The best ODIs ever played

Seventeen years after that dramatic World Cup semi-final between Australia and South Africa best ODIs ever played, we look back at ten of the best one-day internationals ever played.


  • Historic Australia vs. South Africa World Cup semi-final was played on June 17, exactly 17 years ago.
  • Many consider that match to be the greatest one-day international ever played.
  • The game ended in a tie, but Australia advanced to the finals and won the World Cup for the second time in history.

Seventeen years ago today, the greatest one-day international was played at Edgbaston between two of the era’s best sides. Australia and South Africa met in the 1999 World Cup’s second semi-final. The African nation was heartbroken after some hot bowling spells, heroic innings, and high drama.

Is it, however, fair to call that game the greatest ODI ever played? The vast majority of the cricket-watching world believes it is. However, we have decided to leave that decision up to you once more. We have some of the most dramatic games ever played in this format. Some of them were played long before T20 took the world by storm with its lightning-fast pace.

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best ODIs

South Africa vs. Australia, 1999 World Cup semi-final, Birmingham

It was the semi-finals of the 1999 World Cup in Birmingham. Australia batted first and scored a modest total of 213, a total that was not expected to carry them to the finals. Shane Warne, on the other hand, had other ideas. He bowled brilliantly, quickly removing South Africa’s top order, and finished with figures of 10 – 4 – 29 – 4.

New Zealand vs. Waqar Younis, Auckland, 1994

With two wickets in hand, New Zealand needed three runs in the final over to win. Waqar bowled a brilliant inswinger to the left-handed Matthew Hart on the first ball of the over, dismissing him. RP de Groen entered the fray with three runs to win off five balls. Groen managed to defend one to point and then run hard for a quick single.

Waqar finished with the following scores: 9.4 – 1 – 30 – 6.

Result: The match was a tie.

Javed Miandad vs. India, Austral-Asian Cup Final, Sharjah, 1986

Pakistan lost Mudassar Nazar early in the game. Rameez Raza was also out for 10 runs and was replaced by Javed Miandad. While Miandad held onto one end, wickets continued to fall from the other. Mohsin Khan, Saleem Khan, and Abdul Qadir all failed to convert their starts into winning runs. Finally, it came down to Miandad and Tauseef Ahmed, and the rest is history.

Result: South Africa won by one wicket.

England vs. India, Natwest Series Final, Lord’s, 2002.

 Batting first, England amassed a massive total of 325 thanks to centuries from Marcus Trescothick and captain Naseer Hussain. India got off to a flying start, with openers Virender Sehwag and Sourav Ganguly smashing the bowlers all over the place. However, Ganguly was out for 63 with a score of 103 – 1. Sehwag quickly followed, and India crumbled, losing five wickets for 43 runs.

Result: India won by two wickets.

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Australia vs. Craig McMillan and Brendon McCullum, Hamilton, 2007.

Australia posted a massive total of 346 – 5 thanks to Matthew Hayden’s 181 not out. New Zealand batted first, and it was a nightmare from the start. They had four early wickets and were struggling at 41 – 4 after 9.1 overs. Peter Fulton came in and, along with McMillan, steadied the innings before departing for 51 with the score at 116 – 5 off 16.5 overs. The Kiwis were on the verge of defeat, needing 231 runs with half the team out.

Result: New Zealand won by one wicket.

Herschelle Gibbs vs. Australia, 2006, Johannesburg

At a time when 300 was considered a huge total, Australia walked into Johannesburg with an unthinkable total of 434, led by Ricky Ponting’s 164 and 50s from Adam Gilchrist, Simon Katich, and Mike Hussey. It was the first 400+ total in the game’s history, and no one fancied South Africa’s chances.

Result: South Africa won by one wicket.

South Africa vs. Sachin Tendulkar, Hero Cup Semi-Final, Eden Gardens, 1993

In 1993, Mohammad Azharuddin handed the last over to Tendulkar over his front-line bowlers, Kapil Dev, Manoj Prabhakar, and Javagal Srinath, in what could be considered one of the greatest decisions ever made in world cricket. Tendulkar was bowling the first over of the match in drizzly conditions, with five runs to defend “inputs from”.

Result: India won by two runs.

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