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Top 5 Batsmen With Highest Strike Rates In ODI World Cup History

image-lnvhc1reAB de Villiers in action at the 2015 World Cup (AP)

Few sporting spectacles rival the intensity and grandeur of a Cricket World Cup. This 50-overs global extravaganza serves as a podium for champions, where legendary performances are immortalised and unexpected heroes rise to prominence. Central to such unforgettable moments are the batters who wield the willow, and score their runs with remarkable swiftness, one that defies convention.

In the cricketing world, achieving a fine balance between amassing runs and maintaining blistering strike rates is a rare feat. Within this select circle of remarkable batsmen, where grace meets power, a handful of individuals have left an indelible mark on the ODI World Cup stage, for they have effortlessly intimidated their adversaries and thrilled fans in the process with their extraordinary blend of style and substance.

Here at OneCricket, we take a look at five of such batting gladiators who have consistently illuminated cricket’s grandest stage with their audacious stroke-play.

Top Five Batsmen With Highest ODI World Cup Strike-Rates (Minimum 500 Balls):

Brendon McCullum27742120.84
AB de Villiers221207117.29
Kapil Dev24669115.14
Shane Watson19643108.06
Virender Sehwag22843106.17

1. Brendon McCullum - 120.84

Brendon McCullum, who holds a staggering strike-rate of 96.37 in ODIs, somehow seems to reserve his best for the World Cups as he strikes at an astonishing 120.84 at the grandest stage. The former Kiwi opener played the first of his four World Cups back in 2003 in South Africa, and set the competition ablaze in its 2015 chapter in Australia and New Zealand.

McCullum was at his ferocious best in 2015, as he tore apart cricketing powerhouses England, Sri Lanka, Australia and South Africa all in a single edition. The cricketer blasted a 25-ball 77 against England and a 24-ball 50 against Australia and propelled New Zealand to their first-ever World Cup final that year.

Overall, the right-handed opener played 27 World Cup innings and scored 742 runs while holding an average of over 33, and a strike-rate one-fourth times better than his career’s.

2. AB de Villiers - 117.29

Perhaps no other batsman in the game’s rich history holds a better blend of elegance and ferocity than AB de Villiers. The former South African captain played three World Cups in all (from 2007 to 2015), and left his impact in each of them with his performance progression getting better with every passing edition.

Much like Brendon McCullum, the Proteas legend also held a significantly higher World Cup strike-rate than his ODI profile, indicating that the batsman was made for the grandest stage of the sport. Among his many remarkable feats at the quadrennial event, one innings stands out as the epitome of his genius.

The 162* he brandished at West Indies in 2015 from just 66 deliveries redefined the limits of possibility, leaving spectators and opponents in awe. AB de Villiers eventually concluded his World Cup career with a strike-rate of 117.29 and an average of above 63 from 22 innings.

3. Kapil Dev - 115.14

Kapil Dev achieved a remarkable World Cup strike-rate of 115.14 despite playing in an era that predates the flamboyance of T20 cricket. In a time when the sport was more about tradition and technique, the former Indian captain stood as a symbol of bold and audacious batting. His ability to strike the ball at such an impressive rate, despite the absence of a swashbuckling slam-bang culture, speaks volumes about his innate talent and unwavering commitment for aggressive play.

One of the best of his World Cup thunders occurred in 1975 when he slammed a 72-ball century against Zimbabwe, an innings that set India on the path to their first title triumph.

Overall, Kapil Dev played 26 matches across four different World Cup editions, and scored 669 runs at an average of over 37 and a strike-rate of 115.14.

4. Shane Watson - 108.06

Shane Watson’s burly frame and brawny approach to the game made him a formidable figure at the crease. Turning up for Australia in 22 World Cup matches across three different editions, the broad-shouldered Queenslander bludgeoned the ball at 108.06. His staggering striking ability played a crucial role in two World Cup wins for his country (2007 and 2015), underlining the central significance of his audacious abilities.

His explosive stroke-play, particularly his penchant for clearing the boundary with authority, provided Australia with a dynamic, aggressive edge in all their key matches.

5. Virender Sehwag - 106.17

Dashing opener Virender Sehwag and his dynamic World Cup strike-rate turned out to be an instrumental factor in India’s victory at the 2011 edition. The bold starts he provided at the top of the order were nothing short of fireworks, and it often set the grand stage ablaze.

Often known for dictating terms from the outset, Sehwag’s penchant for first-ball boundaries defined his fearless approach. The fighting 82 he punched out against Australia at the 2003 final, and the 175 he blasted against Bangladesh in 2011 are just few of the many examples that illuminate his belligerent batting legacy in World Cup history.

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