Bangladesh v Australia, 2nd ODI, Mirpur April 11, 2011

Master of the run-chase

A spate of records fell by the wayside as Shane Watson unleashed his fury on the hapless bowlers. A look at some of the major landmarks from Watson's 96-ball unbeaten 185

  • Fifteen sixes in an innings is easily a new ODI record; the previous best was Xavier Marshall's 12 against Canada during an unbeaten knock of 157. Marshall needed 118 balls for his 12 sixes; Watson's 15 came off only 96, which means he averaged nearly one six per over.

  • Apart from 15 sixes, Watson struck as many fours, which means 150 of his 185 runs came in boundaries. That's a record too, bettering Herschelle Gibbs 126 runs in boundaries during the course of his 175 in that record-breaking match against Australia in Johannesburg.

  • Watson's score surpassed Matthew Hayden's unbeaten 181 to become the highest in ODIs by an Australian. It's also the highest by any batsman in a run-chase, edging ahead of MS Dhoni's unbeaten 183 against Sri Lanka in 2005.

    In fact, of the top 21 ODI scores by Australian batsmen, only three have come when batting second, and all of them belong to Watson - he also scored an unbeaten 161 out of a team total of 297 against England less than three months ago, and 136 not out against the same opposition in the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy in 2009. The highest in a run-chase by an Australian other than Shane Watson is 133 not out by Mark Waugh.

    Not surprisingly, Watson averages 32.81 in the first innings in ODIs, and 64.30 in the second. Five of his six hundreds have come in run-chases.

  • Watson's century came off 69 balls, which the third-fastest by an Australian, after Matthew Hayden's 66-ball effort against South Africa, and Adam Gilchrist's hundred off 67 against Sri Lanka.

  • Watson finished with a strike rate of 192.70, which is the highest for an ODI innings of at least 70 deliveries. A total of 6791 innings make the 70-ball cut, but only five of them have strike-rates of more than 160. His average of 3.2 balls per four or six is also the best among these innings - Virender Sehwag is next for his 70-ball 100 against New Zealand in Colombo, when he averaged 3.5 deliveries per boundary.

  • Of Watson's 185 runs, only 38 were scored on the off side, while 148 came on the leg side. All 15 of his sixes were scored in the arc between square leg and long-on, while only six of his 15 fours were struck through the off side.

  • A break-up of Watson's stats against each bowler further illustrates how helpless Bangladesh's bowlers were: Watson's lowest strike rate was against Shakib Al Hasan, and he conceded 26 off 20. Against Suhrawadi Shuvo, Watson slammed 39 off 11, including four sixes in an over. Shuvo went for 46 off three overs, which is among the most expensive for a bowler who's bowled at least three overs in an ODI: only Dolar Mahmud and Sreesanth have done worse.

    Watson against Bangladesh bowlers
    Bowler Runs Balls Strike rate 4s/ 6s
    Abdul Razzak 51 28 182.14 4/ 5
    Suhrawadi Shuvo 39 11 354.54 1/ 5
    Rubel Hossain 37 24 154.16 5/ 1
    Shakib Al Hasan 26 20 130.00 0/ 3
    Shafiul Islam 25 11 227.27 5/ 0
    Mahmudullah 7 2 350.00 0/ 1

    The table clearly shows that Watson was brutal against left-arm spin, but there was perhaps one trick that Shakib could have tried, if only out of sheer desperation. Watson was continuously slog-sweeping and pulling the spinners to leg, but the left-armers continued to bowl from round the wicket, instead of switching to over the wicket and forcing Watson to hit against the angle of the delivery. From the four deliveries that the left-arm spinners bowled over the stumps - all by Shakib, in the 17th over of the innings - Watson scored only a single; off the 55 deliveries bowled from round the stumps, he scored a staggering 115 runs, including 13 sixes.

    Watson v left-arm spin, over and round the wicket
    Delivery angle Runs Balls Run rate 4s/ 6s
    Over the wicket 1 4 1.50 0/ 0
    Round the wicket 115 55 12.54 5/ 13

  • Thanks to Watson's blitz, Australia won with 144 balls to spare, which is the second-quickest chase for a 200-plus score.

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo

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