How To Watch Cricket World Cup 2019 In Usa Greatest ODI Finisher of All Time! Bevan or MSD

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Greatest ODI Finisher of All Time! Bevan or MSD

Meaning: A-ha! Now you decide Aussie or Indian -> my friends would say. I had planned to write the article after Dhoni retired. But I can’t wait any longer. Mirror mirror on the wall. Who is the greatest finisher of them all? Well, apart from that, the only real contenders to be called the greatest ODI finishers of all time are Michael Bevan and Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Nope don’t make the mistake of comparing them as cricketers because Dhoni with his versatility will win hands down. Compare them as ODI finishers. That’s what I’m out to do today. I came up with some interesting facts and statistics while doing so.

Let’s first list some candidates who are deserving though not in the same league as these two experts. Lance Kluesner, Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar, Mike Hussey, AB De Villiers and VIA Richards are arguably the greatest one-day batsmen of all time. He and Sachin will say no, we don’t need a finisher. We can finish the game long before the overs are completed with the resources available at the other end. But that’s another story and another breed of batsman.

By finishing do we mean a batsman who does not stay out at the end when an innings is over? Nope. I mean the best finisher is the batsman who finished the match and won it for his team. In most cases, such an at bat will result in the batsman not being out at the end. But there are many innings that the batsman has almost finished before going out. Sachin Tendulkar in Sharjah in 1998 against Australia played two magical innings centuries, one to propel India to the finals and the second to win the final for India. He got out in both innings. But he finished first class and did the work for his country very effectively. And this is where Bevan and Dhoni come into the picture. They made a real difference when it mattered most to their teams. And they did many times. This fact alone leaves clear daylight between them and the others.

MS Dhoni’s best qualities are that he is calm about everything when everyone in the stadium and watching the game on TV is about to have a heart attack. This was more or less the case with Michael Bevan as well. But Bevan had solid batsmen keeping him company during his tenure like the Waugh brothers, Damien Martyn etc. Dhoni also benefited from these batsmen at the other end but more towards the end of his career. Both were excellent runners between the wickets. What’s more, they were excellent judges of runs. They knew when to convert a single into a two and a two into a three, and also when not to take the risk. This greatly increased the pressure on the opposition. Not only the boundaries keep coming but the runs between the wickets kill the game for the opposition.

There is one area where Dhoni stands out impressively. He can hit sixes and Bevan, on the other hand, was not a big hitter. He could strike out if needed but not with the same consistency as Dhoni. That in my mind is the real difference between the two. Bevan has won as many games for his team as Dhoni did but with caresses and pushes rather than Dhoni’s controlled hitting. A finisher needs temperament and they both had it. I say “was” even though Dhoni is still around. But I think we have seen his best.

Most Indians will point to a career strike rate to tip the balance in Dhoni’s favor but Bevan played in a slightly different era where the batsmen did not score at the same rate as today apart from the Tendulkars, Waughs, and Laras obviously. And the teams did not manage to collect the same totals as today. So this statistic doesn’t do Bevan justice. Both have great batting averages over 50s. They absolutely killed the opposition with a fine finish. No matter how they did it, by running around or striking out, it was clinical.

Dhoni’s finishing is all about his ability to do both: hit big and push and push and run like a hare. Also, Dhoni played in an era when a lot of cricket was played and he had to perform multiple roles in T20s, ODIs, Tests and IPL. This alone is heartbreaking. While Bevan basically plays ODI cricket along with the first class matches and some test match cricket. Definitely less stressful than compared to the modern day cricketers like Dhoni. Maintaining fitness in such cases is very difficult. Dhoni has managed this but Bevan struggled towards the end of his career with a series of fitness problems.

Michael Bevan batted at number 4 or 5 when he engineered those brilliant finishes while Dhoni was at 5-6. This is mainly because Dhoni would take more risks than Bevan and because of the heavy price tag on his wicket, there must have been a tendency to push him down the order within the team management although speculation is this. Although Dhoni’s most famous innings in the 2011 world cup final had him playing for 4. It was thrilling to watch the great cricketer finish clinically in the final with aplomb. And he finished it all with six. That was like putting an exclamation point on the game and the world cup!!

Most mortal cricketers in this world panic when the difference between the number of remaining balls and runs to start goes overboard but not these two. It was unbelievable to watch them keep their composure and go about their job as if it were everyday tasks. What these men do can be seen from finishing that no one else can repeat so many times. Many great cricketers have enjoyed the game and many of them have played stellar roles in their winning teams. But finishing the games victorious for their teams so many times? No. Nobody! These two can’t be beat at that.

Bevan was part of two world cup winning squads in 1999 and 2003. It is worth noting that Australia were at the top of their game when he was playing ODI cricket and was at his best. Dhoni won the single ODI WC for India in 2011 though he is still playing and I am sure he is eyeing the 2019 world cup as his last hurrah.

Bevan has the highest batting average for a retired ODI cricketer at 53.58 while Dhoni currently averages 51.37 and will reach around 50 eventually. This also does not indicate any clear advantage for Bevan because Dhoni would take more risks and as a result, have a better strike rate than Bevan who will have a slightly better average. They both played and won games playing with tail-enders and many times. I can’t describe in words how unbelievable it was to watch these guys do it over and over again.

Another critical point that goes against Dhoni is the pitches he played on. Bevan played on mainland Australia which makes hitting sixes difficult while Dhoni batted at a time when the game was tailor-made for batsmen and on Indian conditions which have always been batsman-friendly. Although Bevan came from an era of absolute dominance in Australia where the team was on a roll, Dhoni broke the Indian habit of being poor chasers. That is really his greatest achievement for his country. It’s no mean feat, let me tell you, as I’ve seen Indian cricket since the 1980s and this had become a minor crisis then.

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I have tried hard not to compare them as general cricketers and talk about Dhoni’s captaincy or Bevan’s left arm spin bowling. These were like bonuses for their teams. I am not going to discuss Bevan’s test record either as that is again irrelevant to the subject. You can compare their stats all you want, all day long. You will find that they offset each other in the end. But all things considered, I still can’t ignore the huge difference in strike rate. It’s 15 points and I think that’s the real and significant difference. Need I say more?

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