By Jaideep Varma and Jatin Thakkar
April 2, 2011. Mumbai. The final of the Cricket World Cup. Lasith Malinga and all his Sri Lankan teammates exulted as Sachin Tendulkar was caught behind and India was reduced to 31 for 2, both star openers gone. A nerve-tingling, nervous moment for most Indian fans, who felt their chance of winning the World Cup after 28 years was in serious jeopardy.
They were wrong.
They had no way of knowing that the five batsmen India still had left actually had better credentials of delivering in those circumstances than both Sehwag and Tendulkar. To its own surprise, Impact Index discovered that Gambhir, Kohli, Yuvraj, Dhoni and Raina - all - had a higher Chasing IMPACT than the two openers under pressure situations, and also Finishing IMPACT (chasing and staying not out). What followed thereafter is the stuff of history of course, but it is interesting to note how consistently the core of this Indian ODI team has maintained this remarkable quality.
Chasing consistently is considered the most difficult function in ODI cricket and teams who have batsmen doing that well always thrive. Lloyd’s West Indies (1975-1983), Gavaskar’s India (1985), Ranatunga’s Sri Lanka (1996), Waugh’s Australia (1999), Ponting’s Australia (2003-2007)…all were magnificent chasing teams in their pomp. Dhoni’s team has been too, which is why it is not a coincidence at all that even before winning the World Cup 2011, the team had some notable successes like the 2008 CB Series in Australia and some bilateral series, especially away. Over the last two years particularly, chasing has been an important part of the team’s success. To illustrate this - India won 59% of their ODI matches in 2010 and 63% of that while chasing. In 2011, India won 61% of their ODIs, and 70% of those were while chasing.
On April 2nd 2011, the moment Sri Lanka won the toss and chose to bat, they actually put themselves at a big disadvantage but they had no way of knowing the formidable chasing unit they were looking at. The table below provides a revealing view.
These are India’s ten best chasing batsmen in its ODI history.
What I wonder now, amidst these ruins, is this: how do I watch a cricket match again? More »Paradise Lost