All batsmen pursuing targets in ODIs are constructing a run chase but in different ways, while playing different roles.
My style was completely different to those of many other batsmen, particularly those higher up the order, but it suited my temperament, and I found a way to take the pressure off myself in highly charged situations. I believe there is no right or wrong way that batsmen need to adhere to to be consistently successful.
Playing to your strengths is of utmost importance in chasing and scoring runs in one-day cricket. There are many moments in a chase where a batsman feels compelled to try something different because of the pressure. Most batsmen prefer to try something different than to test their game and stay till the end. Committing to playing your way gives you two things: the best opportunity to score big runs and the opportunity to understand what you need to do to improve if it doesn't work out.
Taking the pressure off yourself is a paramount skill required by any batsman seriously considering being a successful run-chaser. You need to find ways to keep it simple and focus on achievable targets. Sometimes if you focus too much on the trouble you are in or look too far ahead, it can sap your confidence and make it tougher to help your team.
I found having small, achievable goals that I knew I could reach - such as a reasonable strike rate for the first 30 balls, or setting targets per over - helped. Rather than winning the match for my team, my ultimate goal was just to be there at the end, win, lose or draw. I never knew I could win the match but I knew I could be there at the end, and it's amazing how often you have an opportunity to win the match if you are there at the end.
Minimising risk by targeting the right bowlers, choosing the right delivery to hit and having a plan B helps batsmen score 50-plus, develop consistency, and ensure game plans work towards applying pressure on opposition attacks.
A key part of my game to keep things simple and reduce risk was to only have one boundary option for each bowler. This I would choose based on my strengths, pitch conditions, field placements and the match situation. If the ball didn't pitch in the right area I would remain patient and try to rotate strike until it came along. The downside to this approach is that sometimes you miss out on opportunities or a quicker scoring rate, and of course, once the rate gets above 7 or so, you need to make a move regardless.
Finally, my success as a No. 6 batsman was largely determined by the quality and batting abilities of the lower order. Without these guys, nothing is achievable. A clear focus for me in batting with the tail was to help them feel comfortable and clear about our approach to winning the match. Honest feedback as to how they were going also helped. Every tailender had a different approach and a different personality, so it was important for me to work at their speed and on their level. There was no point in me being very regimented and structured in a mid-pitch discussion with Brett Lee, who was a carefree guy who didn't like plans and preferred to stay in the moment. Andy Bichel, for instance, really liked to take charge, so I would give him the space and opportunity to do this and let him drive the partnership.
Chasing runs can be intimidating at times but understanding the fundamentals can help increase your chances of success.
Michael Bevan played 232 ODIs and was part of two World Cup-winning Australia sides