ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features

India v Pakistan, World Cup 2011, semi-final, Mohali

The crucial first 15 overs, and mysterious Misbah

The margin of the result was exactly the number of more runs India scored in the first 15 overs compared to Pakistan

S Rajesh

March 30, 2011

Comments: 46 | Text size: A | A

As it turned out, almost all the experts read the wicket wrong. MS Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar admitted as much in the post-match presentation, and from the scores it's obvious that run-making was a lot more difficult on this Mohali pitch than it was expected to be. The team composition and the early overs suggested a score of around 300 would be a par total, but later events showed it was another subcontinent track on which run-scoring against the hard new ball was much easier.

In that context, the difference between the two teams was the runs they scored in the first 15 overs, when the ball was new. Pakistan's top three played useful cameos too, but none of them exploded in the manner that Virender Sehwag had. Sehwag's 25-ball 38 allowed India to rack up 99 in the first 15 overs, compared to Pakistan's 70. The difference of 29 was exactly the margin by which Pakistan lost the match, which means in the remaining 35 overs, the two teams scored exactly the same number of runs. Of course, the approaches of the two teams at the start were obviously different since Pakistan knew the target in front of them, but Pakistan struggled as much as India did in the middle overs. What made their case worse was the fact that they got no reciprocal help from the Indian fielders, or from the dew which was expected to set in later in the evening.

How the Indian and Pakistan innings shaped up
Team - overs Score Dots 1s/ 2s 4s/ 6s
India - 1 to 15 99 for 1 52 18/ 2 16/ 0
Pakistan - 1 to 15 70 for 1 57 19/ 2 11/ 0
India - 16 to 40 101 for 4 85 50/ 6 8/ 0
Pakistan - 16 to 40 107 for 5 79 53/ 12 4/ 2
India - 41 to 50 60 for 4 29 21/ 4 6/ 0
Pakistan - 41 to 50 54 for 4 33 20/ 1 5/ 1

Misbah's mystery innings
Misbah-ul-Haq's strike rate at the end of his innings was 73.68; Tendulkar's rate for his 85 was 73.91. That, perhaps, is as good an example as any to illustrate the fact that stats without context is meaningless. Misbah's inexplicable go-slow through the first half of his innings resulted in the asking rate climbing to unmanageable proportions, and it also forced the other batsmen to take risks that might otherwise have been unnecessary. He tried to make up for it later, but apart from helping him reach a personal landmark and improving his strike-rate, his late hits counted for little.

Overall, Misbah played out 42 dot balls, which was the most among Pakistan's batsmen. In his first 42 balls, he scored only 17 and played 27 dots. During this period, Pakistan's asking rate went up from 6.07 to 8.45. Younis Khan's sluggish innings didn't help either - add his 13 from 32 balls to Misbah's 17 in his first 42, and Pakistan have every reason to feel their two most experienced batsmen didn't serve them well: in those 74 balls, the two batsmen got a grand total of 30 runs, with no boundaries. Even with the power-hitters to follow, that was a bridge too far.

Misbah's mis-paced innings
  Runs Dots 1s/ 2s 4s/ 6s
First 42 balls 17 27 13/ 2 0/ 0
Last 34 balls 39 15 13/ 0 5/ 1
Full innings (76 balls) 56 42 26/ 0 5/ 1

A spell to remember
The batsmen's poor effort ensured that a wonderful bowling performance by Wahab Riaz went in vain. He became only the second bowler, after Venkatesh Prasad, to take a five-for in an India-Pakistan World Cup match. He joins eight other Pakistan bowlers to have taken a five-for in an ODI against India.

More stats

  • This is India's first World Cup semi-final win at home in three attempts. They'd lost to England in 1987, and to Sri Lanka in 1996. However, they've won both their World Cup semi-final matches away from home (in 1983 and 2003).

  • Tendulkar has won nine Man-of-the-Match awards in World Cups, which is easily the highest. Three of those have been against Pakistan: he'd also won the prize against them in 1992 and in 2003.

  • Sehwag and Dhoni joined five other Indian batsmen to score 1000 ODI runs against Pakistan. Tendulkar leads with 2474 runs at an average of 39.90.

  • It was only the second time in his ODI career that Yuvraj Singh was dismissed for a golden duck - the first instance was against Kenya nearly ten years ago.

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 46 
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Posted by Jonathan on (April 2, 2011, 17:36 GMT)

Error in the stats table: Misbah scored 2 2's in his total innings. FYI.

Posted by Dummy4 on (April 2, 2011, 4:49 GMT)


Posted by jay on (April 1, 2011, 18:01 GMT)


Posted by aaqil dilshard on (April 1, 2011, 9:03 GMT)

even after giving 4 lives to sachin, and having such new players, pakistan was able to go that far. shows how weak india is.

Posted by Nagender on (April 1, 2011, 8:19 GMT)

I don't think there is any excuse for Misbah's innings. Everyone knew that it was a pressure cooker situation, but no player of International standard would have played an innings of that sort. He should take the responsibilityfor playing such a sluggish cricket during a very important match, which in turn made a no contest at all.

Posted by vasu on (March 31, 2011, 23:48 GMT)

The middle overs were to score from. After Gambhir and Yuvraj got out in succession, India's run rate dropped badly as well. There were umpteen overs in which we scored just 2 and may 3 runs a over, and some times even just 1 per over. It was only in the last power play, that Raina accelerated. So all this focus on Misbah and Younis seems misplaced.

Also, this whole focus on power play. What difference would it have made? India took it in 45 to 49. In a couple of other games, India did not take till 46th over. In a couple of games, power play destroyed our tempo. All this focus on power play from the media honchos seems so short sighted.

Posted by cool on (March 31, 2011, 23:41 GMT)

SEHWAG PLEASE THINK THIS AS A REVENGE GAME AGAINST RANDIV(for not letting you make 100) and play for team Inidia, as you did against BANGLADESH saying at the post match that it was a REVENGE GAME AGAINST BD.If sehwag is on revenge he will play patiently to stay till the 50th over and hit 150+ score.Go Sehwag Goooo!!!!!!!!! Dilshan and his POOPS (Dil Scoops) are nothing in front of you.You have your UUPAR CUT:-) to hit compared to UPUL. MERA BHARAT MAHAN!!! GOOD LUCK TEAM INDIA THE THEN 1983 AND NOW 2011 CHAMPIONS. WORLD IS GOING TO END IN MAY 1 , 2012 , WE WONT HAVE ANOTHER WC TO PLAY SO PLEASE GET THE LAST WC BACK TO US!!!!!!!!! let it be with us forever.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 31, 2011, 20:52 GMT)

Shoaib Akhtar, what a sad retirement for Speed legend, No one has talked about it. Poor guy retired on bench very sad. If Ravi Shastri wasn't too occupied with continuously repeating India is a better team he could have mentioned him in post match ceremony.

Also Toss was Crucial in Indian victory, by batting first and putting Pakistan's batting under pressure chasing, they were able to play to their strength.

Afridi wastes his wicket by batting down the order while chasing. Its useless, he cant be trusted with scoring 30 runs if 10 overs were remaining. Instead, on a flat wicket like this he should have batted within first 15 overs. Captain suppose to lead from front, not by batting at 7 when game is practically over. And why are they scared to take the power play early? defensive cricket = defeat.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 31, 2011, 14:43 GMT)

Misbah would have been praised if Razzaq or Afridi would have clicked (Afridi almost clicked except for the edge from bajji's tricky ball), Bajji's ball to Umar Akmal was a beauty and there was no pressure of runs in that shot

so why the question of Misbah batting coming up here

Posted by Ravindiran on (March 31, 2011, 14:39 GMT)

Guys, we always got misbah & afridi(batting) and Shoib(bowling) to play in Indias hands whenever they play against INDIA.. So NO Worries... Only Check the Umar Akmal type of Players not to Clik.... As far as Pressure, we have a Cool Mind in MS.... we will win FINAL...against SL since INDIA is playing the WOrld Cup in REverse order like playing the FINAL first (AUS), Semi(PAK), now the QF(SL).... NO PROBLEMS

Posted by abdulhameed on (March 31, 2011, 10:44 GMT)

all the best to team india,

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 31, 2011, 9:17 GMT)

Dhoni should include yusuf pathan in place of virat kohli because yusuf pathan is good player of spin bowling as we seen in the past. even virat form is not that much good.think captain there is no second chance in the final. we should be strong in all prospects of the game.100 millions of fans want to hear the word that" INDIA ARE THE WORLD CHAMPIONS". Make every body Dream come true. All the very best to India.

Posted by Swaminathan on (March 31, 2011, 8:58 GMT)

Which means no place for Ashwin in the final.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 31, 2011, 6:57 GMT)

I was scared Pakistan would win. But India did! I was expecting India to win.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 31, 2011, 6:07 GMT)

Mysterious Misbah let pakistan batting down

Posted by nithin on (March 31, 2011, 5:21 GMT)

India have defeated Three World Champions West Indies (1975 & 1979) Australia (1987, 1999, 2003 & 2007) Pakistan(1992)

Hope They defeat one more world Champion Sri Lanka (1996) in Finals

Posted by sameel on (March 31, 2011, 3:33 GMT)

Pakistan can learn a lot from here and we are high on spirits. Pakistan needs to build on this side and look out forthe future. There will be a lot of cricket in the future and Pakistan can certainly do better. Umer Akmal, Asad Shafiq, & Wahab Riaz are definitely to look out for.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 31, 2011, 1:31 GMT)

Misbah what have you done..........he gave the match away to us....we were applying pressure but 260 should have never been enuff.......pakistan had every chance to end the world cup draught against india last night but they just coundt hold on!!!!

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 31, 2011, 1:10 GMT)

everyone can point fingers to why this happened and what should have done. it's over now. Just be glad it was a good game where both sides bowled well. Overall, i think the better all around team won the match

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 30, 2011, 22:34 GMT)

I think two factors were responsible for India's win:

1) India's batting in first 15 overs

2) Pakistan's batting. They didn't have batsmen today, like Imran Khan, Javed Miandad or Inzamam who could make 260 runs under pressure.

Posted by Azmain on (March 30, 2011, 22:29 GMT)

Yusuf pathan should be included in the final considering too many spinner in the srilankan side. otherwise it will be a great mistake of team india. Gautam or Kohli, specially kohli should be out of the team. Dhoni should little earlier in place of kohli.

Posted by Balaji on (March 30, 2011, 22:18 GMT)

Misbah played gem of an innings by holding up the other end, where as Razzaq or Afridi did not have that mettle cost pakistan dearly, so Misbah is not the weak link. Even If Sachin could have caught out of those chances, that will be a different story, Yuvraj or Kohli would have been very careful about weaving their innings and would have raised their game to the Occasion resulting the game would be on INDIA only.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 30, 2011, 22:10 GMT)

The Misbah "go slow" strategy was because the team management probably decided that they would get quick runs from one end while Misbah kept his wicket intact at the other end. If that is not the case, then his strategy made no sense. Still, i cannot but admire the team for making it into the semi finals and beating one of the finalists, Sri Lanka, along the way!

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 30, 2011, 22:01 GMT)

@unknownname - Misbah really did his best! The Pakistani team would do well to up their fielding a bit! Unless a miracle happens a team's not winning the matches after giving 4 reprives to a player like Sachin. But it was lucky they didn't give those chances to Sehwag. Might have ended up chasing 400 odd instead of the 260! :D

Posted by sasa on (March 30, 2011, 21:57 GMT)

the difference was more to do with the drop catches.

Posted by mahesh on (March 30, 2011, 21:49 GMT)

@Arif I dont know what you meant by India not winning it but pakistan lost it and gifted it to India, Pak was never in the winning position during their chase, so how can they gift a game which was never in their grabs?? You could say tactical erros, erratic shots cost them the game but that could be because of the disciplined bowling and fielding by the indian team. About Misbah's batting approach, i thought he was trying to save team from landslide by holding one end up, with Razzaq later Afridi on the other hand he just needed to occupy the crease. Although tight bowling and not able to steal single is one thing but his was doing forward defence to spinners with no intent whatsoever or stealing a single....

Posted by Nadeem on (March 30, 2011, 21:39 GMT)

I agree with the very mature and analytical opinion of Tashfeen Masood Qayyum.

Posted by Rimtu on (March 30, 2011, 21:35 GMT)

I think most people do not like Misbah simply because he's not a pretty boy. He's neither pretty nor a boy. He plays like a gutsy old man. I think same was the case for Jonathan Trott. Andrew Miller in his article was criticizing his 50+ innings, while rest of England couldn't hold up to win matches.

But this is natural, so not to worry. We tend to say good things about things that look good and bad things about things that don't look so good. Just our nature.

Main culprit here was fielding, and a team dropping someone like Tendulkar 4 times, cannot expect to win, no matter how hard they try later.

But we should not take anything away from Pakistan. I was pleasantly surprised as most people should be, about how far Pakistan went in this world cup.

Also, one thing I find striking is the scoring pattern for both teams. I think I've never seen such similarity in scoring patterns of two teams playing against each other.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 30, 2011, 21:34 GMT)

Wow what a game, i feel bad for Pakistan fans, but i did not want to feel bad either and India won, GO INDIA GO, we'll see you in next world cup PAK, maybe Australia will bring you better luck since that is where you won the WC, but i hope it will not happen as an indian supporter

Posted by Nadeem on (March 30, 2011, 21:32 GMT)

Dear "unknownnane": You conveniently opt to forget that Younus & Misbah are the very two players you have to thank for bringing you into the knock-out stage. What a short memory you've put on display! Dear "TestIP": Look at where the other "selfless" players got you! At least Mishbah tried till the very end!I think his was a courageous knock. As a former English batsman used to say, "One can't sit in the pavilion and score runs." One has to guard one's wicket too. It's not backyard cricket where you can just tell your younger brother to keep bowling regardless of how many times he gets you out.

To me, the difference was the missed catches.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 30, 2011, 21:30 GMT)

My comment is not on the following debate. But it is on the fact that how clean are the posts. No abusives, no foul languages. Just go and see Youtube videos' comments. They are just piece of shit. But here, people are talking so sensibly. This is the difference between well-educated people and anyone else who just thinks the internet to be a place to vomit out their ill thoughts.

This is a place for respectable, well-educated people. I salute to espncricinfo to keep their pages clean

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 30, 2011, 21:24 GMT)

Haar ke jeetne wale ko baazigar kehte hain.... aur One day mein test khelne wale ko Misbah....!!! :-P

Misbah you're a jinx!!! you never win us matches! you destroy the match! you make it again and then again ruin it!!! loser!!!

Posted by Nadeem on (March 30, 2011, 21:23 GMT)

With respect Sir, I beg to disagree on the Misbah thing. Wickets were falling more rapidly around him & he didn't have the luxury of the start India had. Anyone who's played cricket in those conditions woul know it's not as easy as it seems to someone on a rocking chair outside the boundary line.

Posted by srikanth on (March 30, 2011, 21:11 GMT)

hi Rajesh,

i guess pakistan made 2 blunders while chasing. instead of misbah it should have been afridi as the spinners were taking control. This would have improved the acceleration. the second is, pakistan should have taken powerplay when umar akmal was batting around 31 - 36.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 30, 2011, 21:05 GMT)

I do not agree about the comments about Misbah. It has become a habit of all and sundry to criticise him for no reason. One end had to be held up, which he did perfectly, we had lost 4 wickets when he came in, if he went the Afridi way then still people would have criticised him for not playing with responsibility. The main culprits are the runs given away by Umar Gul and the 5 missed chances, 4 of Sachin and 1 of Dhoni. These factors are being ignored totally. India would not have crossed 150 if Sachin was taken earlier on. Misbah had to consolidate but no one stayed at the other end.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 30, 2011, 20:59 GMT)

@ashok16: Mysterious - Adjective - Difficult or impossible to understand, explain, or identify. Rajesh was not speculating. Speculation is surely outside the realm of statisticians. He was just saying that he could not explain Misbah's strike rate based purely on statistics. And that is an accurate statement. All of his statements are factual. None of them are speculative OR subjective. If the reader is reading between the lines, then that's beyond the control of the writer.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 30, 2011, 20:58 GMT)


I totally agree with u

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 30, 2011, 20:49 GMT)

I'm not sure Pakistan will get an other chance to beat this stronge Indian team soon again, here was the chance of the century, the stage was set for a historic win even after spoiling some easy chances in the field they managed to ristrict Indians to 260! They had a really good start and Hafeeez threw it as always... then Shafiq played a poor shot, I think younus and Misbah didn't want to risk an other wicket and that's why they went into a shell... Really was a poor batting and fielding display and at the end they didn't deserve to win :( with all due respect, I juwt want to say that India didn't win this game but Pakistan lost it! they gifted the final spot to the indian team may be it's the cricket diplomacy :)))

Posted by Varnendra on (March 30, 2011, 20:45 GMT)

Inshah Misbah India Won In the Finals Insha Dilshan India Win

Posted by Aswinikumar on (March 30, 2011, 20:39 GMT)

I personally feel, misbah could have rotated the strike much quicker and ensured the score board keeps moving ahead. This would have made a lot of positive impact is lessening the score consistently and thus can be psychologically helpful to finish off the innings with ease. Though 261 was not that difficult a task for Pakistan, i am sure taking in the power play much earlier and ratting the strike much faster could have made all the difference for them to win the Semi Final. Eitherways, good show by both the teams and i wish this Pakistan team a great time ahead. Its time to now focus upon India and the Sri Lankan's. Wishing them all the very best and expect nothing less than a firefighting game.

Posted by Pappu on (March 30, 2011, 20:27 GMT)

Its a case of Misbah running out of capable partners. If Afridi had not panicked and tried to go boom-boom, with power-play option pending 8-9 per over was easily achievable. Glad that India won though ... For a moment it almost felt like T20 finals where Misbah almost won it for them!

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 30, 2011, 20:27 GMT)

It is an interesting over-by over comparison. If you observe closely, the difference of runs between IND and PAK in the 1st 15 overs is 29. That is the exact number of run IND have won with. Thats shows you how crucial that start of Sachin and Shewag was. It is the only time that separates the teams apart.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 30, 2011, 20:26 GMT)

I actually agree with ashok16. I don't know what's the point of this comparison or analysis.

Posted by Mohammed on (March 30, 2011, 20:18 GMT)

That was an absolutely poor innings from Misbah and Younus. If Misbah had scored 25 runs in his first 30 balls, Pakistan would have won this game. Same with Younus. So disappointed, 2 men let the whole nation down.

Posted by Fawad on (March 30, 2011, 20:13 GMT)

I think Misbah was playing selfish cricket that caused pakistan the game. He was applying alot of pressure on all the batsmen that batted with him by playing test cricket and failing to rotate the strike. He make Umar fired at everything because the asking rate was increasing....this is what caused them the game. Looks like he was playing to make a par score to save his spot rather than winning the match.

Posted by Ashok on (March 30, 2011, 20:11 GMT)

Rajesh, it is not in the realm of statisticians to make subjective comments. To highlight Misbah's incapability to score quickly is one thing, but it is another to call it mysterious.The reasons could be many: he didnt have the ability today, he thought others would score around & some might assume from reading between your lines: there was some skulduggery going on. The true reason we will never know but that should be that and trying to read Misbah's mind is best left in the kingdom of facebook and twitter posts.

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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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