Finishers in cricket are crucial in helping their team to cross the winning line. In the limited-over format of the game, they have evolved into the match-winners for each side. Games are decided by incredibly small margins, making a batsman who can handle pressure to lead the team to victory invaluable. Most teams look for players who can bat sensibly according to the match situation, hit the ball hard and score a lot of runs quickly towards the end of an inning. Finishers are highly valued because they have the potential to significantly influence the outcome of a game. There have been some best finisher in the world who have played many memorable match-winning innings.
Here’s a list of Top 10 Best Finisher In The World –
1. Michael Bevan
Michael Bevan is undoubtedly the best finisher in the world to have ever played the ODI format of the game. Michael Bevan introduced the word “finisher” into the cricket dictionary with a series of match winning performances. A deliberate and methodical batsman who planned out game scenarios and field placement and developed a strategy to victory on the game’s final ball. His ability to save the team from disaster after a top-order failure was the finest aspect of his game. Bevan was always there to save Australian team in gold when Australia was facing impending defeat.
He played lot of match winning innings throughout his career, leading Australia to seemingly unattainable victories and pulling off victories that were never theirs. His 6912 runs at an average of 53.58 were scored in 232 matches and 196 ODI innings. With Bevan out there at the centre, Australia’s chances of winning the game significantly improved. He played in 232 ODIs, winning 155 and losing just 71. This implies that with Bevan in the starting XI, Australia won nearly 67% of their matches. At number six, which is regarded as the difficult spot to bat in ODI cricket, he scored the majority of his runs. Bevan scored 3006 runs at the position, averaging 56.71 runs per match.
Even today, when there are short boundaries, big bats and most of the rules that favour the batsmen, not many in world cricket have come close to Bevan’s ODI batting average of 53.58. In 1995-96 world series match against West Indies, Australia were 38 for 6, Bevan shared a vital 83-run partnership for the eighth wicket with Paul Reiffel. Bevan finished the game unbeaten on 78 runs with six fours. Bevan hit a boundary to help the Australians win the match with four needed off the last ball.
2. Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Mahendra Singh Dhoni is widely regarded as one of the best finisher in cricket, the best captain, and one of the best wicketkeeper in the world that ODI cricket has ever witnessed. MS Dhoni took his time, carefully plan his strategy, and then erupt with a few big hits to put the opposition under pressure. By combining power and touch game, MS Dhoni gave this position a new dimension in the late 2000s. The captain of India has won successful run chases 47 times while remaining unbeaten, scoring 2,876 runs for India. After Sanath Jayasuriya in terms of the amount of balls faced, Dhoni is the only batsman to reach 10,000 ODI runs while averaging more than 50 runs per game.
Dhoni helped India win game third of the 2006 ODI series against Pakistan by scoring 72 runs off just 46 balls, giving India a 2-1 series lead. In the fifth match helped India win the series 4-1 by scoring 77 runs off 56 deliveries. In 62 successful run-chases, MS Dhoni averaged 104.89, the highest average in One-Day International history by any batsmen. These are phenomenal stats that demonstrate his supremacy in run chases. His ODIs second-inning average is 52.39, which is higher than his ODIs first-inning average (52.11).
By chasing down a 275-run target against Sri Lanka in the 2011 World Cup final, MS Dhoni’s 91 not out is simply his best finishing knock of all time. Dhoni finished the match with a historic six. For his outstanding effort at the 2011 World Cup final, he won the Man of the Match award. According to these amazing stats, Dhoni had succeeded in winning games most of the time when he stayed at the crease until the final ball. This demonstrates how crucial he was to India’s victories while chasing.
3. Lance Klusener
Lance Klusener is well-known “one-day wrecker”, where he is regarded as one of the most destructive hard-hitter finisher in the word in ODI cricket. He won a lot of matches for South Africa single-handedly against all teams. Lance Klusener is also regarded as one of the best all rounder in the world in ODI cricket history. Blitzing the opposition at the very end to get the team over the finish line regularly stunned them. Klusener is one of the game’s legends for setting such a mark in the 1990s.
South Africa had reached the semi-final of the 1999 World Cup, and Klusener had a fantastic tournament up to that point, taking 17 wickets, scoring 250 runs (including two half centuries) in 8 games, and solidifying his reputation as a hard hitter finisher in pressure situations. In the nine games, he won four Man of the Match awards and also won the 1999 World Cup’s Man of the Tournament award. In 1999 ODI series When South Africa needed four runs to win on the final ball of a game against New Zealand at Napier, Klusener hit a last-ball six against Dion Nash to secure the win for SA. Again in 2000, when he did it stupendously against the same team, New Zealand, at Cape Town in the sixth ODI, Klusener single handedly, saved South Africa from a defeat. Klusener scored 59 off just 42 balls, including two fours on the last two balls of the match.
For these remarkable performances, he was also selected as the 2000 Wisden Cricketer of the Year. From 1996 to 2004, he played for South Africa in international cricket. During those eight years, he had a profound influence on the sport as a whole. He played in 49 Tests, scoring 1906 runs at an average of 32.86 with 4 hundreds. In 171 ODI games, he scored 3576 runs at a brilliant average of 41.10 and took 192 wickets at 29.95 with 6 five-wickets hauls.
4. Chris Cairns
Chris Cairns is undoubtedly regarded as the best all rounder and one of the best finisher in the world that New Zealand has ever produced. He was a hard hitter middle order batsman with the ability to smash huge sixes straight down the field. He could destroy any bowler in the world, which was both a characteristic and an effective aspect of his shots. He formerly held the world record for the most sixes (87) in test cricket. He was the complete package because he played number of match winning innings for New Zealand against all teams in his whole career. Cairns was one of the top five Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 2000.
Chris Cairns hit an outstanding and match winning century 102 not out at the Gabba against South Africa in 2001-02 VB series as New Zealand continued their rich vein of form to score a fantastic four-wicket win. In the 2000 ICC Champions Trophy final, he assisted his side by leading New Zealand to their first victory of ICC title with an unbeaten century of 102 against India. He is also one of just eight players to have taken 210 wickets and 3320 runs in test cricket, Cairns achieved a second ODI double of 201 wickets and 4950 runs. His Test hitting average at position seven (44.02) ranked fifth all-time for that position.
5. Michael Hussey
Michael Hussey is well popularly known by his nickname Mr Cricket, who is regarded as one of the prolific left handed batsmen of all time for Australia. Hussey established himself as one of the best finisher in the world in a very short period of time. He won lot of matches in the late 2000s, sometimes single handedly, to deliver Australia much-needed victory. He had an extremely successful international career, he was chosen by the ICC as the best ODI player for the year in 2006. Hussey scored five fifties in 2005 and was not out in four of them, quickly earning the reputation of a dependable finisher. In 21 ODIs, he played at position seven and scored superbly 725 runs at an average of 120.83.
He took just 166 days in ODI cricket to reach the landmark of 1000 runs, the fastest ever in terms of number of days taken. He hit the 2000 mark in just 20 games (33 innings) to become the fourth fastest in Test cricket history. He scored 6,235 runs in 79 tests at 51.52 average. With 4,552 runs in ODI cricket, he has the second-best batting average (48.15) of any Aussie. In the 2010 World T20 semifinal match, Australia required 17 runs from the final 5 balls of their 192-run chase to win, and Hussey heroically finished the match for his team by hitting 6, 4, 6, and 6 to Saeed Ajmal. He scored terrifically 60 off just 24 balls and was unbeaten.
6. Javed Miandad
Javed Miandad is simply well regarded as the earliest finisher in the world in one day cricket history. If being able to carefully watch the ball is a requirement for the art of batting, Javed Miandad was a true master. He was a model of control as he observed the ball come directly to the bat and struck it. He exhibited fortitude and bravery. In his first Test encounter, he scored a century and in his third test, scored double century. He scored runs in every match during the 1992 World Cup that Pakistan won.
Miandad’s most well-known achievement in this regard—and the reason he is as well-remembered as for anything else he accomplished—was hitting a six off Chetan Sharma’s last ball of the match to win the 1986 Austral-Asia Cup final in Sharjah when four runs were required. However, what makes him stand out is how he played that Pakistan won when pursuing; he went unbeaten in nearly half of his innings and averaged 66.24. Remember that runs were not as simple to come by in the 1980s as they were later when pitches and pace attacks became more subdued. His 8,832 test runs at an average of 52.57 from 124 matches remain the most for Pakistan.
7. Abdul Razzaq
Against England, he also scored superbly 47 runs off just 11 deliveries in 2005. On October 31, 2010, in the 2nd ODI against South Africa, Razzaq played a tremendous match-winning innings of 109 not out off 72 balls with seven fours and ten massive sixes at a strike rate of 151.38. Pakistan won this match by one wicket with one delivery left in the innings. For Pakistan, he played in 46 Tests, scoring 1948 runs at 28.62, including 3 centuries. He played in 265 ODIs, he scored 5080 runs at an average of 29.71 with three hundreds. He has 3 five-wicket hauls to his name and 269 ODI wickets at an average of 31.84.
8. Viv Richards
Viv Richards is simply regarded as one of the greatest cricketers in the history and one of the best batsman in the world. When every other batsman in the game wore a helmet as a matter of fact during that time, his choice to never do so was a brazen act of superiority. Viv Richards is the only batsman of all time who could intimidate his opponents even before receiving a delivery. If you consider Viv’s impact on the game, his strike rate, match-winning performances in ODI finals, he is undoubtedly one of the best ODI batsman to ever play. His all 11 ODI centuries helped the West Indies to win matches, he averaged over 57.
He had the ability to change the result of the game more than anyone else. In the third final of the B & H World Series Cup 1988–89, Viv Richards single-handedly destroyed Australia. He played a tremendous 60 run match-winning innings off just 40 balls. Richards’ century in the 1979 World Cup final against England helped the West Indies to win the title twice in a row. His world record ODI innings of 189 runs not out with 5 sixes against England in 1984 was another incredible performance. His 47.00 ODI average is the best of any player to reach 4000 ODI runs. He scored total 6721 runs in 187 ODIs at an average of 47 with astonishing strike rate of 90.20.
9. AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers is famously known as one the greatest batsman in modern day cricket, he had absolutely mastered the art of batting. He was a star batsman of the Twenty20 game and averages over 50 in both Test and one-day cricket. In the modern age of ODI and T20 cricket, AB de Villiers is well known as the best finisher in the world. With his creative shot play, he reinvented what it meant to bat by being able to strike the ball 360 degrees in any direction. The secret to his success is his ruthless force and impeccable timing. He was quite inventive, even being able to sweep the fast bowlers at will.
De Villiers’ match-winning century in the first Test at Perth against Australia helped South Africa successfully chase the second-highest ever fourth-inning target of 414 with six wickets remaining. He has the tremendous ODI records for the fastest 50 (16 balls), 100 (31 balls), and 150 (64 balls). He beat the West Indies at the Wanderers and eventually finished with 149 runs off just 44 balls after scoring a century in 31 balls in ODIs. He received three ICC ODI Player of the Year awards in all. He received it in 2010, 2014, and 2015.
10. Shahid Afridi
Shahid Afridi is well known as one of the best finisher in the world thanks to his match-winning performances with the bat in all formats. He had developed an aura that allowed him to instantly and easily defeat any bowling attack. At times, matches would continue until Afridi was directed towards the stand. He is also one of the greatest scorers in history and helped Pakistan win many games. A crucial component of Afridi’s strategy is his confidence and domineering attitude. With the most 32 Man of the Match Awards, Shahid Afridi leads the table for Pakistan team.
He could face pressure in the final moments of the game and handle difficult situations with ease. Afridi could save the game from any circumstance by launching huge sixes at the ground, even in pressure situations. In the 2009 T20 World Cup final, Afridi smashed an unbeaten 54 runs off 40 balls against Sri Lanka to assist Pakistan to an eight-wicket victory with eight balls remaining. Pakistan won their second ICC title after 1992 and Afridi also won the player of the match award. In the 2014 Asia Cup, Shahid Afridi slammed 34 off just 18 balls, including two consecutive sixes to Ashwin in the final over, to give Pakistan a thrilling one-wicket victory over India with two balls to spare.
Read also: Top 10 Best Spin Bowlers of All Time