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April 28, 2009

ODIs

From dire collapses to respectability

Anantha Narayanan

Recently a tri-nation ODI tournament was held in Bangladesh. The teams were Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. The normal script for such tournaments runs like this. Sri Lanka blasts away the other two teams. These two teams trade blows and one of them emerges winner on points. Then the final is played. Sri Lanka wins by over 100 runs or by quite a few wickets with overs to spare.

The script was thrown out right at the beginning. Bangladesh lost to Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe lost to Sri Lanka and, with their backs to the wall, Bangladesh defeated Sri Lanka and the two teams qualified for the final.

In the final, Sri Lanka dismissed Bangladesh for 152 and everyone must have thought, "Ok, we are back to norrmalcy". Sri Lanka would win comfortably with many overs to spare. But, 30 minutes later, the score was 6 for 5 (or the Australians would have called 5 for 6). Jayasuriya went first ball, then Tharanga, Jayawardene, Kapugedara and Thushara were dismissed by the 8th over for 6 runs. Were we going to see Sri Lanka dismissed for the lowest total ever or Bangladesh win by over 100 runs. Slowly but surely Sri Lanka stabilised, still slumped to 114 for 8 but won through Muralitharan's heroics by two wickets.

My mind went back 26 years, to Tunbridge Wells. Almost a similar situation but a match of far greater significance.

I thought it would be a nice idea to look at such ODI recoveries over the years. There is something romantic about such recoveries from totally disastrous situations since invariably the late order batsmen come into play. There is also a wonderful innings played in most of these recoveries.

Let us first look at the criteria for selection of matches. The fun in this exercise is in setting up of the criteria for selection, which is very different to what I normally do. I have worked on the following criteria. The criteria has been decided after a few trial-and-error steps. At this stage the result is immaterial and is not one of the selection criteria.

1. From <20 for 4 to 200+ or
2. From <25 for 5 to 200+ or
3. From <30 for 6 to 150+ or
4. From <50 for 7 to 150+ or
5. From <50 for 8 to 150+ or
The results are tabulated below. Quite an interesting collection of matches. There are overlapping situations in couple of matches which have been marked.
2005 2273 Ind 44 for 8 to 164 all out ( 4.21) vs Nzl Lost

2000 1612 Pak 49 for 7 to 153 all out ( 3.12) vs Saf Lost (Earlier 19 for 6, 18 for 5 and 13 for 4)

2009 2794 Slk 6 for 5 to 153 for 8 (25.50) vs Bng Won

1983 0216 Ind 17 for 5 to 266 for 8 (15.65) vs Zim Won (Earlier 9 for 4)

1997 1248 Pak 9 for 4 to 262 for 9 (29.11) vs Saf Lost 2002 1906 Zim 13 for 4 to 210 all out (16.15) vs Pak Lost 2006 2335 Nzl 13 for 4 to 204 for 7 (15.69) vs Win Won 1996 1082 Aus 15 for 4 to 207 for 8 (13.80) vs Win Won 1988 0487 Ind 15 for 4 to 205 all out (13.67) vs Win Lost 2008 2702 Bng 16 for 4 to 210 all out (13.12) vs Pak Lost 1999 1473 Ind 17 for 4 to 205 all out (12.06) vs Aus Lost 2000 1622 Saf 19 for 4 to 206 for 7 (10.84) vs Aus Won

In the first match, India were reeling at 44 for 8 while chasing a meagre total of 215 in Bulawayo. Then the unlikely pair of JP Yadav and Irfan Pathan stepped in and took the total to 162, raising visions of an impossible win. Then Bond came back and dismissed Pathan and India lost by 51 runs. Bond's opening spell was one of the greatest ever. He finished with 6 for 19.

In the second match, Pakistan slumped to 18 for 5, 19 for 6, 49 for 7 (and 98 for 9), Terbrugge doing most of the damage. Azhar amd Mushtaq took the total to 153. This total was overhauled comfortably by South Africa.

We have talked enough earlier about the third match. This and the following match should rank among the greatest of recoveries especially as the teams won.

Now we come to the match, which, if it had been scripted by a writer, would have been labelled impossible. India were reeling at 9 for 4 and then 17 for 5 against Zimbabwe at Tunbridge Wells. Then Kapil Dev played one of the greatest ODI innings ever of 175 not out and took India to 266 for 8. The rest was history. India defeated Zimbabwe and went on to win the World Cup, the greatest of India's cricket achievements. The importance of this recovery cannot be over-emphasised since a loss would have meant a possible exit from the World Cup.

Then come a host of recoveries from nothing-for-4 situations. The most important among these matches is match # 1082, which was the World Cup 1996 Semi Final. Australia were facing a still strong West Indies. Ambrose and Bishop reduced them to 15 for 4. Then Stuart Law, Bevan and Healy took them to a modest total of 207. West Indies, after being 165 for 2, were well and truly Warne'd, as he captured 4 for 36, and fell an agonizing 5 runs short. Australia reached the final, surprisingly lost but went on to win the next three World Cups and launch years of Australian domination.

My next article will be a long-awaited one, on Test batsmen across the ages.

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

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Posted by Michael Perera on (April 30, 2009, 20:40 GMT)

I recall a CB series final between Sri Lanka and Australia early in this decade, when Australia, batting first, were reduced to 10 for 3. They recovered to post 368 for 5, Ricky Ponting and Andrew Symonds both socring centuries. Worth a mention.

Posted by Anand on (April 30, 2009, 16:01 GMT)

Hi Ananth: An interesting article once again. Since you are disussing ODI's here, I had a thought. How about an article where teams "recovered" by scoring the maximum off the last 10 overs. I remember India vs NZ in Christchurch in 1999 when NZ was 179-5 in 40 overs and everyone was projecting something around 250-260 which people thought India will over haul. BUt Chris Cairns wielded a magic wand and took NZ t0 301 (122 runs off the last 10 which was not so common in 1999) and NZ went on to win and square the series. Other instances that come to my mind are the Asia cup final in 2000 when Moin Khan blasted the Srilankans out of the match by his improvisation and when Basit Ali almost pulled one over the west indies in 1993. May be you could look at percentage of runs scored in the last 10 (of course with some cutoff on the minimum number) and have a weighting factor depending on the number of wickets. U probably know better criteria too. Just a thought; Would be great to c that list [[ Anand, I do not have the score-by-over in my database but can always extract the same if it is available in the basic scorecard. However my feeling is that this sort of complete information is available only for the past 15 years or so. Anyhow let me look at it. Ananth: ]]

Posted by lakshmikumar on (April 30, 2009, 7:27 GMT)

The critical question is the one that appears as almiost an after thought in the email by Alex. It is most important to weed out the "prolonging the inevitable" Then one has even smaller numbers. This is essentailly the problem with limited overs cricket as compared with test cricket. There is very low chance of recovery. I wonder how many examples of the other type we ahve where a team collapsed towards the end as for example 1082. I personally would include the famous win by India at Lords with Ganguly shirrt show. (ignoring numbers)

Perhaps a qualittative description by human had would be better [[ LK, I have deliberately taken the result out of the equation basically emphasizing the effort made in recovering from a disaster. Maybe I will do a later one incorporating a more complex algorithm, as suggested by Alex and my own preliminary work, this time incorporating a win as a criteria. Ananth: ]]

Posted by Mohamed Z. Rahaman (Breado) on (April 29, 2009, 17:25 GMT)

What's this - a Maths convention? [[ NO. Ananth: ]]

Posted by AlexM on (April 29, 2009, 7:11 GMT)

Very nice article.

But I don't like the parameters. Many interesting recoveries, besides those mentioned, could be missed. Imagine a team recovers from 4-21 and scores 275. Or take the SL-Bng. What if Bangladesh scored only 148 instead of 152? In that case SL's chase may've ended at 149, just short of your cutoff.

I suggest following alternative: Lets say FS = final score, f9 = score at fall of wicket #9, f8 = score at fall of wicket #8, etc.

Consider every ODI. Calculate the ratios:

rec9 = FS / f9 rec8 = FS / f8, etc

Or percentages of the total scored after the fall of a given wicket:

Pfs8 = (FS-f8) / FS Pfs7 = (FS-f7) / FS, etc

and compile the best ratios or percentages.

(You could make up to 9 such lists. And there would likely be many overlaps across these lists.)

There's still a separate question of whether a recovery led to a win (SL, ODI 2794), a near-win (PAK, ODI 1248), or just prolonged the inevitable (IND, ODI 2273) [[ Alex, Thanks. You have given a solution as well as the problem associated with that solution. Initially I worked on a method similar to what you have mentioned. I determined ratios at various wicket fall points and tried to select matches where the runs/wkt value had undergone a very drastic change. (e-g), in the India-Zimbabwe match from 3.4 (17 for 5) to 29.55(266 for 9). Unfortunately the selection did not work out. Finally after a few trial and errors, I settled on this. Maybe in future I will use the readers' comments and work out a better algorithm. Let me say. this is one of the algorithms possible. Ananth: ]]

Posted by MrKricket on (April 29, 2009, 1:44 GMT)

Ah yes this is the game: http://content.cricinfo.com/statsguru/engine/match/65531.html match no 1028 where Australia were chasing only 173 (43 overs max) vs the Windies and but collapsed to 6-38 and 7-74 when Bevan took over and got them home by 1 wicket scoring a four off the last ball of the innings. Now that's what cricket is all about! [[ Incidentally I watched every ball of this wonderful match. You are correct in suggesting that this and the other Bevan game be included. However the parameters I had set myself, the team had to be <20 for 5 et al, were so strict that the games did not get selected. Since I use computer programs to select these matches, it is not possible for me to do any manual inclusions. Your comments are still very valid and the readers can peruse the matches using the links provided.

Ananth: ]]

Posted by MrKricket on (April 29, 2009, 1:38 GMT)

I would have included this game:http://content.cricinfo.com/statsguru/engine/match/65624.html where Australia were 5-65, 6-82 and 7-143 but Michael Bevan stayed there and got Australia to 248. A great recoivery which Bevan was famous for. I think there are more like this from Bevan too. Famously Bevan made a huge score in a World XI vs Asia XI game recovering from a very poor start. Will look for the scorecard. [[ You are correct in suggesting that this and the other Bevan game be included. However the parameters I had set myself, the team had to be <20 for 5 et al, were so strict that the games did not get selected. Since I use computer programs to select these matches, it is not possible for me to do any manual inclusions. Your comments are still very valid and the readers can peruse the matches using the links provided. Ananth: ]]

Posted by Gizza on (April 28, 2009, 12:49 GMT)

This is a minor and not directly related point and follows from Tifosi Guy's comment earlier about the typo on Australia winning the 1996 World Cup. I wouldn't say it was "suprising" that Australia lost the final. Sri Lanka were initially underdogs in the tournament but had trounced everyone that had come before them until the final.

Nice article btw. It would have been better if you mentioned in the table which recoveries came in the first or second innings of an ODI. [[ You are correct, although I must mention that even on the morning of 17 March 1996, Australia were the favourites and when Slk lost the openers for 23, the win seemed far away. But hats off to the incomparable Aravinda. I thought of showing the innings but once I got confirmation from Rajesh that the scorecards could be linked I decided that it was not necessary. Could have been done, though. Ananth: ]]

Posted by michael on (April 28, 2009, 9:48 GMT)

For ur kind information 1996 world cup was won by srilanka & not the aussies,moreover the semifinal match which you have mentioned could have easily gone to westindies if the legumpire had not blocked a boundary ball from then captain richie richards

Posted by Tifosi Guy on (April 28, 2009, 9:14 GMT)

Neat work but one major blooper ! SL won the WC in 1996 and not Australia. This is what you wrote ' The then underdogs Australia went on to win the World Cup and years of Australian domination was launched' - NO , Aus won the next three WC - 1999/2003/2007 [[ Thanks for the eagle eye. The article has since been corrected. Ananth: ]]

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anantha Narayanan
Anantha spent the first half of his four-decade working career with corporates like IBM, Shaw Wallace, NCR, Sime Darby and the Spinneys group in IT-related positions. In the second half, he has worked on cricket simulation, ratings, data mining, analysis and writing, amongst other things. He was the creator of the Wisden 100 lists, released in 2001. He has written for ESPNcricinfo and CastrolCricket, and worked extensively with Maruti Motors, Idea Cellular and Castrol on their performance ratings-related systems. He is an armchair connoisseur of most sports. His other passion is tennis, and he thinks Roger Federer is the greatest sportsman to have walked on earth.

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