Australia v India, Super Eights, World Twenty20, Barbados

Australia's short-pitched strategy

Australia have played each of their three games so far against teams from the subcontinent, and the short ball has served them well against batsmen who don't particularly like these deliveries

S Rajesh

May 7, 2010

Comments: 8 | Text size: A | A

Australia have played each of their three games so far against teams from the subcontinent, and the short ball has served them well against batsmen who don't particularly like deliveries which are aimed at their chests. The match against Pakistan was at the relatively slow St Lucia pitch, but even there Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson got a wicket each with the short-pitched ball. Bangladesh were completely clueless as well on the bouncy track in Barbados, while India's numbers look slightly better only because of Rohit Sharma's late charge. From the 14 short balls that were bowled to him by Australia's fast bowlers, Rohit scored 21 runs, including two fours and a six. Exclude his numbers, and India's stats tell a rather sorry tale. His knock still couldn't prevent India from suffering their worst defeat, in terms of runs, in a Twenty20 international.

Australia, meanwhile, have matches against Sri Lanka and West Indies to follow, and with the Sri Lanka game to be played in Barbados, it's likely there'll be another show of short-pitched stuff in that game.

Short ball against the subcontinent teams
Bowling team Batting team Short balls Runs Dismissals Average Run rate
Australia Pakistan 14 12 2 6.00 5.14
Australia Bangladesh 33 29 3 9.67 5.27
Australia India 33 48 3 16.00 8.72

Rohit's unbeaten 79 boosts his average in World Twenty20s to 74.50 - in nine innings he has three half-centuries and a strike rate of 139.25. Among those with 250 runs or more in these matches, only Matthew Hayden has a better average. Rohit's 79 made up 58.52% of India's total, which is the fifth-highest contribution by a batsman to a team's score.

Most of the records from this game, though, went Australia's way: their 16 sixes is the second-best in a Twenty20 innings, next only to the 17 that South Africa managed against England in Centurion last year. Dirk Nannes' three wickets, meanwhile, took his overall wickets tally in all Twenty20 cricket to 94, making him the highest wicket-taker in this format; Albie Morkel has 93.

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo

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Posted by sixthwhy on (May 8, 2010, 13:37 GMT)

Good numbers Rajesh! - you have a very keen sense of them. I think, these numbers suggest that India scored at 8.72 runs per over and that is not bad at all. 3 wickets per 33 balls suggest that they may fall short of batting 20 overs. if the rate of short pitching is increased , that is is less likely to be be more effective anyways. So, is short pitching really bothering India?

Posted by itisme on (May 8, 2010, 13:25 GMT)

indian administrators donot learn lessons from past debacles. prepare flat tracks at home, beat them to pulp and claim no 1 position. go abroad and when the ball is chest high, our batsmen donot know how to take cover. how can you become a batsman at the international level if you cannot play bouncers? this can also be said about spin, but this is for other teams to think. suresh raina, he is hopeless. give him medium pacers, spinners, he will bludgeon them, but one ball towards his ribcage, he is a mouse. i think we should think of playing tendulkar and dravid even in t20 if the matches are being played on bouncy tracks.

Posted by Rockfort on (May 8, 2010, 13:20 GMT)

India is equpped with players of dubious reputation. Players like Pathan, Jadeja can not find place in any other team. I just wonder how these players get selected. It is one thing to get sixes on dead wickets and short boundaries in IPL and a totally different thing to get runs bouncy wickets. I am not surprised at India's loss. I am pretty sure Windies would try the same tactics as they did in last years T20.

Posted by bheekuchatri on (May 8, 2010, 12:40 GMT)

I am just wondering how much money is spent on the coaches and support staff that they could not forsee that australia was going in with 3 quick bowlers on a bouncy wicket...for what? i am tired of watching this one sided matches with australia running through india with short pitch stufff... unbelievable... seems like they did not learn anything from last year? it is high time atleast some grounds in india are created with good bounce.

Posted by sweetspot on (May 8, 2010, 10:44 GMT)

The batting was rubbish. No short ball got any Indian batsman out. They played shots like millionaires wanting to be paupers very quickly. End of story. India, play yourselves in on this wicket and you can smash any opposition to pulp. Good job bowling in the last few overs! Cheers!

Posted by Hoggy_1989 on (May 8, 2010, 9:17 GMT)

@ FanCric: Whilst I agree with the main point of your argument (that flat, dead Indian pitches mean Indian batsman are out of their depth on a real pitch), I don't think the IPL is directly to blame...but more the media companies who pay obscene amounts of money to have the games broadcast on their network. They want a game (be it Test, ODI or T20) that lasts the maximum amount of time, so they can jam in as many ads as possible, even having a company sponsor a 6 (or 'DLF maximum'). So the pitches have no life in them to absolutely guarantee that possibility.

I think the ICC need to step in and tell the BCCI that for the good of the game, the pitches need to be made more lively and even up the contest between bat and ball to create results, which will gather more ratings and people through the turnstiles than a flat, dead pitch that produces no result. If not, grounds that don't live up to standards will not have games staged there. Soon enough the message will get through.

Posted by IPL_is_Fixed on (May 8, 2010, 7:58 GMT)

It is not Short-Pitched strategy, instead it is stupid, rubbish, non-sense, betting scandal IPL which ruined Team India. IPL has taken betting to highest level. IPL is not a Cricketing event it is a worst commerical event. Team India and BCCI is completely focussed on IPL. Because of IPL, Team India is losing skill, inspiration, motivation and fitness to play Test Cricket. These curators, coaches and BCCI officials are working for IPL growth rather than Cricket growth. Until IPL is thrashed, Team India is not going to perform well in other tournaments. IPL is completely meaningless and obsolete Tournament. Test, ODI & T20 Cricket is great to watch between Countries unlike IPL Teams which look like clubs. Test Cricket is ultimate to watch on sportive pitches. But IPL is making these pitches Lifeless.

Posted by dinosaurus on (May 8, 2010, 5:39 GMT)

Before the tournament started I wondered at the Australians' focus on speed, but now that I realise that the Super 8 fixture list was established before the tournament (it is directly derived from the seedings) it is obvious that against those teams and on those grounds the tactics would be speed and bounce.

Comments have now been closed for this article

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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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