With the Cricket World Cup just around the corner in India this October, we reflect on those who have scored the most runs in ODI World Cups over the years.
From the 1990s to mid-2010s, devastating batting talents delivered some groundbreaking performances on the World Cup stage that not only floored opposition bowling attacks but also created unforgettable memories for the fans to cherish. So who are these big names? And what are their achievements? In this article, we will delve deep and go through the top 10 batsmen with the most runs in ODI World Cup history.
Read also: How to watch the Cricket World Cup in India
- 1 Most runs in ODI World Cups: Top 10 batsmen in history
- 1.1 10. Tillakaratne Dilshan, Sri Lanka (1112 runs)
- 1.2 9. Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh (1146 runs)
- 1.3 8. Jacques Kallis, South Africa (1148 runs)
- 1.4 7. Sanath Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka (1165 runs)
- 1.5 6. Chris Gayle, West Indies (1186)
- 1.6 5. AB de Villiers, South Africa (1207 runs)
- 1.7 4. Brian Lara, West Indies (1225 runs)
- 1.8 3. Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka (1532 runs)
- 1.9 2. Ricky Ponting, Australia (1743 runs)
- 1.10 1. Sachin Tendulkar, India (2278 runs)
Most runs in ODI World Cups: Top 10 batsmen in history
Here are the top 10 batsmen who have scored the most runs in ODI World Cups, in reverse order. Spoiler alert: you don’t want to miss No 1!
10. Tillakaratne Dilshan, Sri Lanka (1112 runs)
This Sri Lankan batting prodigy began to blossom late in his career, striking the 10th most runs in ODI World Cups. Dilshan’s relentless aggression, strong wrists, and natural timing made him a very tricky batsman to bowl to. His ODI career began to witness an upward shift from 2009 onwards when he was promoted up the order which earned him the license to exploit attacking fields and amass huge scores.
Besides, his ability to pursue dual responsibilities of a wicket-keeper and a spinner made him a highly valuable asset. During his World Cup years spanning 2007-2015, Dilshan scored 1112 runs in 25 innings at a remarkable average of 52.95. He scored at an exhilarating strike rate of 92.97 and smashed four centuries and four half-centuries in his World Cup Career which included his best individual score of 161*.
Dilshan’s best match as an all-rounder came against Zimbabwe in ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. Opening the innings with Tharanga, Dilshan scored 144 which eventually powered Sri Lanka to a powerful score of 327. He later grabbed four wickets for only four runs and was awarded the Man of the Match.
9. Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh (1146 runs)
Shakib is arguably the best cricketer ever produced by Bangladesh. He has been a mainstay for the Bangladesh cricket team in times of thick and thin and has delivered for his country in four World Cup events. The batsman has a crucial role to play in India later this year as the Bangladeshi think tank requires all his experience to combat some strong opponents in this year’s World Cup edition.
As a batter, Shakib has a positive temperament and controlled aggression to battle against the top teams. Besides, with a wide range of strokes in his book, Shakib can virtually bat any opposition out of the game. Not to mention, his crafty left-arm orthodox spin that can outfox even the best in the business. So far in his World Cup journey spanning 2007-2023, Shakib has accumulated 1146 runs at an extraordinary average of 45.84 which includes 2 centuries and 10 half-centuries.
His best performance came against the West Indies in the 2019 World Cup where he smashed a record-breaking 124*(99) which helped Bangladesh chase down a mammoth 322 in 8.3 overs to spare.
8. Jacques Kallis, South Africa (1148 runs)
Kallis was a robust batting-allrounder from South Africa who was often regarded as one of the most revered batsmen in modern-day cricket. Kallis was a fine, forceful batsman who had at his disposal both a rock-solid technique and a mind impervious to distraction. Over his 19-year-long illustrious career, Kallis played some very gutsy innings that helped South Africa evade defeat on numerous occasions. Furthermore, his sharp reflexes as a slip fielder coupled with immaculate seam bowling abilities made him a highly prolific cricketer.
With regard to his batting, Kallis amassed 1148 runs from 1996-2011 at a very impressive average of 45.92 to place him eighth in our most runs in ODI World Cups list. In addition, he had a commendable strike rate of 74.4 with one century and nine half-century scores to his name. He played his best knock against Holland in 2007 where he scored a scintillating 128* (109) which blew the Dutch away by a whopping 221 runs.
7. Sanath Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka (1165 runs)
The stylish, elegant left-handed top-order batsman from Sri Lanka could send chills down the spine of any high-quality bowler. Jayasuriya proved to be a nightmare for many bowlers as he earned a reputation for dominating the proceedings through his aggressive strokeplay. His extraordinary hand-eye coordination and his fearless intent to score runs made him a very lethal batsman to bowl to. On the other hand, he reaped many rewards for his canny slow left-arm bowling, relying more on variations in pace than on sharp turn.
Spanning a time period of 15 years from 1992-2007, Jayasuriya notched up 1165 runs at a decent average of 34.26. However, his strike rate was on the higher side for the most part hovering around the 90-mark. Add to that, the Sri Lankan batting-allrounder smashed three centuries and six half-centuries in all World Cup editions.
He played his best World Cup knock against New Zealand where he made a vital contribution of 120 (125) to steer Sri Lanka to a decent first-innings total. In the end, Sri Lanka registered a convincing 47-run victory.
6. Chris Gayle, West Indies (1186)
Famously dubbed “Universe Boss” has played absolute blinders during his World Cup years that have entertained fans worldwide. Gayle was an explosive top-order batsman who would go to extreme lengths to ruthlessly punish the bowlers. Tall and imposing at the crease, Gayle loved to carve through the covers and also had the ability to clear the ropes effortlessly. Among his many strengths, perhaps the biggest one was his outstanding hand-eye coordination, which allowed him to regularly hit even good-length deliveries for boundaries.
From 2003-2019, Gayle plundered the bowlers and scored 1186 runs at a killer strike rate of 90.53 while averaging 35.93. In addition, he has bagged 2 centuries and 6 half-centuries across all World Cup editions. He obliterated Zimbabwe in the 2015 World Cup edition where he became the first batsman in the history of the World Cup to score a double century, making a magnificent 215 (147).
5. AB de Villiers, South Africa (1207 runs)
De Villiers was a 360-degree batter loaded with overflowing talent and temperament who could hit any ball anywhere and against any bowler. He was loved and highly respected by many cricketing greats and fans from all around the world. De Villers was an attacking wicket-keeper batsman who shattered some long-standing records in ODI cricket.
Talking about his batting exploits in the World Cup, de Villiers accumulated 1207 runs at an unbelievable strike rate of 117.29 while averaging a staggering high of 63.52. He ended his World Cup stint with four centuries and six half-centuries, meaning he's scored the fifth most runs in ODI World Cups.
He achieved his highest individual World Cup score of 162* against West Indies in the 2015 World Cup which went down in the record books as the fattest 150 ever to be scored in ODI cricket.
4. Brian Lara, West Indies (1225 runs)
Lara was an elegant left-handed batsman hailing from Trinidad whose delightful strokeplay was a joy to watch. He represented the West Indies across all formats and was widely acknowledged as one of the greatest batsmen of all time. Low stance, high backlift, and bent front knee were some of the foundations of his resilient batting abilities.
From 1992-2007, Lara participated in five World Cup tournaments and scored 1225 runs at an impressive average of 42.24 while striking it at 86.26. Lara played a match-winning knock of 116 (134) in the 2003 World Cup which infamously knocked South Africa out of the tournament.
3. Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka (1532 runs)
Kumar Sangakkara was arguably one of the best wicketkeeper-batsmen ever produced by Sri Lanka. He had an elegant touch to his batting and was known to play some delightful strokes all around the park. Furthermore, Sangakkara was mentally tough as a batsman too who could occasionally unleash some sharp banter from behind the stumps.
In his 12-year-long World Cup career, Kumar piled up 1532 runs at a jaw-dropping average of 56.74 which included five centuries and seven half-centuries, putting him third in our most runs in ODI World Cups list. He achieved his best individual World Cup score of 124 (95) before calling time on his international career during the 2015 World Cup campaign against Scotland.
2. Ricky Ponting, Australia (1743 runs)
Ricky Ponting is the most uncompromising player of his generation who grew into Australia's most successful run-maker and sits below only Bradman among the greatest batters the country has produced. Commonly referred to as “Punter” was an absolute nightmare for many teams, especially India who found themselves at the receiving end of Ponting’s relentless blitzkrieg.
From a period between 1996-2011, Ponting scored 1743 runs at a swashbuckling average of 45.86 while maintaining a strike rate of just under 80. In addition, he has also scored five centuries and six half-centuries which includes his best score of 140* which deflated India in the 2003 World Cup final by a whopping margin.
1. Sachin Tendulkar, India (2278 runs)
Who else? The master blaster from India tops our list of the most runs in ODI World Cups. Sachin has scored the most number of runs in the ODI World Cup. He was the most complete batter of his time, the most prolific run-maker, and arguably the biggest cricket icon the game has ever known.
Tendulkar’s batting was based on the purest principles such as perfect balance, economy of movement, precision in stroke-making, and anticipation. In a period spanning from 1992-2011, Sachin piled up 2278 runs at a healthy average of 56.95 with a strike rate of 88.98. He has scored six centuries and 15 half-centuries which includes his best score of 152 which steamrolled Namibia by a colossal 181 runs in the 2003 World Cup edition.