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300 plus totals in ODI cricket


300_Total_Team_Score_ODI_CricketThe first ODI was played on 5th January, 1971 and consisted of 40 overs with 8 balls an over. England batted first and were dismissed for 190 in 39.4 overs. Australia chased down the target for the loss of 5 wickets in 34.6 overs.

The scoring rates in ODIs have increased exponentially since then. Nowadays, on certain pitches, even a 300 plus total by a team batting first is no longer a definite winning total but merely a competitive one.

Since the team batting 2nd in an ODI can only score 300+ if it has been set a target of or in excess of 300, most of the article will focus on what happens after the side batting first has scored 300.

Let us analyse the occurrences of 300 plus totals over the years and the ways its frequency has been impacted by the rise to prominence of Twenty20 cricket.

(All variations of the phrase “300 and above” include 300 itself)

The first 300+ total in ODI cricket

Even though the first ODI was played in 1971, only a further 17 ODIs were played in the next 4 years. In the first match of the World Cup in 1975, England amassed 334/ 4 against India at Lords on 7th June, 1975.

However, this was a 60 over match and therefore the run rate was less than 6 runs per over, which is the minimum run rate required in an innings with a total equal to or in excess of 300 in a 50 over match. India didn’t even come close in reply and lost by the huge margin of 202 runs.

Total number of 300 plus scores in ODIs

At the conclusion of the 3rd ODI between England and India at Headingley on 17th July 2018, there have been a total of 4,018 ODIs played. The team batting first has scored a total of 300 or more 526 times, while the team chasing has scored 300 or more on 126 occasions.

Out of the 526 times when the team batting first scored 300 or more, it has won on 446 occasions which equates to 84.8 %. The team chasing has won on 74 occasions, which is 14.63% of the time.

300 plus totals amongst the top 8 Test playing nations

There have been 25 teams that have ODI status but this includes a lot of smaller countries like Afghanistan and Ireland, which have just played their first Test. Even Zimbabwe and Bangladesh received Test status only in 1992 and 2000 respectively, and were not particularly competitive in the early years of playing ODIs.

When we consider ODIs amongst the top 8 Test playing nations, we see that Australia has scored 300 plus totals on 72 occasions when batting first and India on 60 occasions. Australia has been victorious on 60 occasions (83.33 %) while India has been victorious on 48 occasions, which is 80%.

300 plus totals in the 11 World Cups

In the 11 World Cups played till date, 300 plus totals have been scored 78 times in the 400 ODIs played. 69 of these have been by the side batting first i.e. 88.4% of the time.

In knock-out matches involving all countries in ODIs

In knockout matches in all ODIs, a 300 plus total has been scored 22 times with the team batting first winning on 20 occasions. This slightly higher percentage confirms Ian Chappell’s theory that in knock-out matches, it is better to bat first, put the runs on the board and let the scoreboard pressure do the job on the chasing side.

The effect of Twenty20 cricket on ODI cricket

The first T20I was played on 17th February 2005 and the first World T20 was played in September 2007, with the final being played on 24th September 2007. There have been 2,620 ODIs played from 5th Jan 1971 till 24th Sep 2007; a total of 300 plus was scored by the side batting first on 230 occasions which equates to 8.77 % of the time. The totals were successfully defended by the side batting first 206 times, which is 89.56%.

300 plus ODI totals post the 2007 WT20

Since the 2007 World T20 1,398 ODIs have been played and a 300+ total has been scored by the side batting first on 296 occasions (this is 21.17% of the time) which is a 141% increase. This shows just how much easier it has become to register a 300+ total when batting first. This is mainly due to the impact of Twenty20 and the change in field restrictions in ODIs. Out of the 296 occasions, the team batting first has won on 240 occasions (81.08%)

A surge in 300 plus scores post the 2015 ODI World Cup

There have been 372 ODIs payed after the final of the 2015 World Cup and the team batting first has scored 300 or more on 101 occasions. This means a 300+ score was made in 27.15% of the games.

To put things in perspective, a 300+ total was scored 8.77% of the time from 5th January 1971 till the end of the first World T20, which increased to 21.17% from the conclusion of the WT20 till the present day. But if you consider the period since the 2015 World Cup, it is 27.15% of the time.

From the 2007 World T20 to the conclusion of the 2015 ODI World Cup, a 300 plus total was scored 195 times in the 1,026 ODIs, which comes to 19%. Post the 2015 World Cup 27.15%. So the frequency of 300+ totals is increasing exponentially.

A piece of trivia: A total of 197 grounds across the world have hosted ODIs. 124 of them have hosted ODIs in which there has been a 300+ total. The R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo has the most with 18 occasions.


300 plus totals are becoming more and more frequent because of the influence of T20 cricket, changed field restrictions, bigger bats and shorter boundaries. 350 is likely the new 300, and even that is no longer a safe total.


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