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Feb 20, 2019, 10:17:00 AM

Ross Taylor overtakes Stephen Fleming to become Kiwis’ top ODI scorer

New Zealand’s veteran batsman Ross Taylor surpassed Stephen Fleming on Wednesday to become the leading ODI run-scorer for the Kiwis. Taylor went past Fleming in the Black Caps’ third ODI against Bangladesh at Dunedin's University Oval.

Taylor scored 69 from 82 balls to go beyond Fleming’s 8007 runs for the Kiwis and become the new benchmark for aspiring young New Zealanders to surpass. The 34-year-old right-hander began the day on 7957 ODI runs from 217 matches at an average of 48.22 and required just 51 more runs to displace Fleming from top spot.

He brought up the milestone with a single down to fine leg having reached his 47th ODI fifty – the most by any New Zealander – three balls earlier. Taylor also became the fourth fastest batsmen to reach 8000 runs during the innings. Only Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Sourav Ganguly have made it to 8000 runs faster than Taylor in ODIs.

After the game Taylor spoke about how humbled he felt after becoming his nation’s leading ODI run-getter. "I knew I was close at the start of the day. It was nice to get to 8000 runs and it was a lovely reception that I got, very humbling from this crowd," he said.

He also stressed that longevity will be crucial for whoever goes past him in the future. "I would've definitely taken [becoming New Zealand’s leading ODI run-scorer] when I played my first match donkeys of years ago now. If you play long enough, some of these records come along. It's nice to set the bar for the next guy – probably [Martin Guptill] and Kane [Williamson] after that," Taylor enthused.

While New Zealand have plenty of promising youngster coming through, beating Taylor’s records once he decides to hang up his boots will take some doing. Besides having most fifties and being the leading ODI scorer, Taylor has also hit more ODI centuries than anyone else for the Kiwis.

Known for his adaptability in any situation, Taylor also happens to boast the highest average of any New Zealand batsman with more than 500 ODI runs. However, there’s one record that still eludes him and belongs to Fleming.

Since Fleming didn’t just represent the Kiwis but also the ICC World XI during his ODI career, it takes his overall runs tally in the 50-over format to 8,037 – 11 runs clear of Taylor. Having said that, it’s only a matter of time before Taylor adds that aforementioned feather to his cap as well. And what better occasion to get those runs than cricket’s grandest stage, the 2019 World Cup in England.

Words: Andre Pitts

Images: PA