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Sight Screen

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

ODI batting lessons(-worma)

They came from Andrew Symonds, probably the most valuable player in this current Aussie ODI lineup...as Aus reached 322 at the end of 50th over, in their 2nd ODI against Nz today, from a position of 115/4 at the end of 25th. And probably that's where the value, and strength of Symonds lies. He tends to come in when the opponents are a bit relaxed after nailing Aus top order, bides his time for a while, and then explodes. Consider the breakup of his 150+ score today
Symonds played patiently at first, waiting 70 balls to bring up his fifty, and then exploded in a way few fireworks displays can manage - his hundred arrived from a further 39 balls and his 150 came only 16 deliveries later.
Since his *rebirth* with that not-too-dissimilar 143 against Pak in the 2003 World Cup, he has scored 3 centuries and 13 (of his total 15) half-centuries at an average of 45+ - higher than that managed by Ponting or Gilchrist- in the 75 matches (out of his total 129) since then. I sometimes wonder that, in this team of superstars, do the opponents perhaps not pay enough attention to their planning against Symonds? His test failures(so far) indicate that he's probably a lesser mortal than what his ODI stats create.

But he was not the only one delivering batting lessons today. Nz gave Aus a huge scare as they almost chased down 322, perhaps the first time in 34 such attempts that someone has 'almost' managed to chase a 300+ against Australia. Ofcourse the score still remains 34-0 (thanks Saurabh for the stat) as Nz lost out in a nail-biting last over needing 6 runs with 2 wickets in hand. And if you thought that was achievable, consider this..they needed 24 off last two, with Lee in for 49th. And he was taken for 18 runs(with Nz number 8 and 10 facing him).

The Nz chase was marked by 3 men doing the big damage - Vincent at the top, Cairns in the middle, and McCullum in the end - and the rest providing anchor around them. Perfect way to chase down...ofcourse it helps that Nz has such capability low down the order beyond most teams' reach. McCullum does for Nz what we look for Dhoni to do for us, down the order.

Anyway, with McGrath missing, the Aus attack is perhaps not as consistently potent now, and that is something which other teams can also look upto.

Update: Rahul Tyagi, one of our readers, points out that Zimbabwe, once upon a time(when they were still an international cricket team), threatened to chase down 302 against Aus..finally finishing at an agonising 301. Hmm...how does Aus always manage to do that :-)


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