The ODI (One Day International) World Cup is one of the most prestigious tournaments in cricket. According to the cricket related news, since its inception in 1975, the World Cup has seen some brilliant batting performances from the best batsmen across generations. In this blog, you will take a look some of the best ODI batsmen who have stamped their authority in World Cup cricket over the years.
When Virat Kohli hangs up his boots, he will likely go down as one of the greatest ODI batsmen never to have won a World Cup. Kohli announced himself on the World Cup stage in 2011 when he smashed an aggressive 83 against Pakistan. However, it was the 2015 edition where he really set the stage on fire. Kohli aggregated 465 runs from 8 innings at an average of 58.12, winning man of the tournament honours despite India crashing out in the semis.
The 2019 World Cup seemed destined to be Kohli’s crowning glory. He smashed 5 consecutive half centuries, some at crucial moments, showing immense appetite for big matches. While he missed out on his 3-figure mark, his total of 443 runs from 9 innings at an astounding average of 55.37 once again underscored his World Cup brilliance. Though India faltered at the finish line again in 2019, Kohli enhanced his reputation as a dominant World Cup batsman. Going ahead to 2023, Kohli will be extremely motivated to capture the one trophy missing from his glittering cabinet.
Ricky Ponting was one of the most successful captains and prolific run-scorers in ODI history. It is hardly surprising then that some of Ponting’s best batting moments came in the cauldron of World Cup cricket. Making his World Cup debut in 1996, Ponting became one of only 5 players to be involved in three World Cup winning campaigns – in 1999, 2003 and 2007.
In the 2003 edition, Ponting stamped his authority with a tournament high of 1406 runs from 14 matches at an average of 84. Ponting registered 4 centuries and a fifty, including a blistering unbeaten 140 against India in the final. At the 2007 World Cup, Ponting continued his love affair, scoring 539 runs from 11 matches at an average of 67.37. Though he did not score a century, his brisk 104 in the final against Sri Lanka capped off Australia’s hat-trick of World Cup titles. Across 5 World Cup campaigns from 1996 to 2011, the aggressive Aussie amassed 1743 runs, finishing as the 3rd highest run scorer in tournament history.
AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers will be best remembered as one of the most versatile and destructive batsmen to have played the game. And while South Africa continued to falter in ICC tournaments, de Villiers enhanced his reputation as one of the finest World Cup batsmen. He stamped his class in his maiden World Cup appearance in 2011, playing crucial knocks like 107 against West Indies and 134 against Ireland.
In the 2015 edition, on pitches not conducive to batting, de Villiers registered consecutive tons against West Indies and Ireland. He finished with 482 runs from 8 matches at a stunning average of 96.40, delivering eye-catching shots all around the park. Although South Africa bowed out in heartbreaking fashion yet again in 2015, de Villiers showed he had the armoury to pulverize any bowling attack on his day. Across two World Cups, his record of 877 runs from 17 innings at over 68 illustrates why he is regarded as one of the most complete ODI batsmen of the modern era.
Viv Richards is considered by many as the greatest ODI batsman from the game’s early era, renowned for his aggressive and fearless style of play. It is no wonder some of his most enthralling innings came in the marquee event. Richards made his World Cup debut in the inaugural 1975 edition and stamped his mark immediately, scoring over 300 runs.
But it was the 1979 World Cup where he really left an everlasting memory. In a tense final against England, Richards played one of the most iconic ODI knocks ever – an unbeaten 138 off 157 balls on a tricky surface. He took the attack to the Englishmen in inimitable style, snatching an improbable win to give West Indies their second World Cup. Through the short ball barrage from Bob Willis and Ian Botham, Richards stood tall with his trademark swagger. His innings that night at Lord’s is still counted among the finest played in ODI cricket, illustrating his champion qualities.
Brian Lara will go down as one of the most stylish and dominating batsmen of all eras. While Lara did not taste World Cup glory, he produced several innings of the highest caliber in cricket’s showpiece event. After modest returns in 1996, Lara announced himself in World Cups with three back-to-back centuries in 2003. He smashed 116 against South Africa, 109 against Australia, and 103 against Sri Lanka, playing innings of grace and authority.
In 2007, he registered his 4th World Cup ton – a well-paced 116 to take West Indies to an imposing total against hosts West Indies. Across 4 World Cups between 1996 and 2007, Lara scored over 1000 runs at an average in excess of 40, underlining his penchant for top-class bowling attacks. Even today, Brian Lara remains one of the most watchable batsmen to have graced the World Cup stage.
Chris Gayle will go down as one of the most destructive openers in ODI cricket history. Ever since his World Cup debut in 2003, Gayle has thrilled fans with his towering sixes and quickfire centuries. While his initial World Cup exploits were quiet, Gayle announced himself in 2007 with a breathtaking knock against South Africa – 117 off 81 balls. He took the Proteas’ world-class attack to the cleaners in a sign of things to come.
However, Gayle reserved his best for the 2015 edition. At 35 years of age, he smashed a sensational double century against Zimbabwe – the first ever in World Cups – propelling Windies to 373. He also registered a classy 161 against the same opponent, finishing as the leading run-getter of the tournament. Across 5 World Cups from 2003-2019, Chris Gayle compiled over 1000 runs at an average of 35, leaving behind many a ruined bowling figure in his wake.
One of Sri Lanka’s greatest ever batsmen, Kumar Sangakkara reserved his best for the World Cup stage. Sanga finished as the leading run scorer and man of the tournament in the 2015 edition where Sri Lanka made it to the quarter finals. He smashed 4 consecutive tons against Bangladesh, England, Australia and Scotland, carrying his bat with aplomb.
MS Dhoni will be best remembered as the captain who led India to their famous 2011 World Cup triumph after 28 long years. However, Dhoni was also one of India’s best batsmen in ODI World Cups over the years. Making his debut in 2007, Dhoni stamped his authority with a dazzling 183 off 145 balls against Sri Lanka. His whirlwind ton remains the highest score by a wicket-keeper in World Cups.
Hashim Amla will be remembered as one of South Africa’s most prolific ODI batsmen and also among the game’s most stylish willow wielders. A picture of consistency, Amla took a liking to World Cup cricket in particular, aggregating over 1000 runs across 3 editions. After a dream run in the 2013 Champions Trophy, big things were expected off Amla at the 2015 World Cup. He lived up to expectations, smashing 159 against West Indies and a series of other impactful fifties throughout the campaign.
The ODI World Cup has seen several memorable performances from champion batsmen over nearly 5 decades. As this blog illustrates, batting legends like Viv Richards, Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting and Brian Lara have stamped their authority at various points. As per news cricket news, in recent years, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Kumar Sangakkara and Chris Gayle have taken World Cup batting to unprecedented levels with their wide range of strokes. And whether it was Jayasuriya and Sangakkara in the 90s or Amla and Kohli in modern times, class has always risen to the top in cricket’s showpiece tournament.