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Stats Analysis

Where does Bangladesh's win rank among the greatest upsets in Tests?

A comprehensive, numbers-based look at the greatest upsets in Tests, taking into account team strengths, recent form and result margin

Bangladesh's hero Ebadot Hossain acknowledges the crowd's applause  •  Getty Images

Bangladesh's hero Ebadot Hossain acknowledges the crowd's applause  •  Getty Images

At the beginning of 2021 I had come out with an in-depth article in which I had determined the greatest upsets in Tests and ODIs. Now, after Bangladesh's fantastic win in Mount Maunganui, it's time to revisit that piece, because this win breaks into the all-time top five.
Normally a selection like this is done using subjective ideas, often from memory. However, I determined these matches through totally objective methods, quantifying all relevant factors.
Before looking at the updated list, here are the factors I have considered. To know more about the methodology used, please read the original article.
1. Team Strength Index (TSI) differential between the two sides. This takes into account the teams' strengths based on the location (home/away for each team)
2. Recent overall form of the winning (weaker) team. This is based on the results of the last 10 Tests, across venues, with a point for a win, half a point for a draw and none for a loss. That is the Result Index, and "10-RI" is the value taken for this parameter. Thus, a team which has lost a lot recently gets a higher score, which boosts the overall Upset Index total.
3. Recent location-specific form of the winning team. The same process as above, applied to the most recent five home/away matches
4. Recent overall form of the losing (stronger) team. In this case, the RI value is taken as is
5. Recent location-specific form of the losing team
6. Team Performance Points of each team in the Test. A total of 10 points is allocated between the two teams, depending on the margin of the result.
7. Location of the match (away, neutral, home): five points for an away win, three for a win at a neutral venue, and one for a home win
Since that article was first published, we have had two great upsets, both good enough to breach the table featuring the top 12. Bangladesh's eight-wicket in in Mount Mounganui, their first in New Zealand, comes in fifth place. The relevant parameter values for Bangladesh are given below.
TSI Differential: 30.8 (42.8-73.6)
Recent Overall form - Bangladesh: 7.5 (LLWLDLLWLL)
Recent away form - Bangladesh: 3.5 (WLDLL)
Recent Overall form - New Zealand: 8.0 (LDWWDWWWWW)
Recent home form - New Zealand: 5.0 (WWWWW)
Team Performance Points - Bangladesh: 6.85 (a rather easy eight-wicket win)
Match location - away win: 5.0
Total points: 66.65
The aggregate of 66.7 Upset Index points puts Bangladesh's win in the fifth position, just behind Afghanistan's amazing away win against Bangladesh in Chattogram. A very well-deserved position for what was, inarguably, Bangladesh's greatest win and one of the greatest team achievements ever.
Let us not forget that the win was achieved without Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal. And the cherry on top was the margin of the win, with the match not going past lunch on the fifth day.
The top 10 also has another recent match, which happened just after the piece was originally published in January last year. That game was India's Brisbane win, which is now in eighth position, with 64.5 Upset Index points. India, with its depleted team, managed to upset the rampant and strong Australia, with a strong and unexpected fourth-innings chase.
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Anantha Narayanan has written for ESPNcricinfo and CastrolCricket and worked with a number of companies on their cricket performance ratings-related systems