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New Zealand v Pakistan, Group A, World Cup 2011, Pallekele

How Taylor destroyed Pakistan

S Rajesh

March 8, 2011

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Manhattan for New Zealand's innings of 302, New Zealand v Pakistan, Pallikele, March 8, 2011
Manhattan for New Zealand's innings: their last six overs fetched 114 © ESPNcricinfo Ltd
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With his unbeaten 131, Ross Taylor became only the fourth batsman to score a century on his birthday, and his innings was second only to Sachin Tendulkar's 134 among those four hundreds. That, though, is unlikely to be the stat that would have most pleased him and New Zealand's think-tank. Far more important was the manner in which Taylor finally shrugged off a poor run and played the sort of innings which will, hopefully, inspire New Zealand onto greater things through the rest of the tournament.

In the two-year period beginning March 2009, Taylor had averaged 28.86 before his innings today. His highest in 39 innings had been 95, and his last ODI century had come 48 innings ago.

That lack of form was evident in the way Taylor started his innings - that he went beyond seven deliveries was only because of the extreme generosity (incompetence?) from Kamran Akmal. Even after that, Taylor continued to struggle, scoring only 27 off his first 50 deliveries. Off his next 58, his strike rate improved, but he still managed only one four, which meant after 108 balls, Taylor was on 69. In his last 16 deliveries, though, Taylor was completely unrecognisable from the batsman who had struggled so much early in innings. In those 16 balls, he struck seven sixes and four fours, as New Zealand scored an astonishing 114 runs in their last six overs.

How Taylor paced his innings
  Runs Strike rate 4s/ 6s Dot balls
First 50 balls 27 54.00 3/ 0 33
Next 58 balls 42 72.41 1/ 0 23
Last 16 balls 62 387.50 4/ 7 2
The entire innings 131 105.65 8/ 7 58

Over the course of his frenetic innings, Taylor and New Zealand knocked up several records. Here are some of the key ones:

  • Taylor's unbeaten 131 is the highest by a New Zealand batsman in an ODI against Pakistan. It equals Brendon McCullum's effort in Abu Dhabi in 2009.

  • Taylor struck seven sixes in his innings, which is the joint third-highest in ODIs for New Zealand, and their best in World Cups. His blitz, and Jacob Oram's late contribution, meant New Zealand's innings had 13 sixes, which is their best in a World Cup game.

  • Taylor's 85-run partnership with Oram consumed all of 22 deliveries, which makes it the fastest 50-plus partnership in ODIs since 1998. It betters an effort by one of their own: against the USA in 2004, Nathan Astle and Craig McMillan put together 136 in 7.4 overs, a run rate of 17.73 runs per over, which pales when compared with today's effort of 23.18 runs per over.

  • During the course of that stunning assault, two overs were particularly brutal: in the 49th, Abdul Razzaq deluged 30, including three sixes, two fours, and a couple of wides; a couple of overs earlier, Taylor had taken 28 off Shoaib Akhtar. Those two overs have become the most expensive of this World Cup, going past the earlier record of 25, by Bernard Loots against South Africa, and Sreesanth's 24 in th tournament opener against Bangladesh.

  • The 114 runs added in the last six overs is the second-highest in ODIs since 2000, but the best against a top side. New Zealand had scored 122 against USA in the match mentioned above.

The break-up of his runs against each bowler also shows how uneven his innings was. Against the magnificent Umar Gul, Taylor did little damage, while Mohammad Hafeez kept his quiet too. Razzaq and Shoaib, though, went at more than two runs per ball.

Taylor against each bowler
Bowler Runs Balls Strike rate 4s/ 6s
Umar Gul 9 26 34.61 0/ 0
Mohammad Hafeez 12 23 52.17 0/ 0
Abdur Rehman 8 12 66.67 0/ 0
Shahid Afridi 30 32 93.75 1/ 1
Shoaib Akhtar 36 16 225.00 4/ 3
Abdul Razzaq 36 15 240.00 3/ 3

The result also means New Zealand have at last ended their losing streak in World Cup games against Pakistan - they'd lost six in a row before today's game. The margin of defeat is Pakistan's second-worst in a World Cup game, and it was only the late resistance by Razzaq that prevented this from becoming their worst loss.

The four teams that will progress from group A are pretty much decided, but with this result the battle for top spot in the group suddenly becomes much more interesting.

Innings Dot balls 4s 6s PP1 PP2 PP3 Last 10 overs NB/Wides
New Zealand 160 19 13 45/1 24/1(12-16) 37/2(42-46) 139/2 3/11
Pakistan 149 20 2 30/4 16/1(11-15) 48/0(34-38) 7/2(41.4) 0/4

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo

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S Rajesh Stats editor Every week the Numbers Game takes a look at the story behind the stats, with an original slant on facts and figures. The column is edited by S Rajesh, ESPNcricinfo's stats editor in Bangalore. He did an MBA in marketing, and then worked for a year in advertising, before deciding to chuck it in favour of a job which would combine the pleasures of watching cricket and writing about it. The intense office cricket matches were an added bonus.
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