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MS Dhoni's average in 96 innings in ODIs that India have won - the highest average by anyone who has batted more than 10 times in victorious ODI matches. In ODIs India has lost, the Ranchi Rampager averages just 28.4 (the 80th highest average by anyone who has batted more than 10 times in losing ODIs), giving him one of the highest runs-per-dismissal-difference-between-victories-and-defeats of any player in the history of the limited-over universe.
(By way of comparisons: since Dhoni's December 2004 debut, all ODI top-seven batsmen combined have averaged 42.5 in victories and 23.8 in defeats; Michael Bevan, who fulfilled a similar middle-order-finisher role for Australia, averaged 65 in wins and 40 in losses; and current South Africans Hashim Amla and JP Duminy heroically smash 70 and 64 respectively on the train to Triumphtown, but miserably plink just 26 and 17 when on the long road to Losersville.) In the mercifully-now-consigned-to-history ODI series against an alleged England side, Dhoni again proved himself one of ODI cricket's greatest finishers, an ice-veined abacus with forearms stronger than an elephant's hammock, a man who knows (a) where his accelerator pedal is, (b) when to press it, and (c) that his opponents know that he knows when to press it, and how hard he will press it when he chooses to do so. Dhoni has now batted in 47 successful chases, averaging 108 with a strike rate of 90, and he has been not out on 29 of those occasions, closing in on Jonty Rhodes' record of 33 opportunities to be the first batsman to pull a commemorative stump out of the ground at the end of a successful one-day pursuit. The Indian skipper has batted 36 times in unsuccessful chases, hitting five half-centuries, averaging 23, with a strike rate of 71. The massive divergence between his winning and losing averages suggests that Dhoni's wicket is almost as important to a bowling team in an ODI as lungs are to a racehorse. These averages need to be taken with a pinch of salt ‒ he bats lower down the order than most top batsmen, so his high average in successes is boosted by not-outs, and his low average in defeats is diminished because he often comes in having to take risks early in his innings. But that pinch of salt should merely enhance the flavour of the stat, rather than render it inedibly briny. Mmmm. Yum.
Also: The percentage of air made up of nitrogen. Dazzling England gloveman Jack Russell reportedly used to take his own supply of nitrogen on tour with him, in case the local nitrogen disagreed with him.
Also: The percentage of bananas rejected by England's Bodyline skipper Douglas Jardine for being "insufficiently banana-shaped". Jardine was convinced throughout his adult life that only 21.9% of bananas were up to scratch. He preferred bananas to Australians.
Andy Zaltzman is a stand-up comedian, a regular on the BBC Radio 4, and a writerFeeds: Andy Zaltzman
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Andy Zaltzman was born in obscurity in 1974. He has been a sporadically-acclaimed stand-up comedian since 1999, and has appeared regularly on BBC Radio 4. He is currently one half of TimesOnline's hit satirical podcast The Bugle, alongside John Oliver. Zaltzman's love of cricket outshone his aptitude for the game by a humiliating margin. He once scored 6 in 75 minutes in an Under-15 match, and failed to hit a six between the ages of 9 and 23. He would have been ideally suited to Tests, had not a congenital defect left him unable to play the game to anything above genuine village standard. He writes the Confectionery Stall blog on Cricinfo.