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Sight Screen

Saturday, December 03, 2005

SRT in run chases

I noticed this piece by Rajesh, on Sachin Tendulkar in big second innings run chases, just now.
It is an aspect of his game many have questioned; in that context, this particular Rajesh exercise is fascinating. The focus here is on averages -- but what got me thinking was this: In a big run chase, what you would likely expect from an opener is an explosive start; the sort that breaks the chase open, rapidly reduces the asking rate, and sets the job up for the ones to follow.
In that light, it is interesting that the highest strike rates in these tables belong to those batsmen who take on themselves the onus of going after the bowling early, of trying to ignite a spectacular chase (a high risk option that, and one that brings more than an even chance of failure): Sanath with 85, Sachin with 83, Sourav with 80. Against that, the 'safe' players -- Dravid and Kallis, who top the averages with 45 apiece, are clearly the forces of calm accumulation, as opposed to neck or nothing assault.
Those stats are mirrored, in fact highlighted, in the second table, the one that deals with chases in excess of 240. Sanath with 93 strike rate, Sachin and Inzy with 87 apiece, Sourav with 85 -- all clearly batsmen who, confronted with big targets, give it a go. When they pull it off, it is spectacular -- when they fail, it is an invitation to criticism on the 'he never is there when we need him most' lines.
Could it be that a team needs both a Dravid -- who confronted with a big total can always be expected to contribute a chunk (47+ average) of the chase and a Sachin (37+)/Sourav (85+) who provide the 0-100mph in 60 seconds blast off?
In passing, a curiosity -- Viru Sehwag, who has set up a few chases for us, doesn't figure in either list; wonder what his stats are in comparison with these other guys.

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