All-Time Best South African XI In ODI Cricket History

With a winning percentage of more than 60% despite playing around 600 ODI encounters, South Africa is one of the most successful teams in the format. That said, apart from the Champions Trophy victory in the inaugural edition, the Proteas are yet to taste a major success in ICC events. Nevertheless, the nation has got pedigree and talent to break the barren run. On that note, in this article, we take a look at the all-time best South African XI in ODI cricket history.

Openers: Hashim Amla and Graeme Smith (C)

The fastest batsman to score 2000, 300, 4000 and 5000 runs in ODI cricket, Hashim Amla is the third-highest run-getter for South Africa in ODIs. With his trademark flick and cover-drive, Hashim was the best batsman for his country at his peak. The player also captained his country for a while.

Appointed as the captain of his country at 22, Graeme Smith revolutionized the brand of South African cricket. At the same time, the southpaw made runs consistently, although his dominance was more in the five-day game. Nevertheless, he is one of the high run-scorers for his country, making it to this XI. Smith will be the obvious captaincy choice for this XI.

Middle-Order: Herschelle Gibbs, AB de Villiers and Mark Boucher (WK)

Although he played more as an opener, since that slot is occupied, we have Gibbs in the middle-order. The player has, any ways, operated in quite a few games in this department. In fact, in the chase of 438 in which Gibbs scored 175 from 111 balls, he batted at No.3.

Branded by some as the greatest every limited-overs batsman, AB de Villiers is one of the legends of South African cricket. Over his 223-game career, ABD scored 9427 runs at a stunning average of 54.17. He holds the record of scoring the fastest ODI century, of just 31 deliveries.

With 424 dismissals in 295 matches, Boucher is one of the best wicket-keepers in ODI cricket. He also scored 4523 runs during this span, making him the certain choice to don the gloves for this XI.

All-Rounders: Jacques Kallis and Hansie Cronje

While he is the eighth top run-scorer in ODI history, Kallis is also the eighteenth highest wicket-taker in the game, so far. This is the reason a few call him the greatest all-rounder ever to have played the game. Therefore, he comes into this all-time best South African XI in ODI cricket history.

As the other all-rounder, we have an infamous name – Hansie Cronje. Although the ending was bitter, Cronje was a good cricketer for the Proteas. In 188 ODIs, Cronje scored 5565 runs apart from picking 114 wickets. He passed away in a plane crash in 2002, at the age of 32.

Bowlers: Shaun Pollock, Allan Donald, Dale Steyn and Imran Tahir

Over a 12-year career, Pollock collected 387 wickets in 303 matches, to the best ODI bowler for his country, and sixth-best on the all-time charts. He also scored more than 3000 runs while batting in the tail-end. A fine servant of the Proteas, Pollock also led South Africa for a while, before a poor performance in the 2003 World Cup forced him out of the job.

The former bowling coach of England, Allan Donald, was the perfect exhibition of pace and outswing together. With an average of 21.78 in ODIs, if not for the frequent injuries, he would have been further up in the bowling charts.

Overtaking Makhaya Ntini, we have Dale Steyn in this all-time best South African XI in ODI cricket history. While he certainly was an impactful player, Steyn was definitely not behind on stats. Yes, he focussed more on Tests, but the speedster also played 125 ODIs and collected 196 wickets. This XI will be incomplete without Dale’s presence.

Imran Tahir is the highest wicket-taking spinner for South Africa. Having made his debut after crossing 30, the leg-spinner has taken 173 scalps in 107 games, including the best performance of 7/45. In recent years, the Pakistani-born cricketer has been the reason behind South Africa’s versatility across formats and conditions.

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