Trivia - batting June 11, 2008

'Unfulfilled' team innings in ODI matches

A look at performances in ODIs in which teams didn't make use of all their resources, and ended up losing matches despite having plenty of wickets in hand

Continuing the ODI analysis work, here is another aspect. What do I mean by "unfulfilled" innings? An example, from an imaginary match will suffice.

England: 250 for 2 in 50.0 overs lost to Australia: 251 for 7 in 49.3 overs

A single line summary of a match. It conveys a lot. We do not need any further match or player information to sense that there was something wrong as far as the England innings was concerned. What were the England batsmen thinking? Whoever be the Australian bowlers, should they not have gone on to score, say, 270 for 6 or for that matter, 290 for 9. Especially as the Australian bowlers seemed to have taken very few wickets, indicating a batsmen-friendly pitch and/or lack of penetration. Let us ignore the current favourite broadcasters' jargon, "no bounce", "two-paced", "not coming on to bat", "ball stopping" et al. The bottom line, especially in view of the Australian reply, was that English batsmen messed up, and messed up big time.

If England were 150 for 0/1/2 at the end of 40 overs, one cannot blame the batsmen who played the last 10 overs. The initial 40 overs were played too slowly. If England were 180 for 0/1/2 at the end of 40 overs, one cannot blame the early batsmen since there was a good platform. The blame rests squarely on the last 10 overs' strategy. In any case, there was a huge strategy mis-fire.

It is a tricky bit of data mining work to unearth such matches. The criteria, gathered after a lot of hits and misses, are outlined below. We cannot afford to have too many matches to study, nor, for that matter, too few.

1. First batting team to lose the match. I have couple of matches relating to a chasing situation at the end of the article. 2. Losing team to have quite a number of wickets at their disposal at the innings end, say no less than 6. 3. Winning team not to have too much of the team resources (as nicely defined by Duckworth and Lewis) at their disposal. In other words, not too many wickets left nor too many deliveries. If the chasing team won with 7/8 wickets in hand and over 5 overs at their disposal, anything more the first batting team did would probably have been insufficient. 4. No D/L coming into play. D/L throws everything out of gear. In the 2003 WC Final, after Australia scored 359, if the match had been abandoned after 20 overs, India could have won with scores of 90/0, 102/1 or 118/3 or lost with scores of 88/0, 100/1 or 116/3. Most sane analyses go out of the window in these matches.

It does not matter at all in these innings which batsmen were still available to bat at the end. Once it has been concluded that there were no less than 7 batsmen available, it does not matter a wee bit, whether this lot of seven or more contained Shahid Afridi or Chris Martin.

It must be remembered that the chasing team has the major advantage that they know their target and they could afford to lose the wickets, even in a heap, in order to reach the target. The first batting team does not have such luxuries. However there is no getting away from the fact, in such matches, that all the resources at their disposal were not put to 100% use. It is also possible that, especially in matches where teams have scored high and lost, the bowlers could be blamed. However that is outside the scope of this analysis.

The idea is to clearly separate matches in which the first batting team messed up in a big way. The reasons why they did so is not important. It is enough to isolate such matches. I have identified a total of 14 matches. An additional interesting data I have shown is the unbeaten partnership at the end of the innings. This will let us get a slightly better idea of the innings.

Team batting first

Odi# 717. Pakistan vs West Indies Played on 23 February 1992 at Melbourne Cricket Ground. West Indies won by 10 wickets. Pakistan: 220 for 2 wkt(s) in 50.0 overs. Unbeaten 3rd wkt ptshp: 123

  • Rameez Raja 102*(158), Javed Miandad 57*(61)
West Indies: 221 for 0 wkt(s) in 46.5 overs
  • Haynes D.L 93*(144), Lara B.C 88r(101)
This match does not fall into the data mining criteria already given and is provided only to show the type of matches left out. There is no doubt that Pakistan under-achieved to the tune of about 30 runs. Note how self-centred Ramiz Raja's innings was, taking 158 balls to score 102 runs. However West Indies' response indicated that they had the resources, both wickets and balls to score these 30 runs and more.

Only one match in which the losing team lost just 2 wickets.

1. ODI # 2096. South Africa vs West Indies. Played on 4 February 2004 at New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg. South Africa won by 4 wickets. West Indies: 304 for 2 wkt(s) in 50.0 overs. Unbeaten 3rd wkt ptshp: 92

  • Gayle C.H 152*(153), Chanderpaul S 85 (114), Powell R.L 49*(24)
South Africa: 310 for 6 wkt(s) in 49.4 overs
  • Smith G.C 58 (60), Kallis J.H 139 (142)
The first match selected is painful for me because I watched this match and was furious at the way West Indies messed up their innings. In this case the blame must rest on their early batsman since the last 10 overs added over 100 runs. Look at the South African innings. They had very little to spare, especially balls. They had almost reached their limits. If West Indies had scored 20 more runs, which was there for the taking, they would have won the match. A classic example of a team which shoots itself in the foot.

Now for the teams which lost 3 wickets.

2. ODI # 1391. England vs Sri Lanka. Played on 23 January 1999 at Adelaide Oval. Sri Lanka won by 1 wicket. England: 302 for 3 wkt(s) in 50.0 overs. Unbeaten 4th wkt ptshp: 154

  • Hick G.A 126*(118) Fairbrother N.H 78*(71)
Sri Lanka: 303 for 9 wkt(s) in 49.4 overs
  • Jayasuriya S.T 51 (36), Jayawardene D.P.M.D 120 (111)
This is as perfect as we are likely to get to this particular type of match. England with 7 wickets in hand probably fell 30 runs short. Sri Lanka just about managed it. Only one wicket and two balls at their disposal. 5 runs would have been their limit. It is probably unfair to throw the blame on the English batsmen when they finished with a 300+ score. However there is no denying the fact that they fell a few runs short. Either Hick or Fairbrother should have pressed the pedal.

3. ODI # 538. India vs New Zealand. Played on 17 December 1988 at Moti Bagh Stadium, Baroda. India won by 2 wickets. New Zealand: 278 for 3 wkt(s) in 50.0 overs. Unbeaten 4th wkt ptshp: 67

  • Wright J.G 70 (96), Jones A.H 57 (85), Greatbatch M.J 84*(67)
India: 282 for 8 wkt(s) in 47.1 overs
  • Manjrekar S.V 52 (69), Azharuddin M 108*(65), Sharma A.K 50 (36)
Somewhat similar to the previous match. New Zealand should have come closer to the 300 mark, considering the fact that India were well placed at the end so far as balls were concerned, but not in terms of wickets. Note Azharuddin's innings which has remained the fastest century by an Indian batsman for nearly 20 years.

4. ODI # 1572. India vs South Africa. Played on 9 March 2000 at Nehru Stadium, Kochi. India won by 3 wickets. South Africa: 301 for 3 wkt(s) in 50.0 overs. Unbeaten 4th wkt ptshp: 52

  • Kirsten G 115 (123), Gibbs H.H 111 (127)
India: 302 for 7 wkt(s) in 49.4 overs
  • Jadeja A 92 (109)
A peculiar match. Two good centuries from the losing team. Here the last 10 overs were the problem since South Africa were 238 for 1 in 40 and added only 63 in the last 10 overs. Kallis and Cronje just could not speed up enough. Like Sri Lanka against England, reported earlier, India had very little in the tank at the end.

5. ODI # 1824. South Africa vs Australia. Played on 6 April 2002 at St George's Park, Port Elizabeth. Australia won by 3 wickets. South Africa: 326 for 3 wkt(s) in 50.0 overs. Unbeaten 4th wkt ptshp: 132

  • Smith G.C 84 (103), Kallis J.H 80*( 59), Rhodes J.N 71*( 50)
Australia: 330 for 7 wkt(s) in 49.1 overs
  • Gilchrist A.C 52 (34), Ponting R.T 92 (107), Lehmann D.S 91 (94)
A very high score by South Africa chased with nonchalance by Australia. Difficult to blame a team which scored 326 runs and lost. The finish of the innings by Kallis and Rhodes was spectacular. This also brings us to the interesting point whether nothing more could be done beyond a certain stage. Maybe the accelarator pedal was already at the floor.

6. ODI # 301. Australia vs West Indies. Played on 10 February 1985 at Melbourne Cricket Ground. West Indies won by 4 wickets. Australia: 271 for 3 wkt(s) in 50.0 overs. Unbeaten 4th wkt ptshp: 68

  • Smith S.B 54 (90), Wood G.M 81 (119), Phillips W.B 56*(37)
West Indies: 273 for 6 wkt(s) in 49.2 overs
  • Richardson R.B 50 (90), Logie A.L 60 (56)
Smith and Wood were probably too slow at the beginning; so was Richardson for West Indies. However they were clear about their target and just reached the same.

7. ODI # 794. India vs England. Played on 18 January 1993 at Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur. England won by 4 wickets. India: 223 for 3 wkt(s) in 48.0 overs. Unbeaten 4th wkt ptshp: 164

  • Kambli V.G 100*(149), Tendulkar S.R 82*( 81)
England: 224 for 6 wkt(s) in 48.0 overs
  • Stewart A.J 91 (126)
A low scoring match lost by India. Somewhat similar to Ramiz Raja's century mentioned earlier, Kambli's was probably quite slow. That India had slipped to 59 for 3 does not absolve the Mumbai pair of the tardiness of the partnership. It must be mentioned that Azharuddin, who essayed a 65-ball 108 in 1988, played a match-losing 6 in 28 balls here.

8. ODI # 615. West Indies vs England. Played on 3 April 1990 at Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados. West Indies won by 4 wickets. England: 214 for 3 wkt(s) in 38.0 overs. Unbeaten 4th wkt ptshp: 53

  • Smith R.A 69 (84) Lamb A.J 55*(39)
West Indies: 217 for 6 wkt(s) in 37.3 overs
  • Richardson R.B 80 (84), Best C.A 51 (43)
Somewhat similar to the previous match. David Smith of England took 31 balls for his score of 5 and Wayne Larkins, 73 balls for his 34. Together they had a strike rate of 2.4 runs per over.

The matches in which the first batting team lost 4 wickets and the second batting team lost 7 wickets or more are shown in a summary form.

9.2349 2006 Aus 434/4 in 50.0 Saf 438/9 in 49.5 won by 1 wicket
10.2499 2007 Ire 284/4 in 50.0 Ken 286/9 in 49.0 won by 1 wicket
11.1035 1996 Aus 242/4 in 50.0 Slk 246/7 in 49.4 won by 3 wickets
12.0716 1992 Zim 312/4 in 50.0 Slk 313/7 in 49.2 won by 3 wickets
13.2439 2006 Win 272/4 in 50.0 Eng 276/7 in 48.3 won by 3 wickets
14.2184 2004 Zim 252/4 in 50.0 Pak 258/7 in 48.1 won by 3 wickets

The first match needs a mention. I hope a reader does not come back and blast me for implying that Australia should have scored a few more runs. It was South Africa's relentless aggression and continuous attacking play that finally won them the match. Having said this I must mention that Lee could score only a single off the last two balls bowled by Telemachus. A four or two would have helped.

In the second match, K.J.O'Brien scored 142 in 123 for Ireland. Kenya were 231 for 9 and a great Irish victory seemed certaiin. Then Odoyo, with a blistering 61 in 36 added 55 for the tenth wicket in 5 overs and won. A few more runsfor Ireland and who knows what might have happened.

No particlular team has messed up their first innings, in this regard, more often than the others, although, for the record, Australia have been the culprit three times. Sri Lanka does not appear in this list even once.

Team batting second

Now for the team batting second. Here I have ignored all matches decided through D/L or equivalent methods. The reason has already been explained. In other matches, only reasonably close matches, where the margin of loss was less than 30 runs, are considered. That leaves us with only 3 competitive matches.

1. ODI # 56. Pakistan vs India. Played on 3 November 1978 at Zafar Ali Stadium, Sahiwal. Pakistan won (conceded by India). Pakistan: 205 for 7 wkt(s) in 40.0 overs

  • Asif Iqbal 62 (76)
India: 183 for 2 wkt(s) in 37.4 overs
  • Gaekwad A.D 78*(103), Amarnath S 62 (86)
This was the match conceded by India after Sarfraz bowled a series of bouncers in the 38th over. I do not want to get into an argument with anyone. It is clear that the short pitched balls were over-used. It is also clear that the rules were very vague and Pakistan were justified in using the rules to their advantage. Mushtaq Mohammad cannot be blamed for that. If Bedi was the fielding captain, surely he would also have done the same thing, although he could not very well have asked Ghavri and Mohinder Amarnath to bowl bouncers at 120 kmph. Anyhow why should a captain concede a match when so close to the target. Bedi should take responsibility for that.

2. ODI # 160. Pakistan vs Australia. Played on 8 October 1982 at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore. Pakistan won by 28 runs. Pakistan: 234 for 3 wkt(s) in 40.0 overs

  • Zaheer Abbas 109 (117), Javed Miandad 61*(65)
Australia: 206 for 4 wkt(s) in 40.0 overs
  • Laird B.M 91*(114), Hughes K.J 64 (80)
Possibly defensive fields and defensive bowling prevented Australia from speeding towards the end. Alternately the lack of experience in handling chases could have been the reason. It must be conceded that a scoring rate of nearly 6 was quite difficult to achieve those days.

3. ODI # 333. Sri Lanka vs India. Played on 21 September 1985 at P.Saravanamuttu Stadium, Colombo. Sri Lanka won by 14 runs. Sri Lanka: 171 for 5 wkt(s) in 28.0 overs

  • Madugalle R.S 50*(39)
India: 157 for 4 wkt(s) in 28.0 overs
  • Vengsarkar D.B 50 (46)
The asking rate was quite high (6.10) and India, despite having Srikkanth and Kapil could not do much against the accurate Sri Lankan bowling, led by John.

Finally I cannot close this without referring to this particular classic (mis)match.

ODI # 19. England vs India. Played on 7 June 1975 at Lord's, London. England won by 202 runs. England: 334 for 4 wkt(s) in 60.0 overs

  • Amiss D.L 137 (147), Fletcher K.W.R 68 (107), Old C.M 51*(30)
India: 132 for 3 wkt(s) in 60.0 overs
  • Gavaskar S.M 36 (174), Viswanath G.R 37 (59)
This was the infamous Gavaskar crawl. Even though this was India's third ever ODI match, it is beyond anyone's, including his own, comprehension what Gavaskar was thinking. However, enough has been written on the subject.

At least for this post let me hope that readers do not respond with messages such as "why was abc not considered", "xyz is superior to pqr", "efg was the best" et al. Consider these as the only matches to be looked into.

Comments such as "This is a useless analysis" will not be published since there is no insight provided. On the other hand, a comment such as "The analysis is flawed since only the wickets lost are taken into account. The balls remaining should also be taken into consideration" will be published since that is a genuine comment on the article and adds value.

Anantha Narayanan has written for ESPNcricinfo and CastrolCricket and worked with a number of companies on their cricket performance ratings-related systems