Over the past decade, one day cricket has undergone a revolution of sorts. Gone are the days when 250 was seen as a good score, and striking in the low 80's was a healthy strike rate for a top-order batsman. T
Today, striking in the mid-'80s is almost seen as a bare minimum. Most teams require several batsmen hitting the ball at well into the '90s and beyond. 250 is no longer a defendable total. 300 and beyond is what most teams aim for in recent times.
The previous decade consistently threw up some of the most destructive players in world cricket, capable of pulverising opposition bowlers. In this list, we delve into the Top 8 ODI playing nations to find out their most destructive batters.
# 1: England - Jos Buttler
Jos Buttler is almost certainly at the forefront of England cricket's white-ball revolution. In 2019, the nation lifted the 50-over World Cup for the first time in their history.
Batting in the lower middle order, Butler has often England over the line or scored quick runs in the last few overs to set up challenging totals. With a strike rate of nearly 120 and an average of over 40, the Somerset native is an invaluable and consistent hitter in the later stages of innings.
To prove just how destructive Buttler is, the wicket-keeper batsman has the fastest ODI century (off 46 balls against Pakistan) by an Englishman. Three other Butler centuries in ODIs are among the fastest by a player from that nation.
With a World Cup under his belt and eight years of international cricket behind him, Buttler is in his prime. Widely touted as the next English captain in white-ball cricket, the wicket-keeper batsman could yet showcase more impressive power-hitting ability.
# 2: India - Rohit Sharma
When Rohit Sharma is on song, there are few players as enjoyable to watch. The ease with which he can caress the ball to the boundary is almost unrivaled in International cricket. However, do not let his immaculate timing and smooth stroke-play deceive you. Sharma is one of the most destructive openers in ODI cricket today.
Sharma's destructive nature is best encapsulated in his three ODI double centuries, the most by any player in the format. The Mumbaikar's innings of 264, achieved against Sri Lanka in Kolkata in 2014, is the highest individual score in ODI cricket.
Being well into his 30's and with over 200 ODI games under his belt, many feel that Sharma may start to decline. However, any thoughts along these lines were put to bed during the 2019 World Cup.
The opener scored 648 runs, which included a record five centuries, at an average of 81, to become the tournament's leading run-scorer. What is most impressive is the fact that Sharma scored those runs at a strike rate of almost 100. An incredible feat, but one which we have come to expect from such a talent.
# 3: New Zealand - Martin Guptill
Martin Guptill has been a stalwart of New Zealand cricket in the past decade, especially in the white-ball format. The right-hander has featured in two World Cup finals for his team.
The Kiwi opener scored a bucketful of runs at the 2015 World Cup in particular. With 547 runs scored at an average of 68 and a strike rate of 104, Guptill was the tournament's leading run-scorer. During the competition, the New Zealander registered the highest-ever individual score at a World Cup. Guptill scored a stunning 237 against the West Indies at a mind-boggling strike rate of 145.
Guptill has the fastest ODI half-century by any New Zealand player, scoring a 17-ball 50 against Sri Lanka in 2015. It is just one behind AB de Villiers' record of the fastest-ever ODI fifty, scored off 16 balls.
Despite a lukewarm 2019 World Cup, the 33-year-old Guptill's best days may not yet be entirely behind him. Due to his aggressive hitting, Guptill remains a vital cog in the New Zealand top-order in ODIs.
# 4: South Africa - David Miller
David Miller is perhaps one of the most under-rated destructive batsmen of the modern era.
Miller played as an understudy to AB De Villiers in the South African middle-order at the start of his career. But over the years, the south-paw has steadily built up an exceptional set of statistics. With an average of over 40 and a strike-rate of over 100 in 132 ODIs, any team would wish to have a player like Miller amidst their ranks.
The South African had a good World Cup campaign in 2015. Miller's 324 runs at an average of 65, and a strike-rate of almost 140 provided a glimpse of his destructive potential. The left-hander scored a 69-ball hundred against Australia in 2016 to further his burgeoning reputation as a big-hitting player.
At 30 years of age, Miller is well within his prime years as a batsmen. The southpaw has had an excellent start to 2020, scoring 173 runs at a strike-rate of 110 while losing his wicket just once. Miller stands in good stead to cement his place as a destructive batter in the South African ODI team.
# 5: Australia - Glenn Maxwell
Glenn Maxwell, also known as the 'Big Show', is one of the hottest properties in white-ball cricket. His flamboyance with the bat has earned him a fortune travelling around the world as a much-sought-after T20 player. However, his performances in ODI cricket can often be over-looked.
Maxwell, with a strike rate of 123 in One Day cricket, has the best strike-rate of any player with over 1000 career runs. The Melbourne native's 51-ball century against Sri Lanka is the fastest ever by an Australian, and the 12th fastest overall. Maxwell has also scored the fastest ODI half-century for Australia, bagging an 18-ball 50 in 2013 against India.
The Australian's prowess, though, seems to be on the decline in recent years. Due to a combination of poor form and mental health issues, Maxwell is currently not a fixture in the Australian ODI team. However, at 31, the Big Show is not yet a spent force. Once back in the national fold, the right-hander could unleash more ferocious hitting and remain a key personnel in the team.
# 6: Pakistan - Fakhar Zaman
Despite making his debut in 2017, Fakhar Zaman has fast turned into one of the most consistent and destructive openers in ODI cricket. With an average of 46 and a strike rate of over 95, it is easy to see why.
Zaman is one of only six players to have scored a double-century in ODI cricket. The left-hander became the latest entrant in the elite group by scoring an unbeaten 210, at a strike-rate of 135, against Zimbabwe in 2018.
Having played just 46 games, Zaman hasn't had a year where he hasn't had a strike rate of at least 90. There is no reason why the opener cannot continue to improve and become even more consistent and destructive.
At 29 years of age, there is seemingly plenty of cricket still to be played by the Mardan native. With a career strike-rate of 95, Zaman is one of the prized scalps in the Pakistan top-order in ODIs.
# 7: Bangladesh - Soumya Sarkar
Soumya Sarkar burst onto the international scene in 2015 as a young talent renowned for his fearless hitting. Despite not being the most consistent with the bat, Sarkar's career strike rate of 98 is an indicator of his destructive potential.
The youngster's finest ODI moment came in 2015, when the opener scored a century against Pakistan. Sarkar scored a 110-ball 127 against an attack comprising Umar Gul and Wahab Riaz. The left-hander's only other ODI hundred came against Zimbabwe in 2018. Against a supposedly weaker bowling attack, Sarkar scored an impressive 117 off just 92 balls.
Sarkar may lack the consistency of most of the other destructive batsmen on this list. But his runs, scored at a fast clip, have been instrumental in Bangladesh taking giant strides in the ODI arena in recent years.
# 8: Sri Lanka - Thisara Perera
Sri-Lanka have had some excellent hitters in their ODI team over the years. Players who are a joy to watch and play with a care-free attitude. One such player in Thisara Perera. While he may not get going every innings, the left-hander can unleash ferocity with the bat when on song.
A career average of 20 is an incredibly underwhelming one given his potential. This is probably down to the fact that Perera often bats in the lower middle-order where he gets little time to get his eye in. A career strike rate of 112 in ODIs is an indicator, though, of his destructive potential with the bat in hand.
Perera has a 23-ball 50 against his name, scored against England in 2014. The all-rounder's finest hour in an ODI came against New Zealand in 2019. Against an attack comprising Trent Boult and Tim Southee, the left-hander plundered 140 runs off 74 balls while batting at no. 7. Only two other players have scored more runs in an ODI from that position.