The 10 Most Thrilling ODI Matches Of Cricket History
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The 10 Most Thrilling ODI Matches Of Cricket History

January 5, 1971, is the day when it all started. That is the day when the first-ever One Day International (ODI) cricket match was played between England and Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, and the rest is history. Now, 49 years later, over 4200 ODI cricket matches have been played. In the span of 49 years, 12 World Cups have taken place with six different World Champions. In this period, the ODI format has given us some nail-biting finishes, outstanding performances, and some extremely shocking wins.

In cricket, ODI match duration is about 8 hours. It is fascinating if you realize how much happens in these few hours. With such a long and rich history, it becomes almost impossible to list the best ODI cricket matches ever. However, we have taken this challenge and compiled a cricket ODI match list with the most thrilling ODI matches of cricket history. We are aware of the fact that such a selection is very subjective and you probably have a top ten list of your own. Having said that, our list is formed based on importance, drama, cricket ODI match score and performances of individuals and teams. Now, without further ado, here is our list of the ten most thrilling ODI matches of cricket history.

10. Pakistan vs. India, Austral-Asia Cup, Sharjah, 1986

On April 18, 1986, we got to see the famous cricketing and political adversaries, India and Pakistan, against one another in the final ODI cricket match of the Austral-Asia Cup. India, a one-time ODI World Cup winner at that time, batted first and managed to score 245 runs whereas Pakistan fielded first in the scorching heat of theUnited Arab Emirates. Even with the ball, the Indian cricket team performed well as they were 89 runs ahead with 10 overs remaining. Then Javed Miandad came to bat. Considered as one of the greatest batsmen to come out of Pakistan, Javed Miandad stole the lead away from India by making 110 runs off 113 balls. Towards the end, when only one ball was remaining, India needed one wicket whereas Pakistan needed four runs to win. And then, on the last ball, Miandad gave us his legendary boundary where he struck the ball into the crowd and scored another six runs for Pakistan, winning the first ODI trophy for his country.

9. Australia vs. South Africa, 5th ODI, Johannesburg, 2006

Before this ODI match, most of the people were on Australia's side because the Australian cricket team had been beating the South African cricket team very frequently earlier that season. And this particular ODI held great importance for both sides as each team had won two of the first four matches. Also, both the teams did not have their key players, Glenn McGrath (Australia) and Shaun Pollock (South Africa), for the match. Batting first, Australia gave a gigantic target of 435 runs—an ODI run record at that time—to South Africa. A large number of runs made everyone think that it was all over for the South African team; however, the team did the impossible. The South African players responded to the Aussies with a record of their own, making 438 runs with one spare ball and a wicket in hand in the end.

South African Batsman trying to hit a boundary
Picture: South African Batsman trying to hit a boundary (Picture Credit: Pinterest)

8. Ireland vs Zimbabwe, ICC Cricket World Cup, Hobart, 2015

Zimbabwe started this match by winning the toss and choosing to bat. The decision turned out to be costly as Ireland played remarkably and scored 331 runs for 8 in the first innings. In the second innings, Zimbabwe came to bat and did not start well as it made only 74 runs at the cost of 4 wickets. Then long fifth-wicket partnership between Brendan Taylor and Sean Williams took place where the players made 149 runs together, giving massive hopes to the Zimbabwe supporters. Unfortunately, when Taylor lost his wicket at 121 runs, more wickets began to fall. Zimbabwe lost their last wicket after making 326 runs on the third last ball of the innings. Finally, Ireland won the match only by 5 runs.

7. India vs. Sri Lanka, 1st ODI, Rajkot, 2009

India, having the home advantage and batting first, scored 414 runs against Sri Lanka. Virender Sehwag played remarkably by scoring 146 runs off only 102 balls in this match. India scored its highest ODI total in this match which made everyone think that the match is in India’s hand. However, the Sri Lankan players gave a tough competition to India as Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara and Upul Tharanga made most of the runs out of the 316 runs that the team made. Needing only 89 runs from 78 balls, Sri Lanka had eight wickets to spare. However, they lost three important wickets in the next four overs. Sri Lanka still managed to score enough to need only 15 runs from 12 balls. But Zaheer Khan took two more wickets in the second last over, and the Lankans could only score seven runs in the final over. Even though Sri Lanka lost the match, it gave a tough competition to India who won the match by only three runs.

6. India vs. South Africa, 1st ODI, Green Park, Kanpur, 2015

Choosing to bat first, South Africa presented an amazing show of batting where the team made 303 runs in the first innings under the captaincy of AB de Villiers who himself made an unbeaten 104 off 73 balls. At first, India seemed to be doing fine when Rohit Sharma made a brilliant 150 off 133 balls; however, the match became intense when he lost his wicket in the 47th over and India needed 35 runs to win with six wickets in hand. Due to South Africa’s sensational bowling, the Indian innings ended at 298 runs for 7, and South Africa won the match by five runs only. 

Indian Batsman trying to score runs. Indian is currently the most followed team in the world
Picture: Indian Batsman trying to score runs. Indian is currently the most followed team in the world (Picture Credit: Pinterest)

5. South Africa vs Australia, World Cup Semi-Final, Edgbaston, 1999

South Africa started this match by winning the toss and choosing to field, letting the Australians bat first. Shaun Pollock (South Africa) bowled 5 for 36, helping to limit Australia to 213. Australia responded with their bowling legends, such as Shane Warne who went 4 for 29. Finally, South Africa also scored 213 runs in their innings. South Africa could have won the match, but Lance Klusener tried for a run while his partner, Allan Donald, stayed in place at the end. A run-out took place, and the match was drawn. The Aussies reached final based on them performing better in the initial stages.

4. Australia vs. West Indies, 5th ODI, Sydney, 1996

Due to bad weather, this match was reduced to 43 overs an innings for both teams, and West Indies scored a respectable 173 run target which should have been enough with their outstanding bowling attack at that time. Although Australia struggled initially, Michael Bevan 78 runs innings lead the team to a memorable victory where a boundary was needed in the last ball and Bevan managed to get it. The crowd went wild as the Aussies won by only 1 wicket.

3. England vs. India, NatWest Series Final ODI, London, 2002

Having won the coin toss, England chose to bat first. England, making the most of their innings, hit for a massive 325 runs that were possible due to the centuries of Marcus Trescothick and Nasser Hussain. India replied with an unforgettable presentation of batting. The Indian side scored three half-centuries as it chased down the English target. Such a big total had never been chased before, but India still did it successfully and won the final by two wickets in hand and three remaining balls.

2. Australia vs. New Zealand, Chappell-Hadlee Trophy, 3rd ODI, Hamilton, 2007

Heading into the 3rd and final ODI, New Zealand was leading by 2-0 in the series. Despite not having a few of their main players, Australia scored 346 runs that included a fantastic knock by Matthew Hayden who made 181 runs. All six Kiwi bowlers could take only five wickets. In the second innings, no Kiwi batsman could play like Hayden. However, Craig McMillan’s 117, Brendon McCullum’s 86 and Peter Fulton’s half-century got New Zealand the trophy as the team’s total touched 350.

Australian Batsman trying to hit the ball
Picture: Australian Batsman trying to hit the ball (Picture Credit: Pinterest)

1. India vs. Pakistan, Asia Cup, Dhaka, 2014

In this nail-biting match between the life-long rivals, India batted first. With three half-centuries, the Indian side managed to raise their total to 245 for 8 in 50 overs. Being a highly unpredictable team, no one could tell if the match was in Pakistan’s hands. The whole Pakistani batting line, especially Mohammad Hafeez with his 75 runs, contributed decently to the overall score. In the final 5 balls, Pakistan had only one wicket in hand and needed 10 runs to win. At such a situation, Shahid Afridi hit the boundary twice consecutively scoring twelve runs and won the match for Pakistan.

Hope you like our list of the best ODI matches to have ever been played in Cricket and if you make bets on ODI format, overview our ODI Match Predictions for your bet selections.

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