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Team India: Master chaser in ODI cricket

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Virat_Kohli_India_cricketSince the time 50 overs format was introduced for ODIs, chasing 300 plus scores has witnessed an evolution. When Sri Lanka won chasing 300 plus target against Zimbabwe in 1992 World Cup to become the first team to achieve such a feat, it was an event. But with the Indian team chasing 350 plus targets twice in a month, this is rapidly becoming a routine; at least for Team India.

The recent India vs Australia series was bowlers' nightmare. However, it was sheer delight for those who thrive on numbers. For Team India, the series win reconfirmed the number one status in ODI cricket. Along with it, this series also highlighted India's love affair with chasing 300 plus totals. They did lose the first game chasing 305 run target Australia set. However, the two convincing 350 plus run chases once again proved that India don't feel out of place when going after huge totals in ODIs.

Historically for India, the game against Pakistan on 21st May 1997 was the first time when they got involved in a 300 plus run chase. India lost that match chasing 329 runs Pakistan scored thanks to Saeed Anwar’s then record- breaking 194 runs. Counting India’s last game, they are so far involved in such games 21 times. Some may snap to say that it is due to India’s sloppy bowling. With the distinction of being the team with the highest number of 300 plus chases, that argument has its share of truth. But then so is India’s overall record of 15 wins in those games.

 

300+ Successful run chases (all teams)

 

Team Matches Won Lost Tied NR Win to Loss Ratio
India 21 15 6 0 0 2.5
Sri Lanka 11 7 4 0 0 1.75
Australia 6 5 1 0 0 5
Pakistan 9 5 4 0 0 1.25
South Africa 6 4 2 0 0 2
New Zealand 8 3 4 1 0 0.75
Bangladesh 2 2 0 0 0 -
England 5 2 2 1 0 1
Ireland 2 2 0 0 0 -
Canada 1 1 0 0 0 -
Scotland 1 1 0 0 0 -
West Indies 3 1 2 0 0 0.5
Zimbabwe 2 1 1 0 0 1

 

In the list of teams with most wins when chasing 300 plus targets, Australia have 83% winning record (6/5). While India don’t have a record (winning percentage wise) like Australia’s, with more wins under their belt India top the list of teams (and becomes a point of focus of this article) with most wins while chasing 300 plus scores.

To make this article less complicated while analysing India’s performance, I am breaking India’s record of 15 wins in 21 games in 3 phases. The first phase is from 1997 to 1999. Second is from 2000 to 2009. And the last (and on-going) phase is from 2010 to India’s win in Nagpur against Australia.

 

300+ Successful run chases for India from 1997 to 1999

 

Year Matches Won Lost Tied NR
1997 1 0 1 0 0
1998 1 1 0 0 0
1999 1 0 1 0 0

 

India in that first phase won only one game out of three when asked to chase any target of above 300. It, if put differently means that their winning percentage during that period was 33%. In this period, Indian teams were viewed on these lines – ‘India have the batting power. But if set with a 300 plus total (or for that matter even a 280 plus total), they would lose often.’ In India’s defence, 3 games is too small as a sample size. But keeping in mind, 300 plus scores were less frequent and more competitive then; even this sample size can’t be ignored.

 

300+ Successful run chases for India from 2000 to 2009

 

Year Matches Won Lost Tied NR
2000 2 1 1 0 0
2002 2 2 0 0 0
2004 1 0 1 0 0
2005 1 1 0 0 0
2007 1 1 0 0 0
2008 2 2 0 0 0
2009 2 1 1 0 0

 

In the second phase (from 2000 to 2009), India went after 300 plus targets 11 times. India’s won 8 games out of those 11. Those 8 victories indicate a significant improvement from their performance in the first phase. With only 3 losses in 11 games in the second phase, the winning percentage shot up to 73%. The upward movement of 40% when compared with the 33% in the first phase indicates that India’s performances have been better than before.

 

300+ Successful run chases for India from 2009 to 30 Oct 2013

 

Year Matches Won Lost Tied NR
2010 1 1 0 0 0
2011 1 1 0 0 0
2012 2 2 0 0 0
2013 3 2 1 0 0

 

But the phase beginning from 2009 till present is their most highlighting (show-off) point. Since 2009, India are put into such space 7 times. And they have won 6 times (a win against Australia in Nagpur chasing 351 being their latest) indicating an above average consistency. One has to admit that improved bats, recently introduced two ball rule, batting friendly pitches and shorter boundary distances have played their part in these chases. But associating the winning percentage of 86 merely to these factors would be a stand too difficult to explain. If compared with India’s winning percentage during 1997-1999, it is a hike of 53% and of 13% when compared with their 2000-2009 performance.

Hence, it is safe to say that an overall winning percentage of 71% and 3 time presence in the list of top 10 successful run chases in ODIs is a direct outcome of an ever improving record while chasing 300 plus scores since 1997.

Stats by: Karna Yajnik



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