The term ‘finisher’ has gained unparalleled importance since the turn of the century. These days, games are decided by extremely fine margins and thus, a batsman capable of withstanding pressure to guide the team home becomes invaluable.
Over the years, there have been several finishers who have stepped onto the cricket field. Javed Miandad was one of the earliest exponents of the said art whereas the likes of Michael Bevan, Abdul Razzaq and Aravinda Da Silva ruled the late 1990s and early 2000s.
More recently, a certain MS Dhoni has carved a niche for himself with his propensity to finish off games with incredible talents like AB de Villiers and Michael Hussey giving him a run for his money in the race to be crowned the best.
ODI cricket is ever-evolving and with bowlers boasting of more tricks nowadays, batsmen are required to out-think their counterparts to ensure a safe passage to victory.
The role of the finisher can’t be overstated enough and thus, as a tribute to this breed of batsmen, we would take a look at the five best finishers across the world right now.
The batsmen considered are those who are currently playing international cricket and therefore, finishers like De Villiers and Russell haven’t made the cut. Apart from the above criteria, those players who primarily function as middle order batsmen are taken into account, thus disqualifying Virat Kohli from contention.
Without further ado, here is a look at the top finishers in the world currently:
Honourable Mentions: Thisara Perera and Marcus Stoinis
#5 Ben Stokes (England)
The all-rounder endured a torrid start to 2018 as he was banned for disciplinary issues. However, he has overcome that setback and now looks destined to again take the world by storm.
Stokes has been an ever-present in the English side over the past few years and his displays explain why. Though he hasn’t been able to scale the enormous heights expected of him, he still has done enough to ensure he is one of the first names on the team sheet.
The Englishman is a fierce striker of the ball and can increase the scoring rate in a trice. Moreover, the all-rounder possesses all the shots in the book and is a tough man to stop once he gets going.
Batting at No.5 for England, he is as vital a cog as any and if England harbours any hopes of ending their World Cup drought, they would need Stokes to be firing on all cylinders.
On pure ability, Stokes would’ve made it to the porch of the list but his splendid displays with the bat have been intermittent.
Consistency is a virtue and an attribute that distinguishes the good from the great. Thus, he can only muster the No.5 spot on our list.
#4 Glenn Maxwell (Australia)
The enigmatic Australian all-rounder has frustrated and mesmerised in equal measure in his international career. But, at present, under his new role, he seems to be one of the ideal batsmen to fit the finisher bill.
Blessed with the ability to combine raw strength with an incredible invention, Maxwell is capable of scoring at a fast clip. In addition, he is equally adept at handling both seam and spin, thus making him a difficult proposition to handle in the death overs.
Since his arrival on the international stage, Maxwell hasn’t yet done justice to his immense talent. Though he strikes at an impressive rate of over 120 runs per 100 balls, a middling average of around 32 is hardly an indicator of his vast potential.
Yet, the No.7 role he is being accorded now seems to be the perfect tonic for his ailments.
On his day, Maxwell can destroy the best of bowling attacks and hence, it is a shame that he hasn’t come up with more of those days.
Despite his skill warranting a place in the top three, his inconsistency consigns him to the No.4 spot.
#3 David Miller (South Africa)
The South African has been around the international circuit for the better part of a decade and has managed to turn in some truly memorable batting displays.
The left-hander initially made waves around the cricketing circuit with the raw power he displayed in the IPL. Capable of clearing any ground in the world, he earned rave reviews for his ability to be cool under pressure and carry his team home.
The Pietermaritzburg-born batsman has played over a hundred ODI games and boasts of a healthy average of 38.61. Additionally, he is adroit at scoring at a blistering pace with his strike rate of 101.57 a testament to the fact.
Though Miller has always possessed the adequate skill to finish off games, he hasn’t been as consistent as South Africa would’ve liked.
Yet, with De Villiers’ sudden retirement, the South African looks a man reborn and the added responsibility seems to have worked a charm.
He popped up with a couple of decent scores away to Sri Lanka while he was simply sublime on the tour Down Under.
In the 3rd ODI against Australia, with a series on the line, he produced a sumptuous innings of 138 to underline his credentials.
Miller is a breath-taking batsman and is showing signs of life after a poor couple of years.
Thus, it comes as no surprise that he makes the top three of our list.
#2 MS Dhoni (India)
MS Dhoni is one of the best finishers to have graced the ‘gentleman’s game’ and hence, he just had to be a part of our list.
However, since the culmination of the 2015 World Cup, the wicket-keeper’s powers seem to be on the decline. Dhoni has been the target of the Indian fans’ ire over the past couple of years yet has somehow managed to answer those doubters with his bat time and again.
A perfect example of the same was in the 2nd ODI at Adelaide where he was under tons of pressure after a sub-standard display in the first game.
There aren’t many better in world cricket who can handle pressure with as much aplomb as Dhoni. Thus, he is still one of the best-equipped batsmen to come up trumps when the pressure is turned up a notch.
Though his hitting prowess has diminished, his attribute of running hard between the wickets and being a step ahead of the bowler places him on a higher pedestal than some of his contemporaries.
Thus, Dhoni makes it to our list and takes the runner up spot.
#1 Jos Buttler (England)
In ODIs, Buttler averages 39.7 with an astounding strike rate of 116.97. Though his combination of strike rate and average alone would propel him into greatness, his knack of coming up with the goods when the chips are down separates him from the rest of the pack.
The wicketkeeper is bestowed with the gift of mixing efficiency with extravagance and has rarely ever let his side down.
At this juncture, Buttler is the undisputed best finisher in the world and if he continues in the same vein, he might even stake a claim to being one of the best ever alongside a certain MS Dhoni.
Though talks of a comparison with the Indian could yet be a little too premature, there is absolutely no doubt that Buttler is head and shoulders above his peers in the art of finishing currently.
Thus, he takes the numero uno spot on our list easily.