These Kiwis could fly

In Part 4 of our ongoing series, we look at New Zealand's highest impact makers in ODIs

Crowe is ahead of Astle as the most impactful ODI batsman.

Despite just 2 SDs (which actually is quite creditable given what the team of his era achieved), Martin Crowe very comfortably tops his country’s Batting IMPACT charts. He is outstanding in every aspect of batting as this chart shows, not least of which is consistency and the sheer volume of runs he contributed. When it comes to chasing, in fact, he has the 2nd-highest impact in the history of ODI cricket (after Virat Kohli).

Astle shows up here too as his country’s best big match player – by quite some distance (which takes him right up the list here). His relatively high failure rate once again keeps him from touching stratospheric heights though.

Andrew Jones would be better remembered as a solid Test match no. 3 batsman but it is instructive to see him amongst New Zealand’s three highest impact ODI batsmen – and to see the high proportion of runs he made (the second-highest on this list). 

Roger Twose remains one of the most underrated players in modern cricket history. No batsman in the history of ODI cricket from any country absorbed more pressure than him. Easily his country’s finest middle-order ODI batsman, the high proportion of runs he made with impressive consistency, and his ability to bat at his best regularly while chasing targets made him one of the most important figures for his country when New Zealand reached heights it never reached in any other phase before or since (1998-2001).

Jeremy Coney and Chris Cairns are the two all-rounders who feature on this list – both notable for their high Pressure IMPACT. Something Ross Taylor has been good at too – it is perhaps just a matter of time before he opens the account in his SD column (he also needs to get his failure rate down). It is remarkable that Chris Cairns actually has 2 SDs purely as a batsman.

Former captains Fleming and Ken Rutherford make this list too – they both led from the front, particularly Fleming, who did it for a long time too, and has 2 SDs to show for it as well.

NOTE: If the cut-off is lowered to 50 matches (from 75), Martin Guptill and Bruce Edgar make the above list in positions 8th and 9th respectively.

The stories that unfold on various batting parameters are revealing.

When it comes to Runs Tally IMPACT (proportion of match runs made through career), the highest impact batsmen are Martin Crowe, Andrew Jones and Roger Twose. 

The highest Strike Rate IMPACT batsmen (highest strike rates relative to all the matches in their careers) are Lance Cairns, Richard Hadlee and Brendan McCullum. (Lance Cairns is very significant here – his Strike Rate IMPACT is the 5th highest in the history of ODI cricket, ahead of the likes of Jayasuriya and Kapil Dev.)

The best Pressure IMPACT batsmen (those who absorbed the most pressure that came about due to fall of wickets) are Roger Twose, Jeremy Coney, Chris Cairns (they are also the highest in world ODI history).

The batsmen with the highest Partnership Building IMPACT (who built the most partnerships in the middle) are Martin Crowe, Andrew Jones and Roger Twose.

The best Chasing IMPACT batsmen (who registered the highest impact while chasing a target) are Martin Crowe, Roger Twose and Stephan Fleming.

The batsmen with the lowest failure rates (a failure is seen in this system as an inability to register an IMPACT of even 1 in a match) are Martin Crowe, Roger Twose and Jeremy Coney.

The Highest Impact Batting Performances in New Zealand’s ODI history

1. MD Crowe – 52 not out off 57 v Sri Lanka, Moratuwa, 1984 – Batting IMPACT 9.68

Going into this match, New Zealand needed a win to level the 2-match ODI series after having lost their earlier encounter in Colombo. The start was good for the New Zealanders with the Sri Lankans getting bundled out for 114 runs in a rain-curtailed 41 overs match. New Zealand however collapsed to 19-2. Martin Crowe came in at a time when the conditions were tricky and held the innings together with an attacking half century. Eventually, New Zealand won with seven wickets to spare and it could have been an entirely different story had Crowe not played such a significant part. The struggle of the other batsmen can be seen from the fact that they collectively scored 56 runs off 140 runs.

2. NJ Astle – 122 not out off 150 v England, Dunedin, 2002 – Batting IMPACT 8.46

With the series tied at 2-2, England, after opting to bat first, posted a meagre 218 runs. New Zealand had a strong start to their chase with Astle racing off to his 50 in 42 balls when suddenly a mini collapse reduced New Zealand from 55-0 to 80-3. Astle adapted accordingly and his next 50 came off another 82 balls. There was a mini scare again at the end with New Zealand losing two wickets in a space of four balls to fall to 180-5 but Astle took charge again and took New Zealand to a series victory.

3. MD Crowe – 57 not out off 98 v Pakistan, Auckland, 1992 – Batting IMPACT 7.13

Pakistan after being put into bat by New Zealand collapsed for a paltry score of 139 to give the latter a chance to clinch the three match ODI series. New Zealand in reply fell to 34-2 and in stepped Martin Crowe against a bowling attack comprising the likes of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis. Soon, the situation worsened to 45-3 and Crowe provided the stability and the composure to halt his team’s slide further and went on to craft a painstaking half century under testing conditions to take his team home.

The above performances are all within the series/tournament context. The highest impact batting performance within a match context in New Zealand’s ODI history is Nathan Astle’s 117 off 150 v India (Colombo, 2001). Stephen Fleming’s unbeaten 77 off 92 v Sri Lanka (Auckland, 2004) and Martin Crowe’s 105 not out off 105 v England (Auckland 1984) are the next highest impact innings within a match context.


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