Dhoni and Kohli: The thrill of the chase

Not for the first time, a Virat Kohli-inspired India has chased down a seemingly insurmountable target.

Indian batsmen really come into their own when a chase is on the cards, with Kohli and MS Dhoni both averaging over 90 in successful chases.

In the history of ODI cricket, India only has the 6th-best win ratio when chasing (Papua New Guinea has the best, having won two out of their three chases).

In the last decade, Australia has a slightly superior win ratio to India’s (69 wins in 98 matches compared to 94 in 148), but in terms of individual records, there’s no competing with India’s batting line-up.

chevy_chase_at_the_2008_tribeca_film_festival
Picture of Chevy Chase. Geddit? (Credit: David Shankbone)

Could India’s penchant for chasing be due to lax first-innings bowling?

India has an economy rate of 4.78 when bowling first in their ODI history, putting them fourth-highest among the Test nations – a figure that increases to 5.19 (second-highest among the Test nations) in the last decade.

In terms of runs scored when chasing since 2007, India averages 38.20 runs per wicket (second only to Australia’s 38.26) at a run-rate of 5.41 (tied with New Zealand at the top).

In India’s past 50 chases (stretching back to June 2013), they have been set a target of 300+ on 15 occasions, winning four with one match tied.

They have however successfully chased down all 20 of their lowest targets in that time (243 being the highest of that collection).

Biggest successful chases in ODI history

Team  Opposition Date  Score  Overs 100 
South Africa Australia 12 Mar 2006 438/9 49.5 175 (HH Gibbs)
South Africa Australia 5 Oct 2016 372/6 49.2 118 (DA Miller)
India Australia 16 Oct 2013 362/1 43.3 141 (RG Sharma), 100 (V Kohli)
India England 15 Jan 2017 356/7 48.1 122 (V Kohli), 120 (KM Jadhav)
India Australia 30 Oct 2013 351/4 49.3 115 (V Kohli), 100 (S Dhawan)
New Zealand Australia 20 Feb 2007 350/9 49.3 117 (CD McMillan)
England New Zealand 17 Jun 2015 350/3 44.0 113 (EJG Morgan), 100 (JE Root)
New Zealand Australia 18 Feb 2007 340/5 48.4 117 (LRPL Taylor)
Australia England 2 Feb 2011 334/8 49.2
New Zealand Australia 10 Dec 2005 332/8 49.0 101 (SB Styris)

Who needs a century? #NotImporTONt

Team  Opposition Date  Score  Overs Top score 
Australia England 2 Feb 2011 334/8 49.2 82 (MJ Clarke)
Australia South Africa 6 Apr 2002 330/7 49.1 92 (RT Ponting)
Zimbabwe New Zealand 25 Oct 2011 329/9 49.5 99 (MN Waller)

Best of the present-day chasers (Qualification: 30 innings)

 Innings Runs  HS  Ave.  SR  100  50 
V Kohli (IND) 96 4,823 183 64.30 93.55 17 23
AB de Villiers (SA)  93 3,853 136* 56.66 94.25 7 26
MS Dhoni (IND)  122 4,090 183* 49.87 82.72 2 28
KS Williamson (NZ) 41 1,597 118 45.62 80.05 3 10
G Ghambir (IND) 78 3,093 150* 45.48 86.15 6 21
MJ Guptill (NZ) 64 2,362 116* 44.56 91.16 6 13
S Dhawan (IND) 44 1,815 126 44.26 91.29 5 10
LD Chandimal (SL) 45  1,420 111 43.03 76.50 2 10
SPD Smith (AUS) 33 1,238 149 42.68 85.37 3 6
HM Amla (SA) 56 2,178 129 41.88 83.93 5 12

N.B. KL Rahul and Ambati Rayudu (both IND) average 102.00 and 98.16 when chasing in their short careers thus far.

Best of the present-day chasers in a winning cause (Qualification: 30 innings)

 Innings Runs  HS  Ave.  SR  100  50 
MS Dhoni (IND) 63 2,434 183* 97.36 90.38 2 16
V Kohli (IND) 60 3,636 183 90.90 97.79 15 15
AB de Villiers (SA) 53 2,363 136* 81.48 96.17 5 17
SK Raina (IND) 55 1,865 116* 66.60 101.74 2 13
MJ Guptill (NZ) 35 1,637 116* 65.48 93.91 5 9
EJG Morgan (ENG/IRE) 40 1,537 124* 64.04 91.92 4 8
Shakib Al Hasan (BAN) 37 1,099 105* 61.05 86.74 1 6
CH Gayle (WI) 61 2,916 133* 58.32 90.81 8 17
KP Pietersen (ENG) 30 1,189 130 56.61 86.66 3 5
JP Duminy (SA) 37 1,094 79* 54.70 73.32 0 6

P.S. It is also of interest to note that Kohli has the fourth-highest chasing average in a losing cause (35.33) of all time, behind Michael Bevan, Ab de Villiers and Shiv Chanderpaul.

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