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 many best finishers in cricket who have played many memorable match-winning innings.
Here’s a list of Top 10 Best Finishers In Cricket History –
1. Michael Bevan
Michael Bevan is arguably recognised as one of the greatest finishers to have ever played the ODI cricket 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 achieved in 232 games 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 hardest spot to bat in limited-overs cricket, he scored the majority of his runs. Bevan scored 3006 runs at the position, averaging 56.71 runs per game.
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 Bevan, who entered in at 32 for four, 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 one the best finishers of all time that the ODI cricket has ever witnessed. MS Dhoni would take 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 player 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 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. By chasing down a 275 runs target against Sri Lanka in the 2011 World Cup final with Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh, Dhoni assisted India in winning. 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 ODI second-inning average is 52.39, which is higher than his ODI first-inning average (52.11). In the 2011 World Cup final against Sri Lanka, MS Dhoni’s 91 not out is one of his finest finishing knocks. Dhoni finished the match with a historical six. For his outstanding effort at the 2011 World Cup final, he won Man of the Match award. According to this amazing stats, MSD has succeeded in winning games most of the time when he stayed at the crease until the final ball. This demonstrates how important he was to India’s victories while chasing.
3. Lance Klusener
Lance Klusener is a well-known “one-day wrecker”, where he is regarded as one of the most destructive hard-hitter finishers of all time in cricket. He won a lot of matches for South Africa single-handedly against all teams. Lance Klusener is arguably considered one of the greatest all-rounders of all time in ODI cricket. Blitzing the opposition at the very end to get the team over the finish line regularly stunned them. Klusener is regarded as one of the game’s legends for setting such a mark in the 1990s.
South Africa had reached the semi-finals of the 1999 World Cup, and Klusener had a stellar 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 circumstances. From 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 he did it stupendously against the same team New Zealand in Cape Town in the sixth ODI, Klusener single handedly, saved South Africa from a defeat. In just 42 deliveries, Klusener scored 59 runs, including two fours on the last two balls.
For these remarkable performances, he was also selected as the 2000 Wisden Cricketer of the Year. From 1996 to 2004, he represented 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 very brilliant average of 41.10 and took 192 wickets at 29.95, including 6 five-wicket hauls.
4. Chris Cairns
Chris cairns is widely considered one of the best all rounders and finishers in cricket that New Zealand has ever produced. He was a fast-medium pace bowler who was also a powerful middle order batsman with the ability to smash huge sixes straight down the field. He could smash it straight to 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. Cairns was one of the top five Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 2000. He was the complete package because he could give New Zealand a lot of runs while also taking a number of wickets.
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. After Hadlee and Vettori, Cairns finished as New Zealand’s third-highest wicket-taker. He is also one of just eight players to have taken 210 wickets and 3320 runs in test cricket, Cairns nearly 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 widely known by his nickname Mr Cricket, who was regarded as one of the prolific left handed batsmen for Australia. One of the best finishers in cricket history, Hussey in a very short period of time established himself. 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, being the top-ranked ODI batsman in the world in 2006. He was chosen by the ICC as the best 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.
He took just 166 days in International cricket to reach the landmark of 1000 runs, the fastest ever in terms of number of days taken. The fourth fastest in Test cricket history, he hit the 2000 mark in just 20 games (33 innings).He frequently was observed playing with the tails throughout his career. In 21 ODIs, he played at position seven and scored 725 runs at an average of 120.83. He scores 248 runs in 8 games while averaging 124 at the same spot in T20s.
Hussey’s international career was very effective statistically. He scored 6,235 runs in 79 Tests, and his Test batting average of 51.52 is the third-highest of any Aussie. With 4,552 runs scored in ODI cricket, Hussey also performed admirably. He has the second-best batting average of any Aussie player in ODIs (48.15). 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 deliveries and was unbeaten.
6. Javed Miandad
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 game during the 1992 World Cup that Pakistan won. One of the finest and earliest “finishers” in one-day cricket, he must be ranked. Few players could surpass his average of 41.70 when he retired in 1996. Only Desmond Haynes had made more runs in ODIs.
However, what makes him stand out is how he played in games 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. His most well-known achievement in this regard—and the reason he is as well-remembered in Pakistan as for anything else he accomplished—was hitting a six off Chetan Sharma’s final ball of the game to win 1984 Asia Cup final in Sharjah when four runs were required.
7. Viv Richards
Viv Richards is recognized as one of the top cricket players in cricket history and one of the greatest batsmen of all time. When every other player 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. No one has ever been able to duplicate his trademark or strike the ball harder than he did. He scored 1,710 runs in Test matches during the year 1976. He made 232 at Trent Bridge, 135 at Old Trafford and 291 at The Oval, completely destroying England.
He was even more effective in one-day international cricket. Richards’ century in the World Cup final against England helped the West Indies win the title back that year. His world record ODI innings of 189 runs not out with 5 sixes against England in 1984 was another incredible performance. His 47.00 one-day international career average in 187 games is the best of any player to reach 4000 ODI runs. With his 56-ball century in the fourth innings of a Test against England in 1986, Vivian Richards revolutionised cricket. For the next 31 years, that score would stand as the mark for the fastest Test century. He scored 6721 runs in 187 ODI matches at an average of 47, and an astonishing strike rate of 90.20.
8. Abdul Razzaq
9. AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers was a very modern cricketer who excelled in all three forms of the game while also being an extremely versatile batsman and an athletic fielder. He was a star of the Twenty20 game and averages over 50 in both Test cricket and one-day internationals. In the modern age of ODI cricket, AB de Villiers is the best finisher in the world. He had the ability to make innovative shots appear harmlessly easy while still getting away with it. Nowadays, it seems like no target is achievable, and De Villiers has developed the skill of keeping his composure in the face of an uncharacteristically difficult run-chase. Parallel to the experience, his aptitude for winning one-day matches had grown.
The fact that some of his most outstanding performances have occurred in ODI and Twenty20 matches may indicate something about the state of the modern game. He averaged 57.41 in his twenty-four Tests, the best batting average of anyone keeping wicket in at least twenty Tests, unlike other Test cricketers whose form suffered when they took the gloves. De Villiers first focused on breaking records in the shorter version of the game after setting a new South African Test record individual score of 278 not out in 2010. In January 2015, he played against the West Indies and scored the fastest 50 (in sixteen balls) and century (in 31 balls).
10. Shahid Afridi
Shahid Afridi is arguably one of the best finishers in cricket 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 bowling attacks. At times, games would continue until Afridi was directed towards the stand. He was 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. Afridi, who holds the record for the highest number of sixes in ODI cricket history, can influence the result of the match as soon as he steps onto the field.
He could face pressure in the final moments of the game and handle difficult situations with ease. Shahid Afridi is the best finisher in the world because he could save the game from any circumstance by launching some sixes at the ground, even in games that are on the line. In the Asia cup, he hit Ashwin for two straight sixes just like normal, Afridi’s precise finishing enabled Pakistan to win the match. Afridi had played 27 tests and scored 1716 runs, with 156 highest test score. He played in 398 ODIs and scored 8064 runs. He played in 99 T20 matches and scored 1416 runs overall.
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