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Ask Steven

What's the lowest total successfully defended in the IPL?

And do Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami hold the record for the longest careers in women's Tests?

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
In Durban in 2009, Chennai Super Kings defended 116 against Kings XI Punjab  •  Aman Sharma/Associated Press

In Durban in 2009, Chennai Super Kings defended 116 against Kings XI Punjab  •  Aman Sharma/Associated Press

Punjab Kings successfully defended just 125 in a recent IPL match. Was that the lowest total that the chasing team failed to reach? asked Nikhil Tarapor from India
Punjab Kings made 125 for 7 in that match in Sharjah last week, then restricted Sunrisers to 120 for 7, with Jason Holder unable to conjure the 17 required from Nathan Ellis' final over, despite smacking the second ball for six.
Five lower totals have been successfully defended in an IPL match. Kings XI Punjab (as they were then called) were on the receiving end of the lowest: in Durban in 2009, they needed a modest 117 to beat Chennai Super Kings, but managed only 92 for 8, with Muthiah Muralidaran whizzing through his four overs and taking 2 for 8.
In Mumbai in 2018, Sunrisers Hyderabad were all out for 118 but then skittled Mumbai Indians for 87, while in Pune in 2013, their total of 119 proved enough, as Pune Warriors could scrape together only 108. Pune needed 14 from the last two overs, but Amit Mishra (who had earlier scored an important 30) took four wickets, including a hat-trick to finish off the match.
Mumbai Indians (116 for 7) also failed to chase down 120 against Kings XI Punjab on the difficult pitch in Durban in 2009. And in Pune in 2012, the boot was on the other foot: Mumbai Indians made only 120 for 9, but restricted the Warriors to 119 for 6 to win by one run: with 12 needed off the final over, Munaf Patel conceded only ten, including two off the last ball with a boundary needed for victory.
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I noticed that Jordan Cox of Kent has just one first-class century so far, but went past 200. How many people have scored only one century in first-class cricket, but made it a double? asked Keith Harrison from England
Rather surprisingly perhaps, as many as 57 men have converted their only first-class century into a score of 200 or more. That number includes a few current players who may yet escape the list, like 20-year-old Jordan Cox, whose only three-figure score so far was an unbeaten 238 for Kent against Sussex in Canterbury in 2020 (unusually, he was dropped for the next game, after breaching Covid protocols). Perhaps the unluckiest name on the list is that of Norman Callaway - he scored 207 in his only first-class innings, for New South Wales against Queensland in Sydney in February 1915, but was killed in action in the Great War just over two years later, a few days after his 21st birthday.
There are even two players - both from Pakistan - whose only first-class century was a triple: Pervez Akhtar hit 337 not out for Railways in a mismatch against Dera Ismail Khan in Lahore in 1964-65 (Railways won by an innings and 851), while in 2016-17, Hamza Ghanchi made an undefeated 300 for Karachi Whites against National Bank in Karachi. Although he is still only 26, Ghanchi has not played first-class cricket since 2017-18.
Ajay Rohera of Madhya Pradesh scored 267 not out - the fourth highest on this particular list - on his first-class debut, against Hyderabad in Indore in 2018-19. He has played eight more matches so far without reaching three figures.
Was Glamorgan's 672 against Surrey at The Oval the highest score batting first not to earn a first-innings lead? asked Colin Bezant from England
Glamorgan's 672 for 6 - their third-highest total - at The Oval in the final round of County Championship matches last month was overhauled by Surrey's 722 for 4 (their own third highest score). It was actually the fifth highest total in the first innings of a match that did not result in a lead: the list is topped by another Championship match at The Oval, in 1990, when Surrey made 707 for 9 but Lancashire responded with 863.
In second place lies the match in Delhi in 1981-82, when Delhi made 707 for 8 to overhaul Karnataka's 705. This was a rather more significant feat, as it was in the final of the Ranji Trophy, and an eighth-wicket stand of 118 decided the destination of the title on the basis of Delhi's first-innings lead. And I'm indebted to Andrew Samson, who informs me that the highest total in the second innings of a match that did not result in a lead was Bijapur Famine XI's 673, against the Bengal Cyclone XI (703) in Bombay in 1942-43.
I spotted that Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami, who both played against Australia, made their Test debuts together back in 2002. Has any woman had a longer Test career than these two? asked Rachel McKenzie from Australia
You're right that Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami, who both played against Australia in Carrara, made their debuts together more than 19 years ago - against England in Lucknow in January 2002.
The Carrara match put them ahead of England's Molly Hide, whose Test career lasted 19 years and 211 days between 1934-35 and 1954, but they are still behind the New Zealander Vera Burt (formerly Robinson), who played two Tests in March 1948 and another almost 21 years later in February 1969. For the full list, click here.
The men's record is held by the Yorkshire and England allrounder Wilfred Rhodes, whose last Test - when he was 52 - came almost 31 years after his debut in 1899. For that list, click here.
MS Dhoni took five catches in a Twenty20I against England in 2018. Was this a record? asked Kishore Mehta from India
Those catches by MS Dhoni came in the third T20I of India's 2018 tour of England, in Bristol. It was a wicketkeeping record for catches at the time, but was equalled the following year by Papua New Guinea's Kiplin Doriga, against Vanuatu in Apia.
Two other keepers - Mohammad Shahzad of Afghanistan and Irfan Karim of Kenya - have made five dismissals in an innings in a T20I, but they both included some stumpings. There are also five instances in women's T20Is, two of them by Pakistan's Batool Fatima.
The record in all senior T20 cricket is seven catches in an innings, by Upul Fernando of Lankan CC against Moors at the Bloomfield ground in Colombo in October 2005.
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Steven Lynch is the editor of the updated edition of Wisden on the Ashes