By Jatin Thakkar and Soham Sarkhel
Whenever we discuss cricket amongst ourselves, we have a common tendency to say that a particular batsman played well under tremendous pressure. However if one is asked to define what pressure is according to cricketing norms, he/she will most definitely be at a loss of words. At Impact Index, we are able to measure at least a good part of it. For a batsman the Pressure IMPACT measures pressure that comes from fall of wickets. It kicks in when a batsman comes in to bat in a tough situation (as defined from how many wickets have fallen) and makes a certain proportion of runs (based on the match totals). This does identify a lot of players whose contributions often get overlooked.
Here are the batsmen with the highest Pressure IMPACT numbers in the history of T20 International matches (minimum 15 matches).
1. Umar Akmal (Pressure IMPACT 0.21, 28 matches)
2. KP Pietersen (0.20, 38)
3. Misbah Ul Haq (0.19, 35)
4. SK Raina (0.19, 26)
5. CO Obuya (0.19, 17)
Umar Akmal is one of Pakistan's most exciting and promising young talents in the international circuit. Surprisingly though, the Pakistan selection board has not been too kind on him and have deemed him too 'immature' to play for Pakistan on a regular basis. Definitely they need to have a look at these figures. Misbah Ul Haq and Suresh Raina may not be the eyeball grabbers in this list as they are known for their craftiness in the T20 format. However the inclusion of Kevin Pietersen may seem a bit of a surprise as people often consider him to be a slam-bang player and generally not a one who will shepherd his team through tough times by playing cautiously. However that is exactly Pietersen's style, he is not only the highest impact T20I batsmen of all time but he also has the highest Strike Rate IMPACT of all the batsmen which shows that even in a pressure situation, he likes to dominate the bowlers rather than going along with the tide. For those who remember Collins Obuya, the only image they will have of him is going through the Sri Lankan batting line up with his leg breaks in the 2003 World Cup.
However much has changed since, he has become more of a batting all-rounder nowadays a la James Franklin and has been a consistent performer for Kenya in the middle order with the bat. He even holds a T20 hundred against his name.
The Five Highest Impact Pressure Performances in T20 International history:
1) H Masakadza 44 off 57 v West Indies in Port of Spain, 2010 - Pressure IMPACT 2.02
In this one-off T20I match against West Indies, Zimbabwe won the toss and elected to bat first on a track which they misread as a batsman's paradise. Exactly 15 minutes into the match their scorecard read 0-3 after 3 overs. Hamilton Masakadza somehow managed to hang on after having come out as an opener and tried to give Zimbabwe's total a sense of respectability amidst all the mayhem. However he was bowled soon after from a delivery by Kemar Roach, luckily for him and Zimbabwe it turned out to be a no ball. In what was maybe the only blip in his entire knock, he crafted out a brilliantly paced 44 runs off the 57 deliveries that he faced. It's not very common in Impact Index for an opening batsman to get Pressure IMPACT in his batting analysis as he comes into bat when his team hasn't lost any wickets but Masakadza's partners made sure that he got plenty in this innings.
Masakadza stayed till the 18th over of Zimbabwe's innings and shared partnerships with 6 different batsmen in the course of his innings- some of them lasting for only an over or two. Needless to say he was the highest scorer in his team as 6 Zimbabwean batsmen fell for a duck. Chasing a meager 106, West Indies succumbed to the two paced nature of the pitch and eventually lost the match by 26 runs. Another remarkable stat is that for every 11 runs a wicket fell in this match which just goes on to show the crucial impact Masakadza had in this match as a batsman in holding his wicket as well as in forming partnerships in the latter half of the Zimbabwean innings.