Ask Steven

Are Alzarri Joseph's 6 for 12 the best figures in all T20s?

Also, what's the record for the highest IPL total without a half-century?

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
Arul Suppiah holds the record for the best T20 figures - 6 for 5  •  Getty Images

Arul Suppiah holds the record for the best T20 figures - 6 for 5  •  Getty Images

In a recent IPL match KKR scored 206, with no batsman reaching 50. Was this a record? asked Brett Renike from Australia
That's a good spot, because Kolkata Knight Riders' 206 for 5 against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Bengaluru last week was indeed a record IPL total without an individual half-century - the highest individual contribution was Andre Russell's rapid unbeaten 48. The previous record - and the only other such score over 200 - was Mumbai Indians' 202 for 7 against the Super Kings in Chennai, in one of the earliest matches in the very first IPL, in April 2008.
Somerset made 226 for 5 in vain against Kent in a floodlit Vitality Blast match in Canterbury last August. And the international record is Australia's 221 for 5 against England in Sydney in 2006-07, when the highest individual score was Adam Gilchrist's 48.
In one of last week's ODIs, the first four Australians in the order all reached 50. Was this a record? asked Tom McGuirk from Canada
The match you're talking about was the one in Dubai on March 31, which Australia won to complete a 5-0 whitewash of Pakistan. Usman Khawaja made 98, Aaron Finch 53, Shaun Marsh 61 and Glenn Maxwell 70.
This was actually the 16th time the top four in the order had all reached 50 in the same ODI. Australia had done it twice before - against South Africa in Johannesburg in 2005-06 (Adam Gilchrist 55, Simon Katich 79, Ricky Ponting 164, Mike Hussey 81), and against India in Jaipur in 2013-14 (Finch 50, Phillip Hughes 83, Shane Watson 59, George Bailey 92 not out). Remarkably, Australia lost both those games!
In that Jaipur game, Maxwell also added 53 from No. 5 - it's the only occasion the top five in the order all made half-centuries in the same ODI. The only other instance of five was achieved by Pakistan against Zimbabwe in Karachi in 2007-08: numbers 2-6 all reached 50, but at the top of the order Salman Butt was out for 4.
I realised that Faf du Plessis had a batting average of 293 early in his Test career. Was this a record, at least for South Africa? asked Dale Kriege from South Africa
South Africa's Faf du Plessis raised his batting average to 293.00 during his second Test, in Australia in 2012-13. He followed 78 and 110 not out on debut in Adelaide with 78 not out and 27 in Perth - so was in sight of an average of 300 when he was out on the second innings.
That's the eight-highest Test batting average anyone has ever had - but there is another South African who did better. Jacques Rudolph started with 222 not out (against Bangladesh in Chittagong in 2002-03), and added 71 in the following Test. Just before he was dismissed for 10 in his third - against England at Edgbaston in 2003 - he had a Test average of 303.
The highest Test batting average ever recorded was by the West Indian Lawrence Rowe. After making 214 and 100 not out on debut, against New Zealand in Kingston in 1971-72, he had taken his average to 336 immediately before being dismissed for 22 in the next match, in Port-of-Spain. Rowe came down to earth a little after that, with innings of 1 and 0!
The others who boasted higher averages than du Plessis were the England trio of David Lloyd (308.00), Reginald "Tip" Foster (306) and Ian Bell (303), India's Rohit Sharma (302), and the West Indian Frank Worrell (294). New Zealand's Jimmy Neesham comes next with 277.
I know Alzarri Joseph's 6 for 12 was an IPL record, but was it the best in all Twenty20 cricket? asked Jai Manohar Prakash from India
Alzarri Joseph's 6 for 12 for Mumbai Indians against Sunrisers in Hyderabad the other day - on his IPL debut - broke the competition record set in 2008 by Sohail Tanvir, who took 6 for 14 for Rajasthan Royals against Chennai Super Kings in Jaipur in 2008, the first IPL season.
The best figures in all senior T20 cricket are 6 for 5, by the Malaysian-born Somerset slow left-armer Arul Suppiah, against Glamorgan in Cardiff in 2011. In the other big competitions, Shakib Al Hasan claimed 6 for 6 in the CPL, for Barbados Tridents against Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel in Bridgetown in August 2013, while Lasith Malinga took 6 for 7 in the Big Bash, for Melbourne Stars against Perth Scorchers in Perth in December 2012. The international record is 6 for 8, by another Sri Lankan, Ajantha Mendis, against Zimbabwe in the World Twenty20 in Hambantota in September 2012.
Graeme Pollock scored 677 runs in his last ten Test innings. Is this the record? asked Jeremy Bradbury from England
My first thought was that Graeme Pollock's aggregate - which included a murderous 274 against Australia in Durban in 1969-70 - would be a record for anyone's last ten Test innings. But, as I've found out often, first thoughts can be dangerous!
In fact there are three batsmen who collected more in their last ten innings. Graham Yallop made 693, while a rather more celebrated Australian, Charlie Macartney, managed 753. But top of the list is the West Indian Seymour Nurse, whose 766 runs included 258 in his very last innings, against New Zealand in Christchurch in 1968-69.
Of current batsmen, the New Zealanders Kane Williamson and Tom Latham have made 738 and 701 runs respectively in their last ten innings, but those figures will presumably change.
And there's an update to last week's question about batsmen who made no scores in the nineties in Tests, from Anne Monaghan
"You said that Michael Vaughan was next after Don Bradman for making the most Test centuries without a score in the nineties. But Greg Chappell scored 24 centuries and, although he did make 98 against England in Sydney in 1979-80, he was not out in that innings, so was never dismissed in the nineties."
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Steven Lynch is the editor of the updated edition of Wisden on the Ashes