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Ask Steven

Which pairs of team-mates have featured in the most matches but never batted together?

And what is the most ducks a team has made in a T20 they won?

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shikhar Dhawan have played 141 internationals together but not been at the crease at the same time  •  AFP/Getty Images

Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shikhar Dhawan have played 141 internationals together but not been at the crease at the same time  •  AFP/Getty Images

Are there any pairs in international cricket who haven't ever batted with each other despite playing lots of matches together? asked Noor Alameen from Bangladesh
There are runaway leaders on this unusual list: Sanath Jayasuriya played 408 international matches with Muthiah Muralidaran, but never once batted with him. Some current pairings come next, who still have power to add to the list (or escape it entirely): Martin Guptill has so far played 141 internationals on the same side as Trent Boult, but never batted with him. India's Shikhar Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have also had 141 matches together; next come Jason Roy and Adil Rashid, with 139 for England.
Jayasuriya and Murali are also the clear leaders in Tests alone, with 94: next come Herschelle Gibbs and Makhaya Ntini with 64, Alastair Cook and Graeme Swann with 60 (Swann's entire Test career), and Rohan Kanhai and Lance Gibbs with 58.
Since ESPNcricinfo started computing win percentages, which team won with the lowest win percentage at any stage of the game? asked Umar from the United States
The ESPNcricinfo Forecaster was introduced in April 2019, and has been used for 141 T20 internationals since then. The lowest win probability from which a chasing team has won is 3.8%, in Zimbabwe's victory over Scotland in Edinburgh in September 2021. Chasing 179, Zimbabwe were 74 for 3 at the end of the 12th over, needing another 104 from the last eight - and got there.
But the earliest in an innings when the win percentage for a successful chasing team has gone below 10% was in the match between Australia and India in Bengaluru in February 2019. After 4.5 overs, Australia were 25 for 2, needing another 166 from 91 balls. Their win probability, according to the Forecaster, was just 6.6%. But they did it, mainly thanks to a 50-ball century from Glenn Maxwell.
In a similar case in Hyderabad in December 2019, India were 35 for 1 after 4.5 overs, needing 173 more from 91 balls - and the win forecast had them at just 8%. But Virat Kohli cracked 94 not out, and India won quite comfortably in the end, with no fewer than eight balls to spare.
If you're expecting an explanation of the system, look away now: according to Shiva Jayaraman of the stats team, "It's a complex machine language-driven algorithm which I wouldn't be able to explain even if I wanted to."
Has anyone been stuck on 99 in their debut T20 international, or an ODI? asked Michael Bailey from England
No one has yet scored 99 in their first T20 international, but Ricky Ponting was marooned on 98 not out in the first ever such match, against New Zealand in Auckland in 2004-05. Ponting never did make a century in a T20 international.
In all T20 cricket, the Haryana opener Mukul Dagar was stuck on 99 not out in his first such match, against Punjab in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in Delhi in October 2010. That remains his highest score in T20 matches.
Two men have recorded a score of 99 in their first one-day international. The first was 19-year-old Eoin Morgan, who had the misfortune to be run out one short of his hundred on his debut for Ireland, against Scotland in Ayr in 2006. Then, in a World Cup qualifier in Lincoln (New Zealand) in February 2014, the UAE wicketkeeper Swapnil Patil ended up with 99 not out in his first match, also against Scotland.
Zimbabwe had six ducks against West Indies in a T20 international in 2010 - but still won. Has anyone bettered this? asked Jameel Maynard from Trinidad & Tobago
Zimbabwe scraped together 105 in that match, on a difficult pitch in Port-of-Spain in February 2010, but then restricted West Indies to 79 for 7 in their 20 overs.
No team has won a senior T20 match after suffering more than six ducks, but two other sides have won despite six: Lahore Lions (113) beat Peshawar Panthers (79) in a Faysal Bank T20 Cup match in Rawalpindi, in Pakistan, in March 2012; and Mumbai (155) beat Punjab (120) in India's Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in Indore in February 2019.
The most ducks in any men's T20 innings is eight, by Turkey in their total of 21 against Czech Republic (who had earlier smashed 278 for 4) in Ilfov County, Romania, in August 2019. For the full list, click here.
In women's T20 internationals, there were nine ducks in Mali's record low total of 6 (five extras) against Rwanda in Kigali in June 2019. There were also nine in Maldives' innings of 8 (seven of them wides) against Nepal in Pokhara six months later. For that list, click here.
Who's the only man to hit the winning runs, take the winning catch, and coach a winning side in the 50-over World Cup? asked Daniel Hendry from Australia
This much-medalled player is Australia's Darren Lehmann. In 1999, he hit the winning runs - a four off Saqlain Mushtaq - as Australia hurtled past Pakistan's modest total of 132 in the World Cup final at Lord's. Four years later, Lehmann caught Zaheer Khan off Glenn McGrath to seal another trophy, in Johannesburg. And then, in March 2015, Lehmann was the successful coach as Australia beat New Zealand in the World Cup final in Melbourne.
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Steven Lynch is the editor of the updated edition of Wisden on the Ashes