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Thread: 300-300 ODI matches are boring? I disagree

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    International Captain ankitj's Avatar
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    300-300 ODI matches are boring? I disagree

    In the India vs Australia series thread, there is discussion on how 300-300 matches are becoming boring and the flat pitches are responsible for this. It cannot be denied that pitches have become flatter, but I disagree on the whole that matches have become boring or predictable for 2 reasons:

    1) Improvement in ODI batsmanship deserves some credit

    I think the batsmen have gotten smarter about taking the right amount of risk to get maximum possible scores. The batsmen in past eras were still coming to terms with limited over cricket (remember Gavaskar scored 36 runs in 60 overs?). Batsmen are continuously innovating with shots that were traditionally scorned at, and are not scared to hit the ball in the air. This I think is something to cheer about. This is evolution of batting skills.

    2) Batsmen are getting better at chasing large totals

    This is the more important part of the argument. 300-300 matches are not boring, in fact more interesting than 300-heartchoke matches of past. Any time the team batting first scored 300+, the batting team all but gave up from the start. They either choked or panicked (Akash Chopra knows the difference) and rarely ever got to winning position. This can be clearly seen in comparison of how often team batting first wins now after getting a score in top x percentile. I dug the stats facts to prove it. I looked at last ~10 years from 01-Jan-2004, and 10 years prior to that between the top 8 teams. Click on this image to see the results:

    BattingFirst.jpg

    Basically, while the first innings scores at each %ile (top 2%, 5%, 10% etc) have clearly gone up in last decade, the likelihood of winning an ODI after making a very high score in fist innings has coe down. In last decade a team scoring in top 10 has 81% chance of winning the game, compared to 85% in the decade earlier. So, batsmen have gotten much better at chasing down big totals. They don't get choke as much as they used to, and they have much better strategies of approaching a chase. This surely can't be a bad thing.

    (Geeky note: I think that for a score in higher percentiles, the win % for team batting first cannot be expected to come down to 50% ever. This is because while the best innings of a team batting second get curtailed after they finish the chase, those of a team batting first are not. So the times when chasing team is performing in top 10 percentile, the performance will enter this calculation only if the team batting first also performed in a similar percentile. For team batting first though, all instances of performing in top 10 percentile enter the calculation)

    Discuss.

  2. #2
    International Captain ankitj's Avatar
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    Oh, and I hate T20 because it is too short for smart strategies to be applied, and is too dependent on short bursts of chance/brilliance. Saying it upfront, if someone employs reductio ad absurdum to argue that this implies T20 cricket are culmination of the skill evolution I allude to.

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    International Debutant salman85's Avatar
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    Hate these monstrous high scoring games from the core of my heart. It makes Cricket look like a bowler's whipping ground. I'm not even talking from the point of view from the two teams playing the game. I'm talking about the neutral guy. Sure, Indian supporters would be elated after today's victory and they have every right to be happy because it's a fantastic result, but how many neutrals truly enjoyed the game? Not too many i guess.

    Even in today's day and age where the game has become more batsman dominated than at any time since i started following cricket (around 1996) , the neutral would always rate a match like the Aus-SA semifinal from '99 or the Pak-Sri draw from Sharjah as much MUCH higher quality matches than for eg the Aus-SA record chase or the Aus-India match today. The team at the winning end of these monstrous scores will love the matches, but if you're going to judge the quality of a match, go by how many neutrals it attracted.

    This is one of the reasons why i loved the 2011 WC. No ridiculously high scoring games, but it still produced very high quality and very enjoyable ODI cricket. Yes, Batsmen have improved their skills too, and they deserve credit, but you are handicapping the bowlers. Back in the day, reverse swing played a role in ODIs but now the role has been significantly reduced due to the 2 new balls. I thought the ODI game saw a revival during the 2011 WC, but all of that has gone down the drain now IMO. Flat Tracks, Batsman friendly regulations and what not. Being a bowler is pretty miserable in the shorter formats these days.
    Last edited by salman85; 16-10-2013 at 02:25 PM.

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    International Coach flibbertyjibber's Avatar
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    220-220 is a much better game, gives the bowlers a chance and the best bats who apply themselves can score runs. A game where the bowlers have no chance is pointless.
    _Ed_, CricAddict and Black_Warrior like this.


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    Cricket Web Staff Member Burgey's Avatar
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    Is a 450-450, 200-200 test worse than a 200 x 4 test though?

    Obviously not an exact comparison because of the format difference, and besides they'd both be pretty exciting because they'd be ties.

    But I find it pretty hard not to be impressed by the batting displayed last night over 100 overs.

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    International Coach flibbertyjibber's Avatar
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    It is very very impressive but too many games now give the bowlers little chance particularly in one day cricket. A better balance between bat and ball would be better all round.

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    Cricketer Of The Year Cabinet96's Avatar
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    You can overplay how regular these types of games are though. It's the second biggest chase ever, and in terms of the wickets lost and the overs remaining, there's never quite been a chase like it. Australia scored 304 in the first game and India didn't get near after all.

    I'm of a strong opinion that ODI batting has improved immensely over the years. The fact that they can hit certain deliveries in so many areas now just completely increases scoring options. Added to that the strength and audacity that people play with and scores are always going to be higher. So overall I don't mind high scoring games particularly. What annoys me perhaps more than the pitches though - how regularly do we see non flat pitches for ODI's anyway? - is small grounds and fast outfields. With only four players allowed at maximum at all stages, it gets to the point where players can mi**** boundaries over the infield and even hit sixes without getting that much of it. That slightly undermines the batting in itself IMO, as it merges the guys who can just swing at everything and the proper quality players like Kohli.
    Quote Originally Posted by Flem274* View Post
    This English top three are cornflakes. They're not the most exciting thing out but they're pretty effective. Then the middle order are the sugar. Would be too much on their own but added to the cornflakes they add some much needed interest

    When KP returns he will be the banana..

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    International Captain ankitj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by salman85 View Post
    Even in today's day and age where the game has become more batsman dominated than at any time since i started following cricket (around 1996) , the neutral would always rate a match like the Aus-SA semifinal from '99 or the Pak-Sri draw from Sharjah as much MUCH higher quality matches than for eg the Aus-SA record chase or the Aus-India match today. The team at the winning end of these monstrous scores will love the matches, but if you're going to judge the quality of a match, go by how many neutrals it attracted.
    Actually I do consider the 438 game among the best games ever. Yes the pitch was flat but it's just to easy for us to say that. Imagine the pressure that they dealt with throughout that chase. I remember when Boucher was stopped for an interview when he was returning after completing the game, he could barely speak because of how mentally drained he was. It was clearly visible in his and other players' body language. We fail to give it to batsmen very often. We all remember how the chase of 300+ scores used to go in 90s and that had nothing to do with quality of bowling or pitches; the batsmen just didn't know how to deal with large totals. This is a very positive change.

    I agree with you on the changes that artificially distort the games against bowlers like 2 new balls taking reverse swing out of equation (though the conventional swing should last longer) and the power plays. They should not happen.
    Last edited by ankitj; 16-10-2013 at 03:41 PM.

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    First Class Debutant outbreak's Avatar
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    I find it incredibly boring. I turned the game off during Australias innings when it became clear it would just be a run fest, not surprised India chased it down as they are the superior team and better in these conditions but the scores are a joke.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Burgey's Avatar
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    T20 has given even more urgency to ODI batting. Also, while two new balls is designed to help the bowlers, there will be some conditions where the ball being harder will help batsmen. On some decks it's harder to score as the ball gets softer and when that used to happen we would say the middle to later overs were a boring grind and you'd have these appalling part time slowies as a really big factor on the game.

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    International Captain Maximas's Avatar
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    Any game that is close or topsy turvy will always be exciting IMO - doesn't matter what the score is as far as I'm concerned
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    Hall of Fame Member NUFAN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burgey View Post
    Is a 450-450, 200-200 test worse than a 200 x 4 test though?

    Obviously not an exact comparison because of the format difference, and besides they'd both be pretty exciting because they'd be ties.

    But I find it pretty hard not to be impressed by the batting displayed last night over 100 overs.
    Yes, it slightly is IMO. I absolutely love when we are at the half way point of a Test and both teams have been dismissed for that 200-300 mark.

    Back to ODIs, well if every game was 350 vs 350 it would get boring but it isn't going to be the case at every ground around the world. I would personally rather see mistimed shots in the air be punished more but there was some crazy good shots last night frequently which means scores are always going to be higher.
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    International Vice-Captain Contra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burgey View Post
    T20 has given even more urgency to ODI batting. Also, while two new balls is designed to help the bowlers, there will be some conditions where the ball being harder will help batsmen. On some decks it's harder to score as the ball gets softer and when that used to happen we would say the middle to later overs were a boring grind and you'd have these appalling part time slowies as a really big factor on the game.
    This is pretty much it, the concept of two new balls in an innings simply does not work properly in all conditions, they need to re-think this rule if they want to avoid more 300+ v 300+ games in the sub-continent, which will again become the norm since batting gets easier as the match progresses. I can understand the logic of having two new balls in places like England, SA, AUS, NZ etc as the conditions in those countries allow bowlers to utilize the two new balls to good effect. But using two new balls in the sub-continent has the opposite result, because not only is there minimal swing on offer (which is something the two new balls is suppose to extend), but also because it removes the spinner AND reverse swing from the game.

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