The gentleman’s game of cricket has captivated a plethora of the global public and set many eyeballs rolling. Needless to say, the sport has evolved leaps and bounds since its inception.
It is worth pointing out that all three formats of the game have garnered interest in their own manner, and in fact the One-Day Internationals were introduced to usher in excitement aplenty.
But, with the advent of T20 cricket, the popularity of ODIs has dipped a bit. Yet, modern-day cricketers strive hard and manage to keep things interesting in the 50-over format, owing to their dazzling displays.
On that note, let us analyse as to which cricketer is most likely to end up scoring the most ODI runs in 2019.
3. KANE WILLIAMSON & BABAR AZAM
The gentlemanly figure of New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson and Pakistan’s batting lynchpin, Babar Azam are key features in this list.
Williamson is fifth and Babar trails the Kiwi by the slenderest of margins at the sixth position.
Kane Williamson led his New Zealand troops admirably well and was vital in them reaching the World Cup final which saw his side losing out to hosts England in controversial circumstances at the Lord’s Cricket Ground.
The technically gifted batsman has scored 948 runs in 19 innings, making two hundreds and six fifties. The Kiwi scored all those runs at an excellent average of 59.25 and a strike rate of 75.35.
Babar Azam, on the other hand, is lauded for his superlative batting skills and easy-on-the-eye style of play.
The Pakistani star had a solid year and having scored 946 runs in 18 innings, Azam has to his credit an average of 59.12 and a more-than-healthy strike rate of 89.92.
Babar has had two centuries and six half-centuries in 2019 so far.
2. AARON FINCH & USMAN KHAWAJA
Australian batsmen, Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja, are third and fourth respectively in the elite list.
The Aussie captain has had a phenomenal year so far, and his stats certainly do not lie. Finch made his 1141 runs in 23 innings and hit them at an average of 51.86 and a strike rate of 89.42.
The opener scored four hundreds and six fifties. Finch led the Aussies brilliantly in the World Cup and had a great tournament personally as well.
His teammate, Usman Khawaja, on the other hand, had a great series against Pakistan in the Middle East. The southpaw scored 1085 runs in the 22 innings he was part of, at an impressive average of 49.31 and a good strike rate of 84.89.
Khawaja has had two centuries and eight half-centuries.
1. VIRAT KOHLI & ROHIT SHARMA
When it comes to deciding the leading run-getter, there are the obvious usual suspects who have been making tremendous waves in the limited overs format; Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma.
The pair has been in excellent nick this year and it is frankly unsurprising that both feature in the leading run-scorer list in ODIs in 2019.
The Indian captain stands first and his deputy is a very close second.
Kohli has been magnificent so far and his consistency has been truly second to none.
With 1288 runs in 22 ODI innings, Virat boasts of an imperious average of 64.40 with a brilliant strike rate of 95.90. He scored five centuries and six fifties in the process too.
On the other hand, Rohit amassed 1232 runs from the 24 innings he had, at an excellent average of 53.56 and a very good strike rate of 88.
The turning point for the ‘Hitman’ was the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales, where he led the tally with as much as 648 runs. As a result, five of his six centuries this year came from cricket’s mega event this summer. Rohit has five fifties to his credit as well.
|V Kohli (INDIA)||23||22||2||1288||123||64.40||1343||95.90||5||6||0||123||8|
|RG Sharma (INDIA)||25||24||1||1232||140||53.56||1400||88.00||6||5||1||115||30|
|AJ Finch (AUS)||23||23||1||1141||153*||51.86||1276||89.42||4||6||3||98||36|
|UT Khawaja (AUS)||22||22||0||1085||104||49.31||1278||84.89||2||8||1||107||5|
|KS Williamson (NZ)||20||19||3||948||148||59.25||1258||75.35||2||6||0||83||6|
|Babar Azam (PAK)||18||18||2||946||115||59.12||1052||89.92||2||6||0||99||5|
Having had a look at these stats, it is time to analyse now and gauge if one of the aforementioned six would indeed finish 2019 with the most ODI runs.
A look at the fixtures will show that India has only three more ODIs left to play this year, and those would be in a home series against West Indies in December.
Also, Australia do not have any more ODIs scheduled this year, and as a result, Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja will most definitely not finish with the most runs.
The same goes to Kane Williamson as well, as New Zealand, too, have finished their share of ODIs this year.
On the other hand, Babar Azam will most likely feature in the three ODIs that Pakistan are scheduled to play against Sri Lanka, as cricket returns to the subcontinent nation this month after a very long hiatus.
He is still in with a chance, but the probability of him scoring close to 400 runs with both Kohli and Rohit not doing anything substantial, looks really bleak.
Hence it is safe to rule out Babar as well from being the top annual run scorer in 2019.
A deeper and more detailed analysis throws light on the fact that West Indies have six more ODIs to play this year, and those are against Afghanistan and India.
If the Indian duo of Kohli and Rohit does not feature or has a really poor series, there is the very slim outside chance that Shai Hope (who sits ninth in the list) could really push his way up the leaderboard with a string of outstanding performances.
Team CricWizz feels that the battle to end the year with the most ODI runs is definitely between Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. The Indian captain and vice captain have had a phenomenal 2019 so far, and the duo stands a great chance to finish with a bang as well.
India had a successful tour of the West Indies and it was Kohli who shone brightest with his scintillating batting display, then. Rohit had a starkly sub-par performance, in comparison.
With the Caribbeans touring India later this year, it will be an interesting mini battle between India’s two best limited-overs batsmen to finish on top of the ODI annual run-ladder.
We predict that it would be Virat Kohli, the Indian captain, who edges Rohit Sharma and ends the year 2019 with the most ODI runs.