Top 5 Batsman in World Cup (ODI): Know the Superstars

Former India cricketer Sachin Tendulkar undoubtedly tops the list of the top five batsmen in the World Cup.

Top 5 Batsman in World Cup (ODI): Know the Superstars
Subhayan Dutta

Written by: Subhayan Dutta

(Sports Writer)

Fact checked by: Dillip Mohanty

(Sports Editor)

Last updated: 2023-10-03

Former India cricketer Sachin Tendulkar undoubtedly tops the list of the top five batsmen in the World Cup (ODI) with 2278 runs across six editions of the 50-over format.

With six centuries and 15 fifties, the Master Blaster’s longevity and consistency at the World Cup are unparalleled. He is followed by former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting, who doesn’t have as many runs but more World Cup titles.

Both feature in the list of top five batsmen in the World Cup apart from some of the classiest and most prolific players that cricket has ever seen. Let’s have a look.

Top Five Batsman in World Cup (ODI)

TOP 5 BATSMAN IN WORLD CUP (ODI).png

1. Sachin Tendulkar | 2278 runs in 45 World Cup matches

A young Tendulkar made his World Cup debut in t 1992 held in Australia and New Zealand, and it wasn’t a bad campaign. An unbeaten 54 against Pakistan and a gritty 84 against New Zealand were the highlights apart from Tendulkar being the highest scorer for India (81) against Zimbabwe, where the veterans failed to impact. However, India lost five matches in the round-robin stage to get eliminated.

The 1996 World Cup was held in the sub-continent and an in-form Tendulkar carried expectations of his countrymen. He wasted no time living up to it with an unbeaten 127 runs in the opening match against Kenya. Tendulkar’s crucial knocks of 70 against West Indies, 90 against Australia and a brilliant 137 against eventual champions Sri Lanka helped India reach the semis in that World Cup edition.

The 1999 World Cup went past India with a whimper as the Mohammad Azharuddin-led side finished last in the Super Six stage. However, with most players underperforming, Tendulkar still pulled off an unbeaten 140 against Kenya.

India were a new-look side in the 2003 World Cup under the aegis of Sourav Ganguly. India went to the final for the first time since 1983 and it was the same old Tendulkar who led the batting, tallying 673 runs. Whether it be his 152 against Namibia, 50 against England, an iconic 98 against Pakistan or 97 against Sri Lanka, all are part of today's cricketing folklore. Unfortunately, this ended in a heartbreak with Australia beating India in the final.

The 2007 World Cup was a dark chapter with India getting ousted from the group stages with Tendulkar’s unbeaten 57 against Namibia being a short relief for the fans. However, the best was yet to come when India hosted the World Cup 2011 under MS Dhoni’s captaincy.

Many touted it to be Tendulkar’s last World Cup and the fairytale couldn’t have ended any better. Tendulkar was in great touch, scoring two centuries against England and Sri Lanka apart from providing crucial starts of 53 and 85 against Australia and Pakistan in the quarter and semi-final, respectively. Though he couldn’t score big against Sri Lanka in the final, Gautam Gambhir and MS Dhoni ensured that the Indian legend got a proper send-off from his favourite tournament.

2. Ricky Ponting | 1743 runs in 46 World Cup matches

Having openers like Mark Waugh, Adam Gilchrist, Mathew Hayden and Shane Watson ahead of Ricky Ponting meant that the middle-order batsman hardly got time to build an innings. However, this doesn’t take anything away from the legendary Australian captain who led the side to two titles in 2003 and 2007, with his team remaining unbeaten.

Ricky Ponting in 2003 Cricket World Cup.jpeg

Making his World Cup debut in 1996 a young Ponting was still testing the waters with his only big score being a 102-run knock against West Indies. However, he was the second-highest scorer for Australia in the final with a crucial 45-run innings against a bowling-heavy Sri Lanka, albeit it came in a losing cause.

The 1999 World Cup was relatively silent for Ponting where the star-studded side around him was enough to carry the team to the title. However, Ponting’s 69-run knock against South Africa, after Australia were down to 20/2, is one of the lesser-appreciated World Cup knocks.

Ponting returned in the 2003 World Cup as the captain and established himself as a big-match player. He would score 114 against Sri Lanka in the group stages before making the most important century of his career against India, in the World Cup final. His unbeaten 140 took the result beyond doubt even before India came out to chase a target of 360 runs.

A world-class Australia team would win the 2007 World Cup needing little contribution from captain Ponting, quite similar to the ‘99 WC campaign. Like Tendulkar, the 2011 World Cup was Ponting’s swansong as well. And while he remained silent the entire campaign, he chose another big match (WC quarterfinals versus hosts India) to roar one last time.  With the tournament at stake, Ponting scored 104 runs although it couldn’t stop Australia from getting eliminated.

3. Kumar Sangakkara | 1532 runs in 47 World Cup matches

Despite being a part of the   2003 World Cup, Kumar Sangakkara didn’t really arrive at the World Cup stage until 2011. The wicket-keeper batsman was largely a bits-and-pieces player for the first two campaigns.

By 2007, however, Sangakkara was a pivotal batsman for Sri Lanka and he started the World Cup with a promising 76 against Bermuda. He would score 56 against Bangladesh and an unbeaten 69 against New Zealand but couldn’t convert good starts into big scores. Sangakkara’s 54 against Australia in the final was a similar instance where he started strongly before fizzling out as his team lost the grip.

Kumar Sangakkara 2015 World Cup.jpeg

A full-fledged Sangakkara would turn up for the 2011 World Cup, where he tallied 465 runs to take his team to the final. He scored his first-ever World Cup ton against New Zealand at Wankhede - a match-defining 111 runs. But, while his brief knocks helped Sri Lanka reach the final, his crucial 48 runs in the final against India did little to help his side. It was all, however, a build-up for the 2015 World Cup.

Sangakkara entered the 2015 World Cup announcing that he would retire post that campaign and he played likewise. He went full throttle from Sri Lanka’s third group match against Bangladesh where he remained unbeaten at 105. He would score three consecutive centuries after that with his scores reading 117*, 104 and 124 against England, Australia and Scotland, respectively, thus taking Sri Lanka to the quarterfinal single-handedly. Unfortunately, the Lankans lost to South Africa although Sangakkara ended his last World Cup as the second-highest runscorer.

4. Brian Lara | 1225 runs in 34 World Cup matches  

Arguably the best batsman to come out of the Caribbean since Sir Vivian Richards, Brian Lara had a rather sad tryst with the World Cup. Unfortunately, he was plying his trade at a time when the West Indies had lost their ferocity.

Lara made a promising World Cup debut in 1992 with an unbeaten 88 against Pakistan and followed it up with scores like 72 against Zimbabwe, 52 against New Zealand and 70 against Australia. However, an ineffective bowling attack and flailing batting order saw West Indies exiting the group stages.

Brian Lara in ODI.jpeg

A rejuvenated West Indies had reached the semi-finals in ‘96, under Richie Richardson’s leadership, and Lara played a crucial role. Having lost three matches on the trot, West Indies needed to beat Australia to progress and Lara’s 60 alongside Richardson’s unbeaten 93 helped their cause. In the quarter-final against South Africa, Lara’s 111-run knock was just enough to put the game beyond the opponents’ reach. West Indies, however, would narrowly lose to Australia in the semis as Lara’s 45-run knock went in vain.

The ‘99 World Cup remains a forgettable chapter where he underperformed alongside a weak West Indies side and were eliminated from the group stages. The 2003 World Cup saw Lara start with a century against South Africa but barring a 46 and 73 against Bangladesh and Canada, respectively, he remained mostly erratic and West Indies couldn’t progress beyond the group stages.

Captaining West Indies for the 2007 last World Cup on home soil, Lara would take his side to the Super 8 after being put into an easy group alongside Pakistan, Ireland and Zimbabwe. However, after the first game of Super 8 against Australia, where Lara’s 77 meant little, the southpaw seemingly gave up as West Indies would win just twice to bow out of the tournament.

5. AB de Villiers | 1207 in 23 World Cup matches

An out-and-out pinch hitter, AB de Villiers played for the team and lived for the moments. Making his debut in the 2007 World Cup as an opener under Graeme Smith’s captaincy, he wasted little time to make an impact. A quickfire 62 and 92 against Australia and Scotland, respectively, saw the world take notice of his talent. De Villiers’ 142 against West Indies and 42 against England would prove crucial in taking the Proteas to the semis before they lost to Australia.

De Villiers started the 2011 World Cup with two consecutive centuries against West Indies and the Netherlands, continuing to open. However, a holistic poor display by the side saw them lose to New Zealand that year despite De Villiers tallying 353 runs in five games.

AB de Villiers 2015 Cricket World Cup.jpeg

He came to the 2015 World Cup as the skipper, moving down the batting order to take more responsibility and played that role to perfection. After poor performances against Zimbabwe and India, he would make his highest World Cup score of an unbeaten 162 against West Indies. His 77 and 99 against Pakistan and UAE, respectively, helped his side to enter the quarterfinals from second place.

De Villiers’ last World Cup outing was a memorable one against hosts New Zealand in the semi-final. With the possibility of rain hovering over the match, his quickfire 65 runs coming down the order helped South Africa put a formidable target for the Kiwis but some last-over dramatics by Grant Elliott saw the exciting De Villiers retire from ODIs without the World Cup title.

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Subhayan Dutta

Subhayan Dutta

An M.A. in English Literature, Subhayan is an experienced journalist and sports writer. Having worked as a journalist at Hindustan Times, Subhayan covered diverse beats including sports, education, and health, showcasing his versatility and in-depth understanding of various subjects.

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