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Top 5 ODI finishers from Australia

S Sam
The Ashes 1981

Australia have been one of the best sides in one-day international cricket history and their domination of the format from around the mid-1990s till the end of the first decade of the new millennium was unprecedented.

The primary reason for their success was that they not only had outstanding players at almost all positions but because they had a steady supply of players to take over when one retired and that was the case for almost all roles.

Hence, it is not surprising that Australia also possessed excellent batsmen at number 5 and 6, who were capable of giving the final flourish to the innings or finish a chase that might have looked out of their range.

On the other hand, they were also perfectly capable of coming in to bat after the loss of wickets and anchor the innings.

Here is a look at five of Australia's finest finishers in one-day internationals.

#5 Allan Border

The batsman who went on to become one of the greatest in Australian cricket history was also responsible for sparking the revival of the team in the mid-1980s. Allan Border's leadership saw Australia win their first ever World Cup back in 1987 but he was himself just as influential for the team as a finisher for most of his one day career.

The left-hander played in 156 one day internationals for Australia between and in 102 of them he batted at either 5 or 6 for the team. He not only had the ability to take on good bowlers but he had the awareness to pace the game from the position and in addition to that, his gamed determination came to the fore plenty of times when it came to finishing off games.

For instance, in the World Cup final against England in 1987, Border came in at number 5 and hit a run a ball 31 to help them post a formidable 253 in the final. He played plenty of such knock throughout his career. Border made 2631 runs at an average of 27.21 and recorded a strike rate of 77.30.

#4 Mike Hussey

South Africa v Australia - 5th ODI

The man who came to be known as Mr Cricket could not make it into the Australian side due to the sheer riches that the team had and it was not till he was almost 29 that the great Mike Hussey could make it to the side.

However, once he did get the chance, he took the opportunity with both hands and went on to become one of the greatest finishers that the game has ever seen. Hussey played in 185 one-dayers for Australia and he batted at number 5 or 6 on 120 occasions.

He was probably one of the best readers of a match situation and in addition to that, the left-hander could easily play long innings in case of loss of early wickets. However, what made him such a superb finisher was his ability to take a single almost at will coupled with the gift of finding a boundary or a six as soon as the required rate became a bit stifling.

Hussey played at 5 or 6 in 120 games and made 3486 runs, but more importantly, he averaged 42 and recorded a strike rate of 86.78. As long as he was there, one could never say that the game was over.

#3 Steve Waugh

ODI - Australia A v West Indies

He was often regarded as the 'Iceman' for his ability to hold his nerves when games got close and throughout the course of his 16-year career (1986-2002) as Australia's number 5 or 6, Steve Waugh remained one of the side's most important batsmen.

He proved himself as the finisher for Australia in the 1987 World Cup and then went on to play one of the greatest innings at 5 or 6 in 1999 when he made that 120 not out against South Africa in the 1999 World Cup to take Australia into the semi-final.

Steve Waugh was a batsman who knew exactly what was needed in order to win a game and he could do that with dogged resistance. He remains Australia's highest run scorer in those positions with an aggregate of 5540 runs at an average of 34.62 and a strike rate of 77.05.

That strike rate was far more effective in the days when 250 used to be a match-winning score and throughout his career, he made sure that Australia were in the hunt for as long as possible.

#2 Andrew Symonds

Andrew Symonds of Australia in action

The former all-rounder is one of the finest finishers to have ever played the game and Andrew Symonds' ability to turn one day games on their heads was a major factor in Australia's dominance during the noughties.

Symonds played in 198 one-dayers for Australia between 1998 and 2009, while he batted at 5 or 6 in 132 games. He had the game to destroy any bowling attack and the most important thing about his batting was that he was completely unfazed by extreme pace or crafty spin bowling.

In addition to that, Symonds knew exactly how to play a situation and was known for giving the Australian innings the flying end that most one day teams crave. He was a superb runner between the wickets as well and one of the cleanest hitters the game has ever seen.

There was no player who was as dangerous as him in the role of a finisher and he remains the third highest scorer for Australia in those positions with an aggregate of 3970 runs. He averaged a healthy 44.11 and recorded a quite outstanding strike rate of 92.97.

#1 Michael Bevan

Cricket - ODI , Australia v Zimbabwe

He was the player for whom the team 'finisher' was first coined and for a decade from 1994 to 2004, Michael Bevan became one of Australia's most important one-day players. Bevan played in 232 one-dayers for Australia during the period and played 144 games at the number 5 or 6 positions.

He was possibly the first player who really understood the role of a finisher in one-dayers and over the course of his superb career he defined it. Bevan had the skill of understanding the match situation fairly quickly and even back in the 1990s, he knew exactly how to approach the innings. It needs to be remembered that it was a time in which such large-scale data mining or analytics was not in vogue.

He could take a single of any delivery, he could bat with the tail and more importantly, Bevan knew when to hit a boundary so that the scoring rate remained sound. He finished plenty of chases for Australia over the cause of his career and in 144 games, he made 5429 runs at a superb average of 51.49. He had a strike rate of 76.82 but at the time when he played, it was an excellent rate of scoring.

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Edited by Tanya Rudra
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