The upcoming clash of India versus South Africa in the ongoing Cricket World Cup on February 22 will decide, in my opinion, who among the three batting sensations from both sides, would ultimately emerge as the number one ODI batsman. Apart from deciding the hot favourite team to lift the Cup. The Super Sunday clash will see AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla and Virat Kohli unleashing their batting charm.
Current ICC ODI batsmen rankings reveals de Villiers leads the race with 891 points, Amla stands at number two with 867 points and Kohli comes third with 831. Their performances in the upcoming matches will indicate whether their rankings will increase or decrease. Rarely do you witness such a clash of the titans, where the three top batsmen get a chance to outdo each other in the same match.
Going by their career records, all three Virat Kohli, Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers are batsmen of the finest order. They are contending to be the better among the best. While Kohli has age on his side, he is only 26, de Villiers and Amla are 31. In the long run, if Kohli remains consistent, there is no doubt he would lead the race and will be remembered as one of the best batsmen in history.
For the record, Kohli has played 151 ODIs, scored 6,332 runs with an average of 52.33, producing 22 centuries and 43 50s. His nearest rival AB de Villiers has 19 tons and 43 half centuries to his name after playing 180 ODIs with an average of 51.97. Not to forget, de Villiers’ recent scintillating fastest century, 31 balls and total of 149 off just 44 balls against West Indies. The fastest ODI century record might go unchallenged for quite long, though cricket is a game of golden uncertainty. This coruscating performance sets him apart from the rest, making him the real number one right now.
With 19 hundreds and 27 50s having an impressive average of 56.41 in mere 107 ODIs that he played so far, 31-year-old Hashim Amla is second to none in the race. His consistency to score big and rip through any bowling attacks makes him a claimant to the top position.
With special century against arch-rival Pakistan at Adelaide, swashbuckling Kohli has staked the first claim to the throne and a repeat performance in the much-awaited India versus South Africa on Sunday will propel him ahead of de Villiers and Amla, at least in popular perception. India and Virat Kohli have psychological advantage of thrashing arch-rival Pakistan in the opening match by 76 runs.
In hindsight, what Pakistan is to India in World Cups, India is to South Africa with Proteas having won on all three occasions in 92, 99 and 2011.
Come Sunday, a lot of fireworks await the cricket lovers!