April 5, 2011

Mahela's miss, and a spooky stat

Also: stranded on 99, the most hundreds in a World Cup, the most Man-of-the-Match awards, and more

Is Mahela Jayawardene the first player to finish on the losing side after scoring a hundred in a World Cup final? asked Cherise Asha Clarke from Trinidad and Tobago
He is indeed, not that it will be much consolation: Mahela Jayawardene was the sixth player to score a century in a World Cup final - after Clive Lloyd (1975), Viv Richards (1979), Aravinda de Silva (1995-96), Ricky Ponting (2002-03) and Adam Gilchrist (2006-07) - but the first to end up with a runners-up medal. The previous-highest score for the losing side in a World Cup final was Virender Sehwag's 82 against Australia in Johannesburg in 2002-03. Gautam Gambhir and MS Dhoni became the first players to reach 90 in a World Cup final but not go on to reach three figures.

There were 24 individual hundreds scored during this World Cup. Is this a record for a single tournament? asked Seena John from South Africa
Yes, the 24 individual centuries in the 2010-11 World Cup is a new record for a single tournament, beating 21 in 2002-03 and 20 in 2006-07. One rather spooky stat is that exactly the same number of runs - 21,333 - were scored in this World Cup as the last one in the West Indies.

Who were the leading run-scorer and wicket-taker at the World Cup, and who had the best strike rates? asked James McLaren via Facebook
The leading run-scorer in the tournament was Tillakaratne Dilshan of Sri Lanka, with 500, just ahead of Sachin Tendulkar (482) and Kumar Sangakkara (465). Jonathan Trott (422) was the only other man to score more than 400 runs. The best strike rate (for someone scoring more than 100 runs) was 150 by Kieron Pollard, who made 180 runs from 120 balls. Next came Ireland's Kevin O'Brien, with 198 runs from 158 balls (a strike rate of 125.31), just ahead of his team-mate Paul Stirling (122.65) and Virender Sehwag (122.58). The joint leading wicket-takers, with 21, were Shahid Afridi and Zaheer Khan. The best strike rate (minimum 10 wickets) was 16.9 balls per wicket, by Imran Tahir of South Africa, with Kemar Roach and Afridi (both 21.2) next. The most economical bowler (minimum 40 overs bowled) was Ajantha Mendis, at 3.14 runs per over, but he took only seven wickets: of the bowlers who took more than 10, Afridi led the way with an economy rate of 3.62.

Yuvraj Singh won four Man of the Match awards during this World Cup. Is this the most for any tournament, and who has the most awards in the World Cup overall? asked M Ramesh from Chennai
Yuvraj Singh's achievement matched that of Aravinda de Silva for Sri Lanka in 1995-96 and South Africa's Lance Klusener in 1999: they both won four Man-of-the-Match awards in the same World Cup as well. Only six players have won more than four match awards in their World Cup careers, one of them being Klusener, who also collected one in 2002-03. He, Graham Gooch, Sanath Jayasuriya and Viv Richards all won five, and Glenn McGrath six - but the clear leader on this list is Sachin Tendulkar, who has nine World Cup Man-of-the-Match awards in his bulging collection.

During the World Cup, Misbah-ul-Haq reached 2000 runs in one-day internationals without ever having scored a century. Who has scored the most ODI runs without a hundred? asked Sameer Santhanakrishnan from the United States
Misbah-ul-Haq is currently 15th on the list of the leading scorers in one-day internationals without a century. Leading the way is another Pakistani, Wasim Akram, who made 3717 runs in 356 matches, with a highest score of 86. His former team-mate Moin Khan (3266) is the only other man to have made more than 3000 one-day runs without the aid of a century, although Zimbabwe's Heath Streak (2943) fell just short.

Has anyone ever been out for 99 in a one-day international and never made a century? asked Mike Bailey from Cambridge
There have now been 32 scores of 99 or 99 not out in one-day internationals - three of them by Sachin Tendulkar in 2007 - and I am rather relieved to say that all the players who were stranded on this agonising score went on to make a one-day century at some other time. For a full list of the players concerned, click here. It's a different story in Test cricket, though, where there are currently 10 unlucky souls whose highest score is 99 (one of them, Angelo Mathews, will probably put that right before too long). The others are Martyn Moxon, Alex Tudor and Norman Yardley of England (Moxon leg-glanced a four during his innings, but it was given as leg-byes; Tudor was stranded on 99 not out when England beat New Zealand at Edgbaston in 1999); Shane Warne of Australia; the New Zealanders John Beck and Dipak Patel (both of whom were run out); Rusi Surti of India; and the Pakistanis Maqsood Ahmed and Asim Kamal.

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket. If you want to ask Steven a question, use our feedback form. The most interesting questions will be answered here each week. Ask Steven is also now on Facebook