The flattest ODI pitch in the world
One-day cricket isn't much fun for bowlers at the best of times, but in the Asia Cup theirs has been an especially unenviable job: the heat, flat-as-pancake pitches, fast outfields and excellent batting line-ups have put them under severe examination match after match. In ten games so far (till the India-Pakistan game on Wednesday), teams scored 300 or more eight times, two of which were in successful run-chases. The pitches at most venues are loaded in favour of batsmen for ODIs, but this is even more so in Pakistan, where the tracks are so bare they offer nothing to the fast bowlers, but also firm enough to ensure spinners struggle as well.
Over the last four-and-a-half years, Pakistan has been the most batsman-friendly country, with teams scoring at an average of 5.35 runs per over, and more than 34 runs per wicket; both figures are the highest in the world. In 50 games in this country, teams have scored 300 or more 20 times. India has produced 22 such totals, but they've also hosted 18 more games than Pakistan during this period.
If two subcontinent teams head the table, then two others bring up the rear: in Bangladesh the average runs per over is only 4.60, thanks in part to the home team's dismal batting record. It's even worse in Sri Lanka, though: in 45 matches since January 2004, only three times have teams managed 300 or more, one of which came against Hong Kong.
|Country||ODIs||Runs per wkt||Runs per over||No. of 300+ scores|
Most venues in Pakistan have little for the bowlers, but Karachi is the worst of the lot. In 14 games here since 2004, teams have scored at 5.75 per over, at an average of 41.35, both of which are the highest among all Pakistan venues. In Faisalabad, on the other hand, teams only average 4.33 per over and 28.17 per wicket.
In fact, Karachi's affinity for producing batting surfaces goes back even longer. In this decade, the National Stadium has yielded the highest run-rate and average in ODIs (among venues that have hosted at least eight games). In just 18 matches it has produced 14 scores of 300 or more, with half those totals exceeding 325. The Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, on the other hand, has only produced five such totals in 24 games.
|Venue||ODIs||Runs per wkt||Runs per over||No. of 300+ scores|
Pakistan have traditionally boasted a strong fast-bowling attack, but the pitches in the country have hardly favoured pace. Over the last four-and-a-half years, fast bowlers have leaked runs at the highest rate here. Despite the slow pitches of Sri Lanka, pace bowlers have done well there, conceding only 4.34 runs per over.
|Country||Wickets||Average||Econ rate||Strike rate|
The Asia Cup has also been marked by lack of swing for the new-ball bowlers. Add that to the field restrictions during the Powerplays and the early overs have been a nightmare for the bowlers. It isn't a recent phenomenon in Karachi either - over the last six-and-a-half years, only one ground has yielded more runs in the first 15 overs of ODIs.
|Venue||Runs||Wickets||Runs per over||Runs per wkt|
In seven ODIs in Karachi during the Asia Cup, ten centuries have already been scored, which is further indication of just how easy the track here is for batting. In terms of centuries per ODI, Karachi is well clear of all other venues: in 18 games here since 2000, the National Stadium averages one hundred per match, which is well clear of second-placed Napier. Only Sharjah and Harare have seen more hundreds during this period than Karachi, but both have hosted many more games: 20 centuries have been scored in Sharjah from 45 games, while 54 matches in Harare have yielded 19 hundreds. (Click here for the full list, and here for the list of most successful batsmen in Karachi since 2000.)
|Venue||ODIs||100s||100s per ODI|
All stats updated till the Pakistan-India match on July 2.
S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo