15 Best ODI Matches Of All Time

With the advancement and popularisation of T20 cricket and more and more T20 leagues popping up every now and then, it does seem that ODIs have lost their relevance. Most fans enjoy the fast-paced T20 format and the gritty and classic Test format, but the love for the ODI format is diminishing. However, this year is a World Cup year and the return of the most awaited tournament in the world of cricket. So while it may seem ODIs are boring, I would beg to differ and to prove that we got you the best ODI matches of all time.

Also read: 16 Best Test Innings By Indian Batsmen In Recent History

From the 1986 Austral Asia Cup Final to the recent finals of the World Cup 2019, here are the best ODI matches of all time with nail-biting finishes.

1.) 2019 World Cup Final: England v/s New Zealand

New Zealand: 241/8, England: 241
Result: Match tied, Super Over Tied, England win by boundary count

This match is easily the best and most thrilling end to a World Cup. Going into the finals. England looked unstoppable and were favorites from the start to win the World Cup in 2019. However, they were up against the underdogs New Zealand who were coming off a thrilling win against India in the Semi-final.

New Zealand bat first and end up with a decent total of 241. England bowlers did well to restrict their runs as Chris Woakes and Liam Plunkett take 3 wickets each.

England’s chase of a modest 241 didn’t really start well as they were soon 86/4 thanks to some fiery powerplay bowling by Boult and Henry.

That’s when Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler put on a crucial partnership to bring England back into the game. They put on a 115-run stand for the 5th wicket and batted together till the 44th over. However, Butter gets out to Ferguson, and it’s all up to Stokes.

In the last over, with 15 runs to win, Stokes end up hitting the third ball for a six after 2 dot balls. The next ball goes for six after the ball gets deflected to the boundary after hitting Stokes’ bat. He ends up being the player of the match for his 84*. However, in the end, the match is tied.

Both the teams play the super-over which too gets tied!

Thus the world cup champions were decided in one of the most bizarre ways which was through boundary count. England had 26 boundaries as opposed to New Zealand’s 17 and thus were declared the winners. A tied match followed by a tied super over with the Cricket’s most coveted trophy on the line – This match deserves the No. 1 Spot on this list of the best ODI matches of all time.

2.) 1999 World Cup Semi-Final: Australia v/s South Africa

Australia: 213 & South Africa: 213
Result: Match tied

This match was the start of the many unfortunate defeats for South Africa in the World Cup, and also earned them the title of ‘chokers’. Australia bats first and was reduced to 68/4 thanks to some fiery bowling spells by Pollock and Donald.

That’s when Steve Waugh came to his team’s rescue and scored 56 runs before he too got out to Pollock. Michael Bevan also played well and scored a good 65. Pollock ended the innings with 5 scalps while Donald ended with 4 wickets, as they restricted Australia to just 213 runs.

With just 213 runs to win the match, South Africa didn’t get a good start as they were reduced to 61/4 with Shane Warne taking 3 of those wickets.

That’s when Jhonty Rhodes and Jacques Kallis put on a crucial partnership and take South Africa to 175 runs in the 45th over. However, both the set batsmen get out, and with 49 runs required in 32 balls Lance Klusener comes out to bat. Klusener hit boundaries while wickets kept falling on the other end.

Last over, with just 6 runs required off 5 balls and just 1 wicket left, it was South Africa’s match to lose. And that’s exactly what happened, as the scores were level before the third ball of the over.

But the next ball Klusener hits the ball to mid-off and called for a single. Allan Donald, who was on the other end however, reacts late and ends up short of the crease and gets run out!

The match is tied, and since Australia ended up higher in the Super-Six stage, they went ahead to the finals. They eventually won the World Cup defeating Pakistan in the finals. This match has been rated as the best ODI match of all time in several lists and polls.

3.) South Africa v/s Australia: 5th ODI, Australia Tour Of South Africa 2006

Australia: 434/4, South Africa: 438/9
Result: South Africa Won By 1 Wicket

This got to be one of the most memorable ODI matches of the 21st century. In 2006, while the T20 format was still in its baby stages, the world saw a T20-like ODI match. Australia won the toss and decided to bat first on the flat track at Johannesburg. While the Australian openers Simon Katich and Adam Gilchrist both played really well and hit 50s, it wasn’t until Ponting came to the crease that the real fireworks started. The South African bowling attack kept feeding him short balls and Ponting kept hitting them for 6s. Ponting made 164 runs at a strike rate of 156, which allowed Australia to post a gigantic total of 434 runs.

South Africa, however, was not demoralized and was determined to fight back. Graeme Smith opened for South Africa and played a captain’s knock of 90 runs off just 55 balls. He was followed by Herschelle Gibbs who played one of the best-ever knocks in ODI history.

He scored 175 runs off just 111 balls at a strike rate of 157.

Quick wickets after Gibb’s departure brought Australia back into the game.

However, the South African batsman kept the scoreboard ticking even though wickets fell at a regular intervals.

South Africa needed 7 runs off the final over for victory.

The match went down the wire as the 9th South African wicket fell in the last over. It was Mark Boucher who finally took South Africa home as it chased down the total and won the match by 1 wicket. This epic run chase and a high scoring thriller in undoubtedly one of the best ODI matches of all time.

What is interesting to note is that Australia’s 434 broke the record for the highest ODI total. However, this record was very short-lived as it was broken just a few hours later by South Africa as they hit 438 runs.

4.) West Indies v/s Australia: 5th Match, Benson & Hedges World Series 1996

West Indies: 172/9, Australia:  173/9
Result: Australia Won By 1 Wicket

After rain curtailed this ODI match to just 43 overs a side, West Indies batted first and were soon 54/5 after a top-order collapse. Paul Reiffel was bowling brilliantly and ended this match with figures of 4 wickets for just 29 runs. He was supported by Shane Warne who took 3 wickets. While wickets kept falling around him, Carl Hooper was batting on another pitch as he scored an unbeaten 93 taking his team to a score of 172.

Australia in their chase also have a collapse and were soon 38/6 as all hopes of victory came crashing down. That’s when Michael Bevan, one of the most underrated finishers, played a match-winning innings. He hit 78 runs and won his team the match by hitting a four on the last ball of the match.

5.) India v/s Pakistan: 1986 Austral Asia Cup Final 

India: 245/7, Pakistan: 247/9
Result: Pakistan Won By 1 Wicket

One of the best rivalries in the world of cricket is the India-Pakistan rivalry. The stakes for this match were higher as this was the final of the inaugural Austral Asia Cup.

The Captain of the Pakistan team won the toss and put India to bat. India starts well as the top 3 Kriss Srikkanth, Sunil Gavaskar, and Dilip Vengsarkar all score 50s. At 216/2 India was looking to score big in the last 10 overs, however, they have a collapse and are able to make only 38 runs in the last 8 overs. India ended with a total of 245 runs with Sunil Gavaskar as the top scorer with 92 runs.

Pakistan in their chase of 241 lost early wickets and were reduced to 61/3. Then walked Javed Miandad who kept playing his shots and built important partnerships with Abdul Qadir and Saleem Malik. They soon got out and wickets kept falling from the other end, while Miandad was set and was determined to take Pakistan home. Pakistan needed 11 runs off the final over which was bowled by Chetan Sharma. They lose Wasim Akram to a runout and wicketkeeper Zulqarnain gets clean bowled. Last ball, Pakistan needed 4 runs to win and Miandad hits the ball for a 6 and wins it for Pakistan. This has to be probably the one of the best ODI matches of the era when limited overs cricket has just begun.

6.) England v/s West Indies: 2004 Champions Trophy Final

England: 217, West Indies: 218/8
Result: West Indies Won By 2 Wickets

Since their World Cup win in 1979, West Indies didn’t win any major ICC tournament, till the Champions Trophy in 2004.  Asked to bat first by West Indies,  England kept losing wickets regularly while Marcus Trescothick held up his end. Trescothick ended up hitting a century while wickets kept falling around him which let England post a score of 217.  Wavell Hinds and Ian Bradshaw took 3 and 2 wickets respectively.

West Indies start chasing and are reduced to 147/8 at one point. Shivnarine Chanderpaul who made 47 runs in the match also was out and it was all up to the lower order to win the match.

That’s when Courtney Browne and Ian Bradshaw scored 35 and 34 not out respectively. They shared an unbeaten partnership of 71 runs for the 9th wicket and won the match for West Indies.

7.) Australia v/s Sri Lanka: 1st ODI, Sri Lanka Tour Of Australia 2010

Australia: 239/8, Sri Lanka: 243/9
Result: Sri Lanka Won By 1 Wicket

This match is also called the Melbourne Miracle, for it was a miraculous win for Sri Lanka down under. Australia batted first and on the back of Michael Hussey’s unbeaten 71* are able to put on a total of 239 for Sri Lanka to chase. However, Sri Lanka was never in the chase as by the halfway mark, they were 107/8 and all hopes for victory were lost. Xavier Doherty was bowling really well as he took 4 wickets.

That’s when the miracle happened, 2 future Sri Lankan captains, Angelo Matthews, and Lasith Malinga put together a partnership stand of 132 runs.

This partnership is to date the highest stand for the 9th wicket. Malinga ended with a score of 56 before he got run out when the scores were leveled. It was his first ODI half-century.

Angelo Matthews on the other end remained not out at 77 and ensure the team won by 1 wicket.

8.) New Zealand v/s Australia: 3rd ODI, Australia Tour Of New Zealand 2007

Australia: 346/5, New Zealand: 350/9
Result: New Zealand Won By 1 Wicket

This is a classic ODI match between long-time rivals and neighbors New Zealand and Australia which makes it to the list of the best ODI matches of all time. Australia bat first and was pacing their innings quite well and the real fireworks came in the end thanks to opener Matthew Hayden who hit 10 sixes and destroyed the depleted New Zealand bowling attack. In the last 10 overs, Australia scored 120 runs and posted a massive total of 346 for New Zealand.

However, Shaun Tait who was new to the Australian attack dismissed both the openers and soon New Zealand were 41/4 by the 10th over.

That’s when Craig McMillan and Brendon McCullum saved the match for their team. McMillan hit 117 runs off 96 balls.

McCullum was not out in the end at 86 and made sure they win by 1 wicket.

9.) Sri Lanka v/s India: 1st ODI, Sri Lanka Tour Of India 2009

India: 414/7, Sri Lanka: 411/8
Result: India Won By 3 Runs

On a flat track at Rajkot, Sri Lanka asked India to bat first and thanks to openers Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar get off to a flying start. Sehwag was later joined by Dhoni who together helped India put on a huge total of 414 for India. Sehwag scored a total of 146 runs off just 101 balls.

Sri Lanka’s chase also gets off to a good start with an opening stand of 188 runs between Upul Tharanga and T Dilshan. Dilshan was then joined by Sangakkara and together brought Sri Lanka to a winning position of 316 runs in the 37th over.

Sri Lanka just needed 99 runs off 83 balls for victory at one stage.

Sangakkara falls after a quick 43-ball 90. That’s when Sangakkara gets out and Sri Lanka has a batting collapse. Dilshan departs after a knock of 160 runs off 124 balls. The Sri Lankan batsman still manages to keep the target within reach needing 15 runs off the last 2 overs to win.

However, Sri Lanks lost two more quick wickets in the penultimate over and needed 11 runs off the last over for victory.

Sri Lanks needed 6 runs off the last two deliveries and 5 runs off the last ball to win.

However, Sri Lanka falls short of the target by just 3 runs.

10.) New Zealand vs Australia: 2015 World Cup – Pool Game

Australia: 151, New Zealand: 152/9
Result: New Zealand Won By 1 Wicket

In the 2015 World Cup, both the hosts New Zealand and Australia clash in the group stage. Australia bat first and thanks to some fiery bowling by Trent Boult who took 5 wickets, are restricted to just 151 runs. Brad Haddin’s 43 runs from 41 balls were the only saving grace for them.

Chasing a modest total of 151, New Zealand got off to a good start. In the 8th over they were already 78/2 and were playing at a run rate of around 10. This was all due to Captain McCullum’s 24-ball 50.

What looked like an easy chase now suddenly became difficult with a batting order collapse for New Zealand. Mitchell Starc, who would go on to become the man of the tournament of the 2015 World Cup took 6 wickets dismissing the whole middle order.

In the end, Kane Williamson kept his calm, and with his knock of 45 not out ensured that New Zealand wins the match by 1 wicket.

11.) England v/s India: 2002 NatWest Series Final

England: 325/5, India: 326/8
Result: India Won By 2 Wickets

Arguably one of the best ODI matches of all time and one of the most memorable cricket moments for Indian fans, this one match changed the way India played ODI cricket. England batted first and Marcus Trescothick’s and Nasser Hussain’s centuries enabled them to put on a good total of 325 for India to chase at Lord’s.

India’s chase gets off to a good start with openers Sehwag and Ganguly starting well. At 106 runs in the 14th over Ganguly gets out after playing a good knock of 60 runs. After that, there is a batting collapse for India as from 106-0 they end up at 146-5.

That’s when the 2 young players, Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif stabilized the innings and built a crucial partnership that won India the match. Yuvraj played a knock of 67 runs while Kaif hit a 75-ball 87 to win India the match in the last over.

12.) India v/s Australia: 5th ODI, Australia Tour Of India 2009/10

Australia: 350/4, India: 347
Result: Australia Won By 3 Runs

This got to be one of the most heartbreaking losses for India. Australia bats first and the whole top order bats really well to put on a huge total of 350 for India to chase. Shaun Marsh’s 112 and Shane Watson’s 93 runs off 89 balls took the game away from India followed by a quick Fifty by Cameron White.

For India, it was just one man who was standing against the Australian attack, Sachin Tendulkar. While wickets kept falling around him, Tendulkar was determined to win it for India. He was briefly supported by Suresh Raina who played a knock of 59 runs. India were well in the course of victory needing 57 runs off 51 balls at one stage. However, Raina’s wicket meant that it was up to Sachin to take India home.

However, Tendulkar got out in the 48th over with India needing 19 off 18 balls for victory. Tendulkar hit a 141-ball 175 and got the man of the match. India could still win the match.

Two more quick wickets meant that it was up to India’s No.9 Praveen Kumar and No. 11 Munaf Patel to hit the winning runs.

The contest went to the last over with India needing 5 runs off the last 3 balls for a spectacular victory. However, India’s hopes came crashing as Praveen Kumar was run out trying to complete a double.

India lost marginally by just 3 runs. As many as 7 batsmen scored in single digital in the Indian innings. Sachin’s innings in this match was a reminder of his one-man battle against the best bowling attacks of the world in the 1990s.

13.)India v/s England: 2011 World Cup Match, Group Stage Match

India: 338, England: 338/8
Result: Match Tied

This match has to be one of India’s most thrilling ODI World Cup matches and is undoubtedly one of the best ODI matches of all time for the way fortunes swung in this match. A tied match is very rare in international cricket, however, it happened during the 2011 world cup match between India and England. India bats first and the top order bats well and put on a good total of 338. Sachin Tendulkar hit 120 runs, and Yuvraj Singh and Gautam Gambhir played well for their respective Fifties.

England’s chase starts well with their captain Andrew Strauss hitting 158 runs. He was supported by Ian Bell who played a good knock of 69 runs.

However, in the 43rd over Zaheer Khan dismissed both batsmen and also dismissed Collingwood in his next over. With this, England’s chase got derailed as they lost wickets regularly.

In the end with 13 runs required off the last over, Graeme Swanna and Ajmal Shahzad ensured that they tie the match.

14.) Sri Lanka v/s South Africa: 2007 World Cup, Super Eights Match

Sri Lanka: 209, South Africa: 212/9
Result: South Africa Won By 1 Wicket

One of the best bowling performances in ODI history has to be Malinga’s performance in this match.

Sri Lanka batted first but don’t get off to a good start and by the 25th over were struggling at 98-5. That’s when T Dilshan and Russell Arnold put on a partnership of 97 runs to bring Sri Lanka back into the game before they both were dismissed. South Africa bowler Charl Langeveldt bowled really well to restrict Sri Lanka to just 209 runs and took 3 wickets in a single over and dismissed Russell Arnold who scored 50 runs in the low-scoring match.

The chase was going well for South Africa who were cruising at 160/2 in the 30th over before Muralitharan got Mark Boucher and Gibbs in 2 successive balls. On the other end, Jacques Kallis was playing really well while wickets kept falling from the other end.

That’s when Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga took a double hat-trick by taking 4 wickets in 4 balls! He also dismissed Kallis in the process who hit a match-winning 86 runs.

In the end, Langeveldt and Robin Peterson managed to score the winning runs without losing a wicket as South Africa won the match by 1 wicket. Malinga and Langeveldt shared the man of the Match award for this match for their amazing bowling performances.

15.) India v/s Zimbabwe: 1st ODI, Zimbabwe Tour Of India 2002

India: 274/6, Zimbabwe: 277/9
Result: Zimbabwe Won By 1 Wicket

Most often than not Zimbabwe is an easy team to beat for India, but sometimes like in this match they played some really good cricket and made huge upsets. In this match, India bats first and Ganguly and Laxman played well as they both made 50s, Ganguly scored 57 runs while Laxman played a knock of 75 runs. In the end, Agarkar played a blistering knock of 40 runs off just 19 balls to help India put on a good total of 274.

Zimbabwe lost early wickets to Zaheer Khan but soon Andy Flower and Alistair Campbell got set and built a crucial partnership. Zimbabwe were comfortably placed at 186-3 in the 37th over. Soon Flower got out to Kumble and later Campbell got out to Zaheer Khan. Harbhajan Singh took out the middle order and Zimbabwe was now reduced to 210-8 by the 45th over.

With just 2 wickets left and 65 runs to get in 5 overs, it was obvious India was winning this. That’s when Dougie Marillier coming at number 10 played a blinder of an innings.

He hit an explosive 24-ball 56 and won Zimbabwe the match by 1 wicket with just 2 balls to spare.

Marillier famously used the scoop shot against clueless Indian bowlers. This match also makes it to the list of the best ODI matches of all time for its impact on the game and the attention it brought to unconventional cricketing shots which has now become a rage in the T20 era.

“Till the very last ball, I thought we were winning because we had just one wicket to take. Even in the last over I had my hopes but it was an amazing knock”- Ganguly

With that we come to the end of this article, we hope that the upcoming Cricket World Cup 2023 will provide more entries to this list of the best ODI matches of all time. Hope you enjoyed reading this article and we will continue bringing you content like this, till then adios!

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