs. The bowling attack was a very good one - Vaas, Malinga, Murali - but Gilchrist took only 104 balls to score 149. This was a rain-affected game and Australia's run rate of over seven an over was essential to win. The next highest score of the match was 63.
4. Viv Richards, 138 not out v England, World Cup final, Lord's, 1979
Richards played a totally different innings to Gilchrist's in the final of the 1979 World Cup. Coming in at 22 for 1, he anchored West Indies' innings. His 138 not out was slower than Gilchrist's 149 but invaluable in helping West Indies reach a match-winning total, although the final impetus was provided by Collis King's swashbuckling 86. The English bowling was good. The match importance index was an imposing 125%.
5. Saeed Anwar, 194 v India, Chennai, 1997
Anwar's record-setting 194 came in a Pakistan total of 327. The next best score of the innings was 39. The Indian attack was not very strong but the performance counts a lot for having come in an away win.
6. Sanath Jayasuriya, 189 v India, Coca Cola Champions Trophy final, Sharjah, 2000
Jayasuriya demolished India almost single-handedly in this 161-ball innings in a Sharjah final. He saw the score slump to 116 for 4 before adding 166 with Russell Arnold, whose 52 was the next best score of the match. That India responded with only 54 matters little while evaluating this tour de force.
7. Martin Guptill, 237 not out v West Indies, World Cup quarter-final, Wellington, 2015
Guptill's was a bulldozer of an innings and was important because it came in a knockout World Cup game. He needed only 163 balls.
8. Aravinda de Silva, 107 not out v Australia, World Cup final, Lahore, 1996
De Silva scored the only hundred while chasing in a World Cup final. The Australian innings never really got going and their 241 was below par. However, their bowling, led by Glenn McGrath, was a formidable one and soon Sri Lanka were struggling at 23 for 2. The classy hundred from de Silva, with support from Asanka Gurusinha, took Sri Lanka home rather comfortably.
9. David Gower, 158 v New Zealand, Brisbane, 1983
Gower's innings was a classic of the 1980s, when 250 used to be a winning score. That England scored 267 was due to his magnificent 118-ball effort. A single comparison is enough to define the value of this innings: Gower's colleagues scored 90 in 189 balls.
10. Shai Hope, 146 not out v Bangladesh, Dhaka, 2018
Bangladesh are a tough team to beat in their own backyard. Their 255 was a competitive total since their bowling attack was very good. Hope opened the innings and, with minimal support, took West Indies home, scoring nearly 60% of their total. It was a run-a-ball innings while the other batsmen scratched around to score 98 in 154 balls.
The next ten innings in the FW20 list are:
15. Paul Stirling, 177 v Canada, Toronto, 2010
16. Sanath Jayasuriya, 151 not out v India, Mumbai, 1997
19. Thisara Perera, 80 not out v Bangladesh, Dhaka, 2014 (This is the only sub-100 innings in the list)
20. Marcus Stoinis, 146 not out v New Zealand, Auckland, 2017 (The only innings in a losing cause in the list)
BatsmanRtgPtsVsRuns(Balls)InRLOBowQIVIPSIRpW-M
Viv Richards (WI) 90.40Eng189*(170)11/217431.915.63.0223.2
Kapil Dev (IND) 89.65Zim175*(138) 9/418927.615.73.8027.8
Adam Gilchrist (AUS) 83.35Sl 149 (104) 0/0 034.010.12.4041.3
Viv Richards (WI) 83.26Eng138*(157)22/1 3437.2 6.72.2025.3
Saeed Anwar (PAK) 80.93Ind194 (146) 0/0 030.611.44.2441.3
S Jayasuriya (SL) 79.19Ind189 (161) 0/0 030.510.82.8023.5
Martin Guptill (NZ) 78.96Wi 237*(163) 0/0 2826.511.53.2040.2
A de Silva (SL) 78.27Aus107*(124)23/2 036.4 5.43.1248.6
David Gower (ENG) 76.43Nz 158 (118)26/1 035.512.83.3030.0
Shai Hope (WI) 76.37Bd 146*(144) 0/0 7130.111.64.2639.3
MS Dhoni (IND) 76.26Sl 183*(145) 7/1 034.811.04.8275.1
Shane Watson (AUS) 75.88Bd 185*( 96) 0/0 027.614.02.9257.6
Rohit Sharma (IND) 75.86Sl 264 (173) 0/0 029.510.43.1243.7
Graham Gooch (ENG) 74.80Ind115 (136) 0/0 031.6 6.82.8829.6
Paul Stirling (IRE) 74.69Can177 (134) 0/0 028.612.24.1431.0
S Jayasuriya (SL) 74.53Ind151*(120) 0/0 030.612.32.8237.8
Andrew Symonds (AUS) 74.35Pak143*(125)86/4 9435.3 8.22.7629.9
Clive Lloyd (WI) 74.13Aus102 ( 85)50/3 032.0 7.61.5631.4
Thissara Perera (SL) 74.05Bd 80*( 57)64/711628.6 8.42.3217.4
Marcus Stoinis (AUS) 73.98Nz 146*(117)54/521329.111.33.5029.8
A few interesting points:
- Stoinis added 213 runs with the late-order batsmen
- Note the position at which Kapil Dev entered - 9 for 4. However, this pales before Perera's 64 for 7
- Only eight batsmen in the FW20 have benefited from the "Runs with late-order batsmen" parameter
- In his innings of 138 not out, Richards faced the toughest bowling group in the list, while Guptill faced the easiest
- Dhoni had an excellent pitch to bat on while Perera had the most difficult one
- Dhoni's innings has the highest Partnership Index in this collection
- There are 14 first-innings efforts and only six from second innings. This is understandable since many second innings become either easy chases or wins by huge run margins
- Ten of the top 20 innings have been played by openers
- Australia, West Indies and Sri Lanka have four players each in this list
- There are eight performances from World Cups. Perfectly understandable, since the match valuation is higher
- Nine of the 20 innings were played before 2000, including the top two
- Four match-winning hundreds in World Cup finals have found a place in the list
- Richards and Jayasuriya are the only batsmen to have two performances each in the list
The next five entries are:
David Warner's 156 against New Zealand in 2016, Sourav Ganguly's 141 against Pakistan in 2000, Guptill's away masterpiece of 189 not out in England in 2013, Virender Sehwag's atypical match-winning classic of 112 against New Zealand in 2003, and Kane Williamson's 145 against South Africa in 2013.

WC20: Bowling Performance Ratings

Some of the parameter values are scaled down proportionately for bowling spells in which only zero, one or two wickets are taken. This is essential because it is incorrect to assign the same Batting Quality parameter value of, say, 10.0, to spells of 5 for 51 and 1 for 35.
1. Gary Gilmour, 6 for 14 v England, World Cup semi-final, Headingley, 1975
Gilmour took the first six wickets to fall for very few runs and finished with the incredible analysis of 12-6-14-6. All six batsmen fell for single figures. During thousands of runs of my ODI Ratings programs in the past 15 years, this performance has never gone off the top place. The importance of the match, the quality of batsmen dismissed, and the economy of the spell together have made this performance virtually unbeatable.
2. Andy Bichel, 7 for 20 v England, World Cup, Port Elizabeth, 2003
Bichel's spell was almost identical to that of Gilmour's in that he too dismissed the top six batsmen. That a bowler of the calibre of Brett Lee had figures of 9-0-58-0 in the match tells the true story. In addition, both Gilmour and Bichel had to produce run-a-ball batting cameos to take their sides home in tense chases.
3. Kuldeep Yadav, 6 for 25 v England, Trent Bridge, 2018
Kuldeep dismissed five top-order English batsmen. His accuracy was phenomenal, especially the relative economy rate values - 2.5, compared to the team's 5.83, in an away match. Finally, this spell came against perhaps the all-time greatest batting team.
4. Aaqib Javed, 7 for 37 v India, Wills Trophy final, Sharjah, 1991
Bowling with the weight of 262 runs behind him, Aaqib was unplayable. The strong Indian batting line-up was completely at sea. Both Mohammad Azharuddin and Sachin Tendulkar were trapped lbw first ball.
5. Waqar Younis, 7 for 36 v England, Headingley, 2001
Waqar single-handedly reduced England to 51 for 6 in this match-winning away performance.
6. Tim Southee, 7 for 33 v England, World Cup, Wellington, 2015
Southee made the strong England line-up look like novices, dismissing the openers and five middle/late-order batsmen for low scores. The emphatic win put New Zealand well on their way to the final.
7. Joel Garner, 5 for 38 v England, World Cup final, Lord's, 1979
Garner had the cushion of a good total due to the sterling efforts of Richards and King. His 5 for 38 was not necessarily a defining spell, like the others on this list, but the importance of the World Cup final cannot be ignored, nor can the fact that he dismissed Graham Gooch, David Gower and Wayne Larkins, which tilted the scales. This is the only bowling performance in a World Cup final to make the cut.
8. Wasim Akram, 5 for 21 v Australia, Melbourne, 1985
Akram had a middling score of 262 behind him, but he dismissed the top five batsmen for scores of 10, 2, 11, 11 and 1 to pave the way for a tough away win. Australia slumped to 42 for 5, so it was surprising that Akram did not complete his spell, especially since the late-order batsmen made merry.
9. Scott Styris, 6 for 25 v West Indies, Port-of-Spain, 2002
Styris had only 212 runs to defend (of which he had made 63 not out) against a strong West Indian side. His six-for included Brian Lara for 0, Ramnaresh Sarwan for 2, and Wavell Hinds for 4. These prize wickets and the fact that this was an away win pushed his performance into the top ten.
10. Ajantha Mendis, 6 for 13 v India, Asia Cup final, Karachi, 2008
Mendis was unplayable in 2008 and India felt the heat the most - first, in Tests in Sri Lanka, and then in this match. Bowling in defence of a fair total of 273, Mendis took six wickets at a very low cost of 13 runs. This included four top-order wickets. This match also has a higher match importance index, being a final.
The next ten bowling performances in the WC20 list are:
16. Junaid Khan, 4 for 43 v India, Chennai, 2012 (This is the only four-wicket spell on the list)
17. Muttiah Muralitharan, 5 for 34 v England, Lord's 1998
BowlerRtgPtsVsAnalysisBatQSWQBE-RBS-RRpW-M
Gary Gilmour (AUS) 89.28Eng12.0-6-14-629.345.72.3 3.011.7
Andy Bichel (AUS) 87.78Eng10.0-0-20-737.042.32.228.025.8
Aaqib Javed (PAK) 85.83Ind10.0-1-37-736.748.01.0 8.428.2
Waqar Younis (PAK) 84.30Eng10.0-0-36-736.353.30.8 8.222.1
Tim Southee (NZ) 82.94Eng 9.0-0-33-740.845.60.9 6.320.7
Joel Garner (WI) 82.46Eng11.0-0-38-531.728.91.0 3.625.3
Wasim Akram (PAK) 81.88Aus 8.0-1-21-533.641.01.8 4.328.9
Scott Styris (NZ) 81.84Wi 7.0-0-25-637.541.11.7 7.429.6
Ajantha Mendis (SL) 81.83Ind 8.0-1-13-642.743.03.1 5.922.3
Rashid Khan (AFG) 81.20Wi 8.4-1-18-733.733.61.5 9.722.6
Shahid Afridi (PAK) 81.19Wi 9.0-3-12-737.235.41.6 8.316.9
Naved-ul-Hasan (PAK) 80.93Ind 8.4-1-27-641.941.91.7 5.728.0
Mitchell Starc (AUS) 80.18Ind10.0-2-43-643.242.11.212.038.3
Colin Croft (WI) 79.82Eng 9.0-4-15-633.135.11.6 6.612.6
Junaid Khan (PAK) 79.79Ind 9.0-1-43-445.542.40.8 9.145.5
M Muralitharan (SL) 79.65Eng10.0-0-34-533.929.41.5 6.739.7
Ashish Nehra (IND) 78.59Eng10.0-2-23-637.032.61.6 5.322.0
Shane Bond (NZ) 78.41Ind 9.0-3-19-639.143.12.3 4.718.9
Shaun Pollock (SA) 78.39Aus 9.2-1-36-539.428.51.0 4.321.3
A few interesting points:
- The only match-winning five-wicket haul in a World Cup final, Garner's 5 for 38, is a new entrant in the WC20
- In Junaid's 4 for 43 against India, he dismissed India's top four batsmen for the combined total of ten runs
- The highest SWQ (Spell Wicket Quality) is for Waqar Younis' 7 for 36
- Junaid had the toughest pitch to bowl on, and Gilmour the most bowler-friendly one
- Mendis' performance has the best Economy Rate comparison
- Bichel's' performance has the best Strike Rate comparison
- There are nine first-innings efforts and 11 from second innings. This is understandable since many second innings are decided by bowlers bowling well to defend middling totals
- Only five of the top 20 spells are by spinners. It is true that across the years, a lot more overs have been bowled and a lot more wickets taken by pace bowlers than spinners overall
- Pakistan have always been a great bowling side and they have six entries in the list
- There are six performances from World Cups in the list - somewhat fewer than on the batting list
- Seven of the 20 performances are from matches played before 2000
- The highest-placed three-wicket haul is that of Mohammad Amir, whose 3 for 16 in the 2017 Champions' Trophy final of 2017 is in the top 50. Madan Lal's 3 for 31 in the 1983 World Cup final is just outside the top 50
- Bond's spell of 6 for 23 against Australia in the 2003 World Cup is the highest-placed performance (41st) that came in a loss for the bowler's team
- Murali is the only bowler to have two performances in the top 25
The five bowling performances just outside the WC20 list are: Richard Hadlee's away classic of 5 for 26 against Australia in 1981, Ewen Chatfield's 5 for 34 against Australia in 1980, Michael Holding's 5 for 26 against Australia in 1985, Shoaib Akhtar's 5 for 25 against Australia in 2002, and Murali's 7 for 30 against India in 2000.
We will now move on to the all-round performances.
Aravinda de Silva's 107 not out and 3 for 42 in the 1996 World Cup 1996 final is the best all-round performance in ODIs.
Afridi's 76 and 7 for 12 against West Indies in 2013 is in second place.
Richards' 189 not out and 2 for 45 against England in 1984 secures the third place.
Sachin Tendulkar's ICC Champions Trophy performance (141 and 4 for 38), Gilmour's match-winning all-round show in the 1975 semi-final, Kapil's masterclasses at Tunbridge Wells, and Richards' 119 and 5 for 41 against New Zealand in Dunedin in 1987 also find their way in. It is interesting to note that Richards and Afridi have two performances each in this table of excellence.
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Anantha Narayanan has written for ESPNcricinfo and CastrolCricket and worked with a number of companies on their cricket performance ratings-related systems