Hardik's promotion, and reprieve, made the difference for India

India played a classical one-day innings in their match against Australia, with the top order laying the base, and the middle order building on it by blasting quick runs. Hardik Pandya was instrumental in that, hitting 48 off 27 balls. Hardik earned a promotion to No.4, coming in after Shikhar Dhawan was dismissed, with India 220 for 2 in 37 overs. The situation was set up for Hardik to launch an assault on the bowlers, similar to what he had been doing in the recently concluded IPL 2019, and he delivered. In his post-game chat at the presentation, Virat Kohli estimated that Hardik got India about 30 bonus runs.

That estimate was fairly accurate as it turns out, because if Hardik had fallen early, Australia might well have been chasing something in the region of 320 rather than 350 - which could have made all the difference to the result.

Nathan Coulter-Nile created that opportunity for Australia, getting Hardik to edge behind first ball, but Alex Carey failed to hold on to a fairly regulation chance. ESPNcricinfo's Luck Index estimates that the dropped chance resulted in India scoring 28 runs more than they would have, if Carey had held the catch and sent Hardik back first ball. According to Luck Index, the Indian batsmen to follow would have scored 20 runs off the 26 balls that Hardik ended up facing after he was reprieved. The number is estimated by reallocating the balls faced by Hardik, to the batsmen who came in aftr him and were unbeaten at the end of the innings, or to the batsmen who didn't get a chance to bat.

Australia's eventual defeat margin was 36 runs. When set against the drop that cost 28 runs, it shows up in stark relief how the result could have changed. Had Australia been chasing just over 320 instead of just over 350, they might well have got there. As Kohli said, the runs Hardik scored after being promoted up the order made a big difference to the result.

Luck Index is a part of Superstats, a new set of metrics by ESPNcricinfo to tell more enriching and insightful numbers-based stories. To know more about Superstats, click here.