The original game changers

Highest impact ODI players in Sri Lanka's history.

The presence of Upul Tharanga on this list is a positive sign for the future of Sri Lankan cricket. Even though Tharanga doesn't have a single SD to his name, his run scoring propensity (Runs Tally IMPACT) puts him on this list. His combination with Tillakaratne Dilshan (who is placed 6th on this list) at the top of the order has done wonders for Sri Lanka in the recent past and both of them make for a highly promising pair still.

NOTE: If the cut-off is lowered to 50 matches (from 75), Roy Dias (1.42) becomes the tenth-highest impact batsman for Sri Lanka in their history of ODI cricket.

The stories that unfold on various batting parameters are revealing.

When it comes to Runs Tally IMPACT (proportion of match runs made through career), the highest impact batsmen are Kumar Sangakkara, Aravinda De Silva and Marvan Atapattu.

The highest Strike Rate IMPACT batsmen (highest strike rates relative to all the matches in their careers) are Sanath Jayasuriya, Aravinda De Silva and Arjuna Ranatunga.

The best Pressure IMPACT batsmen (those who absorbed the most pressure that came about due to fall of wickets) are Marvan Atapattu, Kumar Sangakkara and Asanka Gurusinha.

The batsmen with the highest Partnership Building IMPACT (who built the most partnerships in the middle) are Marvan Atapattu, Kumar Sangakkara and Aravinda De Silva.

The best Chasing IMPACT batsmen (who registered the highest impact while chasing a target) are Marvan Atapattu, Aravinda De Silva and Arjuna Ranatunga.

The batsmen with the lowest failure rates (a failure is seen in this system as an inability to register an IMPACT of even 1 in a match) are Marvan Atapattu, Kumar Sangakkara and Arjuna Ranatunga.

The Highest Impact Batting Performances in Sri Lanka's ODI history:

1. ST Jayasuriya - 189 off 161 v India, Sharjah, 2000 - Batting IMPACT 16.37

In an exhibition of brutal hitting, Sanath Jayasuriya blasted open the Indian bowling attack in this final encounter of the Coca Cola Champions Trophy in 1999. Jayasuriya's knock came at a time when Sri Lanka were struggling at 116-4 off 28 overs and propelled them to a score of 299 runs. India, in reply, collapsed to the lowest ever score in their ODI history and managed to score only 54 runs. Jayasuriya's innings till date is not only the highest individual score by a Sri Lankan batsman in an ODI innings but is also the highest impact batting performance in the history of ODI cricket.

2. TM Dilshan - 137 not out off 139 v Pakistan, Lahore, 2009 - Batting IMPACT 9.24

Even though Tillakaratne Dilshan wasn't at his usual attacking best in this innings, he made sure that the Sri Lankans didn't lose early wickets under overcast conditions against a competent Pakistani bowling attack and scored 100 off 119 balls (slow by his standards) before teeing off at the end to see Sri Lanka through to a total of 309. In reply, the entire Pakistani team could muster up only 75 runs which eventually saw the series going 2-1 to Sri Lanka's favour.

3. ST Jayasuriya - 125 off 114 v India, Karachi, 2008 - Batting IMPACT 9.11

With Sri Lanka faltering at 66-4 in 12 overs, the much needed change of course in their innings was provided by their veteran opener. Jayasuriya steadied the ship alongwith Dilshan and in his usual aggressive manner gave the Sri Lankan innings a much needed thrust to take them to a total of 275 runs. In reply, India fell short by a margin of 100 runs which resulted in an Asia Cup win for the Lankans. 

The above performances are all within the series/tournament context. When it comes to a match context also, Sanath Jayasuriya's above mentioned knock of 189 off 161 balls registers as the highest impact batting performance in the history of Sri Lankan ODI cricket. Sanath Jayasuriya's unbeaten knock of 151 off 120 balls v India (Mumbai, 1997)  and Thilan Samaraweera's 104 not out off 124 balls v New Zealand (Colombo, 2009) are the second and the third highest impact batting performances in a match context, respectively.

Aravinda de Silva's twin classics in the knockout stages of the 1996 World Cup - 66 off 63 v India in the semis (after his team was 1 for 2) and 107 off 124 in the final (after his team was 23-2) may not register amongst the peak-highest on the impact scale in a match or series level (as it does not distinguish between World Cups and other tournaments) but in terms of the individual weight of tournament-defining performances, it is emphatically right up there in Sri Lankan ODI cricket history.


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