The Best Finishing Batters in Cricket History: Ranking the Greats

The role of every batter in a batting order is predefined and every role is very important for a team’s success. Be it the top order batsmen leading the batting order and scoring runs in the powerplay overs, the middle order providing stability while keeping the run rate high or the lower middle order batters who eventually decide the result of the game with their batting. Of all these, the role of a finisher for a team is super important. They are the batsmen who help a team chase down an unimaginable target or propel a team’s total to a defendable or winnable target. Though it’s a job with very high pressure and expectations, there have been some finishing batsmen who have owned this responsibility and dominated bowlers in the death overs with their batting

In this article by ZAP, let’s look at some of the best finishers in cricket history. 

The Best Finishers in Cricket History:

MS Dhoni

A still image of the iconic Dhoni shot, where his hit a six to win India the world cup finalCredit: ESPNCricinfo 

Mahendra Singh Dhoni, also fondly known as 'Captain Cool', is one of the most exceptional finishers cricket has ever seen. His knack for staying calm under pressure and his strategic approach to the game set him apart on the field. Dhoni's record of remaining unbeaten 47 times in successful run chases speaks volumes about his ability to steer India to victory when it mattered most. Whether it was his memorable innings in the 2006 ODI series against Pakistan, his iconic 91 not out in the 2011 World Cup final, or the knock against the Tri Nations Final against Sri Lanka, Dhoni has played knocks that are nothing but legendary. What truly makes Dhoni a legend is his unique blend of power and technical ability, adapting his gameplay to suit the demands of the situation and this solidifies his status as one of the greatest finishers in cricket history.

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Michael Bevan

Michael Bevan batting in an ODI match for Australia
Credit: ESPN Cricinfo

Michael Bevan is widely recognised as one of the greatest finishers in cricket history due to the innumerable times he has led Australia to victory from seemingly impossible situations. Known for his methodical approach, Bevan often came to the rescue after top-order collapses, masterfully planning his innings. Over his career, he scored 6,912 runs at an impressive average of 53.58 in 232 ODIs, often batting at the challenging number six position, where he averaged 56.71. One memorable instance of his finishing ability was during a 1995-96 World Series match against the West Indies, where Australia was struggling at 38 for 6. Bevan's unbeaten 78 runs, including a crucial boundary off the last ball, secured a miraculous win for his team. His ability to consistently perform under pressure made him a key player for Australia, winning almost 67% of the matches he played in. Even in today's era of cricket with more favourable conditions for batsmen, very few have been able to match Bevan's extraordinary ODI batting average.

Lance Klusener

Lance Klusener batting in an ODI match against Pakistan
Credit: The Telegraph

Lance Klusener is celebrated as one of cricket's best finishers due to his incredible ability to win matches for South Africa with his powerful hitting and calmness under pressure. Known as a "one-day wrecker," Klusener often blitzed the opposition at the end of games, securing victories that seemed out of reach. Not just a brilliant finishing batsman, he could also be regarded as one of South Africa’s premier all rounders. During the 1999 World Cup, he scored an outstanding 250 runs and took 17 wickets in just eight games, winning the Man of the Tournament award. Also, in a 1999 ODI against New Zealand, Klusener hit a last-ball six to win the game for SA, and in 2000, he rescued South Africa by scoring 59 runs off 42 balls, including crucial boundaries on the final delivery. His consistent performances earned him the title of 2000 Wisden Cricketer of the Year. Throughout his career from 1996 to 2004, Klusener played 171 ODIs, scoring 3,576 runs at an average of 41.10 and taking 192 wickets, solidifying his legacy as one of the most destructive and reliable finishers in ODI cricket history.

Jos Buttler

Jos Buttler Plays a scoop shot while batting for England in an ODI game
Credit: ESPN Cricinfo

Jos Buttler, England's current white-ball captain, is widely regarded as one of the best finishers in international cricket due to his exceptional ability to play under pressure and close out games. Since his debut in 2011, Buttler has consistently demonstrated his skill across all formats at all batting positions, right from as an opener to a lower order finisher. But, his impact is particularly the most in One-Day Internationals (ODIs). With a batting average of 40.43 in ODIs and a highest score of 162, Buttler has a knack for accelerating the run rate quickly while playing high percentage cricket strokes. Known for his power and versatility, he can hit spectacular shots all around the field, making him a bowler’s true nightmare.

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Keiron Pollard

Keiron Pollar batting against the RCB in an IPL match
Credit: NDTV Sports

Kieron Pollard is a batting anomaly in cricket, embodying the modern-day power hitter. With his strong physique and exceptional strength, Pollard could dispatch the ball for a 100 metre six even on a mishit. Such was his power hitting ability. Renowned for his capacity to handle pressure situations with ease and smack any bowler in the death overs, Pollard proved monumental in Mumbai Indians' success in the IPL and also a key player for the West Indies. His ability to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat single-handedly made him a crucial asset for the West Indies team. Pollard's impact as a finisher is not only seen in his aggressive batting style but also in his ability to deliver under the most dire of situations, making him a part of this list.

AB de Villiers

AB de Villiers Plays a shot through the off side

Credit: The Times of India

Often called Mr 360 of Cricket for his ability to hit shots all around the ground, AB de Villiers is considered one of the best finishers in cricket history. Representing South Africa from 2004 to 2018, he scored over 19,000 runs across all formats, showcasing his remarkable skill and consistency. De Villiers also scored a record-breaking fastest century in ODIs, in just 31 balls against the West Indies in 2015. His ODI batting average of 53.5 and and has a highest score of 176 in the format. Known for his calmness under pressure and inventive shot-making, he could change the course of a game single-handedly. And not just for the South African Cricket Team, his exploits with the bat in the death overs have made him a legend for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL. 

Shahid Afridi

Shahid Afridi batting in an ODI Game for Pakistan
Credit: Bleacher Report

Shahid Afridi is known as one of the best all rounders and finishers in cricket history due to his explosive batting and ability to win matches under pressure. Known for his fearless approach and powerful hitting, Afridi could dismantle any bowling attack with ease. His confidence and aggressive attitude made him a game-changer for Pakistan. Afridi holds the record for the most Man of the Match awards for Pakistan, with 32 to his name. A memorable example of his finishing prowess was in the 2009 T20 World Cup final, where he scored an unbeaten 54 runs off 40 balls, leading Pakistan to victory against Sri Lanka. Another highlight was in the 2014 Asia Cup, where he hit two consecutive sixes in the final over against India, scoring 34 off just 18 balls, to secure a thrilling one-wicket win. 

Michael Hussey

Michael Hussey Batting in an ODI game
Credit: NDTV Sports

Michael Hussey, famously known as "Mr. Cricket," is regarded as one of the best finishers in cricket history due to his remarkable consistency and ability to perform under pressure. Known for his dependable batting, Hussey quickly earned a reputation for delivering victories for Australia, often single-handedly. In the 21 ODIs he batted at position seven, he scored 725 runs at an astonishing average of 120.83. Hussey was also the fastest to reach 1,000 ODI runs in terms of days taken and the fourth fastest to 2,000 runs in Test cricket. One of his most memorable performances came in the 2010 World T20 semifinal, where Australia needed 17 runs from the last 5 balls. Hussey hit 6, 4, 6, and 6 off Saeed Ajmal, scoring 60 runs off just 24 balls and remaining unbeaten, securing a thrilling victory. 

Chris Cairns

Chris Cairns batting in an ODI game against India
Credit: CricTracker

The Kiwi cricketer Chris Cairns is regarded as one of the best finishers in cricket history, thanks to his exceptional skills as a hard-hitting middle-order batsman and all-rounder. Known for his ability to smash towering sixes and dominate any bowling attack, Cairns was a nightmare for bowlers. He held the world record for the most sixes in Test cricket and is still remembered for the multiple match-winning innings he played for New Zealand. Cairns' standout performances include his unbeaten century against South Africa in the VB series and his match-winning century in the 2000 ICC Champions Trophy final against India, helping New Zealand win their first ICC title. Not only was he a potent batsman, but Cairns also excelled with the ball, becoming one of just eight players to achieve 210 wickets and 3,320 runs in Test cricket, along with a second ODI double of 201 wickets and 4,950 runs. 

Javed Miandad

Javed Miandad batting in a Test Match for Pakistan
Credit: ESPN Cricinfo

Javed Miandad was known for his exceptional ability to carefully watch the ball and strike it with precision and he was a master of control at the crease. His courage and fortitude were evident from the beginning of his career, scoring a century in his first Test match and a double century in his third. However, his most iconic moment came in the 1986 Austral-Asia Cup final, where he famously hit a six off the last ball of the match to secure victory for Pakistan. What sets Miandad apart is his remarkable consistency in finishing matches; he remained unbeaten in nearly half of his innings while chasing, averaging an impressive 66.24. Despite the challenges of the 1980s cricket era, Miandad's ability to finish games was unmatched, with his 8,832 test runs at an average of 52.57 remaining the most for Pakistan. He is without a doubt one of the best finishing batsmen in cricket history. 


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