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Chasing woes

Published Jun 15, 2012 01:11pm


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Pakistan’s efforts while chasing totals in one-day international (ODI) cricket have been on the decline ever since Inzamam-ul-Haq hung his boots, Mohammad Yousuf and Shoaib Malik began struggling - due to on-field and off-field issues - to make it to the ODI squads and Younis Khan reserved his best for Test cricket only.

Let’s take a statistical look into the pre-Inzamam-retirement era (2004 to 2007) and the period that proceeded Inzamam (2009 onwards). Statistics from 2008 have not been included since Pakistan, save Asia Cup, hardly played any competitive cricket that year.

Pakistan’s batting, while chasing in particular, has been in a state of difficulty over the years. Since the start of 2009, they have successfully chased a target of 250-plus in ODIs only three times – twice against South Africa in same series in UAE in 2010 and, a few months later, against New Zealand in 2011.

Narrowing down the figures to targets of 230, the numbers are abysmally stacked against Pakistan. Since January 2009, they have failed on 18 out of 23 occasions when set a total in excess of 230. This win-loss ratio (27 per cent) leaves them at seventh spot, just ahead of Bangladesh and West Indies.

New Zealand, at sixth, maintain a W/L ratio of 55 per cent which is almost double to that of Pakistan’s 27 per cent.

South Africa and India maintain the best percentages. In their failed attempts, the Proteas, have usually come within touching distance of their targets, which these stats don’t reflect.

Bangladesh, who shocked India at this year’s Asia Cup in Sachin Tendulkar’s 100th-century match with a successful chase, managed four wins during the period, but two of those were against a West Indian side who were playing with their fringe squad in 2009 due to their senior players’ dispute with West Indies Cricket Board. One of their wins was against Zimbabwe.

Teams while chasing target of 230-plus in ODI Cricket since 1st January, 2009 [excluding NR/Tie]
Country W/L Ratio Matches Won Lost
1. South Africa 1.28 16 09 07
2. India 1.25 36 20 16
3. Sri Lanka 0.77 32 14 18
4. Australia 0.72 19 08 11
5. England 0.56 25 09 16
6. New ZeaLand 0.55 14 05 09
7. Pakistan 0.27 23 05 18
8. Bangladesh 0.26 19 04 15
9. West Indies 0.05 18 01 17
India’s success largely correlates with the form of two of their star batsmen, Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir, who show up as leading second-innings run-getters in the period.

If Kohli’s bulk of runs (2268), at more than an ideal average (59.68) and brisk strike rate (88.76 per cent) isn’t surprising enough, consider that he scored each of his seven centuries in an Indian win. It took Tendulkar five years and 40 ODI innings to score his first century while chasing a target. Kohli in four years and 46 matches has already got seven.

No Pakistani makes the top-ten list of such batsmen, let alone the top 20.

Batsmen in 2nd innings of ODI Cricket since 1st January, 2009.
Player Innings Runs Average S. Rate 100s
1. Virat Kohli 46 2268 59.68 88.76 7
2. Gautam Gambhir 38 1747 52.93 90.05 3
3. Shane Watson 32 1642 60.81 96.87 4
4. TM Dilshan 38 1597 45.62 98.45 6
5. K. Sangakkara 42 1583 43.97 82.57 1
Looking back at the period between 2004 and 2008, the situation wasn’t that bad for Pakistan. They had the third best W/L Ratio (89 per cent) of chasing 230-plus targets. Only Australia and South Africa were better than them then.

It is worth mentioning that until 2004, Pakistan had never chased 300 in ODIs. In between 2004 and 2008, they chased it thrice (each time against India). The fourth and last time they chased such total was in mid-2008 again against India in the Asia Cup. On their tour of Australia in early 2005, they successfully chased targets in Brisbane and Perth twice. The following year, Younis Khan designed one remarkable chase in a day-night fixture against England at the Rose Bowl.

There were also fantastic chases in the BCCI Platinum Jubilee match at the Eden Garden against India in 2004 and against Sri Lanka in Champions Trophy 2006 Match at Jaipur. The former relied on Salman Butt’s maiden ODI century, while the latter will be remembered for one of Abdul Razzaq’s cameos.

Teams chasing target of 230-plus in ODI from 1st January, 2004 to 1st January 2008 [excluding NR/Tie]
Country W/L Ratio Matches Won Lost
1. Australia 1.37 19 11 08
2. South Africa 1.16 27 14 12
3. Pakistan 0.89 36 17 19
4. India 0.81 41 18 22
5. New Zealand 0.68 27 11 06
6. Sri Lanka 0.60 16 06 10
7. England 0.53 23 08 15
8. West Indies 0.52 32 11 21
9. Bangladesh 0.15 23 03 20
For more than a decade and half now, Pakistan have been struggling to establish a solid opening pair. Perhaps, it has rubbed off on their middle-order too. The middle-order’s shortcomings of the last few years are evident from the table below where they stand at number seven in terms of average, only ahead of West Indies and New Zealand. Their strike rate (72.87) is the worst among all.

Since January 2009, only two centuries have been scored by their middle order in second innings – one by Kamran Akmal in dead-rubber of 2009 Australia series, and the other by Shahid Afridi in a losing cause in the 2010 Asia Cup. However, while batting at number seven, Abdul Razzaq did score one, South Africa facing the brunt of his incredible assault in Abu Dhabi in 2010. This hitherto is the last century scored by a non-opening Pakistan batsmen in either innings of an ODI.

Middle-order Batsmen (Number 3, 4, 5, 6 positions) in 2nd innings of ODI Cricket since 1st January, 2009
Team Matches Batsmen Runs Average Strike Rate 100s
1. India 56 12 6983 45.94 84.52 11
2.Australia 37 16 4225 44.94 78.09 05
3. South Africa 27 13 3248 41.11 85.58 04
4. Sri Lanka 45 17 4584 37.57 77.87 04
5. England 40 16 3830 32.18 78.90 03
6. Bangladesh 40 13 3917 31.84 74.39 04
7. Pakistan 43 16 3888 31.10 72.87 02
8. West Indies 36 24 3121 29.44 73.73 02
9. New Zealand 30 18 2420 26.59 73.89 02
Not long ago, when Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf, Younis Khan and Shoaib Malik were in harness, Pakistan’s middle-order batting average (38.23) was second only to Australia’s (47.13). Also their compilation of runs (6080) was only behind India (6731), who played 12 more matches than Pakistan during the period.
Middle-order Batsmen (No. 3, 4, 5, 6 positions) in ODI 2nd innings from 1st Jan 2004 to 1st Jan 2008
Team Matches Batsmen Runs Average Strike Rate 100s
1. Australia 46 17 4195 47.13 77.91 03
2. Pakistan 51 16 6080 38.23 76.31 04
3. Sri Lanka 38 18 3508 37.72 73.83 02
4. India 63 19 6731 35.61 77.98 05
5. South Africa 51 21 4687 34.71 76.22 03
6. England 48 17 4633 33.33 75.87 03
7. New Zealand 47 17 4374 33.13 77.21 06
8. West Indies 55 18 5342 31.98 75.26 04
9. Bangladesh 41 16 3339 27.14 68.78 01
The remarkable aspect of Pakistan’s successful run chases during Inzamam’s tenure was that they didn’t rely on one batsman, everyone chipped in his own way. Yousuf and Younis could build in the middle and later duties were fulfilled by Inzi himself and Malik. At this stage of his career, Malik had a double role – batting at one down if the situation required or coming in as a dasher later in the order.

Five Pakistan batsmen had 500-plus runs in successful run chases between January 2004 and January 2008. All with dandy averages.

Pakistan batsmen in 2nd innings of matches won From 1st Jan ’04 to 1st Jan ’08 [Qualification: 500 runs]
Name Innings Not out Runs Average HS S. Rate 100s 50s
1. Inzamam-ul-Haq 18 08 644 64.40 76* 83.31 0 4
2. Mohammad Yousuf 25 09 971 60.68 107* 65.87 1 7
3. Salman Butt 14 01 531 40.84 108* 73.64 2 1
4. Shoaib Malik 27 05 897 40.77 90 83.59 0 7
5. Younis Khan 19 03 620 38.75 117 77.79 2 3
Then Inzamam retired, Yousuf couldn’t carry on as regular in the team basis due to his off-field issues with board, while Malik failed to build on his reputation. Younis is still facing a slump in limited-over form.

Now, Misbah-ul-Haq has an average of 110.00 in winning causes, which is one of the best in the world during this period. Only MS Dhoni and Michael Clarke are come close. But one crucial factor is his strike rate (68.60), which gives a doesn’t help his numbers too much. But then Mohammad Yousuf (65.87), as mentioned in the previous table, had an even worst strike rate than Misbah’s.

This is most likely due to the lack of support given on the crease to Misbah, who is playing the role of a Yousuf. Yousuf, however, had Inzamam and Malik for company to speed things up in the latter stages of the chase.

Since 2009, only two of the Pakistan batsmen have reached 500-plus runs in successful run chases. Hafeez has 578 runs, out of which 340 runs came against Zimbabwe and West Indies, his performance against tougher oppositions is still a concern.

Pakistan batsmen in 2nd innings of matches won since January 2009 [Qualification: 500 runs minimum]
Name Innings Not out Runs Average HS S. Rate 100s 50s
1. Misbah-ul-Haq 16 10 660 110.00 93* 68.60 0 6
2. Mohammad Hafeez 18 02 578 36.12 139* 76.55 1 3
Over the period where their batsmen have struggled, Pakistan’s bowling has provided the ‘wow’ factor.

Since 2009, Pakistan boasts the best economy rate in first innings among top ODI teams. Also their average (30.65) comes only behind New Zealand and Australia. The economy of 4.73 signifies that on average, Pakistan restricts teams to under 240 [4.73 multiply by 50 overs is equal to 237]. This 240, unfortunately, is too much for their batting.

Economy Rates in 1st innings of ODI Cricket since 1st January, 2009.
Team Bowlers Overs Maidens Wickets Runs Average Economy
1. Pakistan 45 2006.5 108 310 9503 30.65 4.73
2. New Zealand 36 1451.5 74 236 7074 29.97 4.87
3. Australia 41 1790.2 72 299 8805 29.44 4.91
4. West Indies 48 1684.2 76 271 8318 30.69 4.93
5. Bangladesh 31 1869.3 101 300 9267 30.89 4.95
6. England 40 1924.1 75 293 9807 33.47 5.09
7. South Africa 30 1295.3 56 205 6651 32.44 5.13
8. Sri Lanka 34 2202.5 81 326 11363 34.85 5.15
9. India 42 2742.2 126 390 14205 36.42 5.17

Mazher Arshad is a Cricket buff based in Islamabad who considers watching Cricket and giving insights of it as his foremost priority on social media. He tweets @cricket_U

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.


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The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (36) Closed

Mustafa Jun 17, 2012 04:50am
PCB! please get Yousaf back in the team for 2 to 3 years. This will give a big boost to our batting line up.
Azeem Khan Jun 15, 2012 07:39pm
please mazhar bro give us solution how they can change there middle order they are not afaired in dis so please u first of all please come live channels and grow this upportunity i always Agree wid u best of luck Mzhar bhai u r the jenious writter and always be happy
Mudassar Salim Jun 15, 2012 07:14pm
So People those hate Misbah are doing shit they still like M.Yousuf to be the best batsman ever came in the Pakistan team but they didn't know that a best player is also exist in our team who is just M.Yousuf. After reading this article i gotta an extra like for Misbah..Yeah sure that he's not good for t20 cricket because of his strike rate but if u see the matches in which the players who scored a best opening partnership and did the best partnerships Misbah also support them. he was totally different in those days his strike rate was Good . But after he getting captaincy he got an extra responsibly for his Team to be the captain and to be the best middle order batsman and to be best average batsman and to keep supporting his team ...He knew that now my team has no batsman that supports his team and if they are ..they are quick and cannot do best and maintain best averages thats why he Play a slow game with his strike rate of 60-80 ..Hey people Please don't Dislike him because either him our team would be collapse no batsman would alive that can stay till the end and a best average man ...You know what He is the one that he had made the middle order strength ..Please Don't Disappoint him ..
Usama Bin Salam Jun 15, 2012 05:53pm
Inzamam made 122 against India at Multan while chasing of target 350 on 13th March 2004 but u forgot to post it !!! Otherwise well job
arslan Jun 15, 2012 05:35pm
well i think the reason behind the failure of our middle order is the issues of board and the players ..... I mean why they don't groom young players under experience players .... when inzi and yousaf was playing they have groom a young player shoaib,as you said he has a double role ... but when both the experience player were gone and the responsibility has come to sohaib but at the time he was not in his good form and you just throw him a side line from the team, you must given him chance to prove him but not so long.... and other thing you see that we have a good player in the form of umer akmal but he just score 30 to 40 runs.... not much of that ... but on the other hand you see kholi is outstanding and also candimal average in chasing is above 45 ..... as per my experience the solution of that situation is this bring asad or shoaib in middle order, kamram as a keeper batsman and there must b hamad azam in the team how can finish thing in a fly
Daniyal Jun 15, 2012 05:29pm
Sir Mohammad Yousuf <3 the best ever.....
Jawwad Jun 15, 2012 03:24pm
Mental weakness, lack in self belief leads to such failures, nothing more.
Imran Jun 15, 2012 03:25pm
It shows that after 2008, pakistan openers & middle orders have not improved and that is the real cause of pakistan's below par performance. And I strongly agree that Misbah ul Haq lacks the support from other end which, in past, inzamam got in the shape of yousuf, s.malik & younis. Hope for the best. Thanks Mazhar Bresnan !!!!!!
fadi Jun 15, 2012 03:27pm
well done keep it up bro!
Usama Noman Jun 15, 2012 02:06pm
Mazhar bhai you are always the best writer and my suggestion is to write for some news papers on daily basis because audience needs you neutrals status on the larger scale now.
ezem Jun 16, 2012 02:07pm
very well written article...
@YouTeeee Jun 17, 2012 01:44pm
Good Work Mazher Bro :) keep it up...... really like it :)
Ahmed Jun 16, 2012 12:21pm
Its simple, Inzi was the last all round batting act that our cricket produced. Yousuf could have been there but for his greed. Younus, as correctly pointed is top in test cricket only. The current lot, including much talked about Umar Akmal are just moderately talented players with no will or mental strength to be truly successful at the top level. Pakistani batting is useless.
Ali Jawad Hussain Jun 15, 2012 02:01pm
Wonderful wonderful analysis. Great work. well done Mr.
Mazher Arshad Jun 16, 2012 11:08am
Thanks all to appreciate the work on this article :)
Khan Jun 17, 2012 06:31am
Younus is a finished product......he cant accelerate the run rate, he'll block and block and then take a single.His strike rate is horrible. Sooner he left the better it would be for Pakistan.
@damansnet Jun 17, 2012 06:08am
Apart from W/L ratio why don't you make out the W/L ratio for Shahid Afridi. It is high time now to look for other options. He is there in the team from ages and still he cannot help Pakistan to win from the situation like.. 78 needed from 76 balls. He should show some grit. Shoaib Malik is good replacement. He bowls well and is good batsman above all is good thinker of the game. High time for team management and selectors to think ...
Kos Jun 17, 2012 08:46pm
Misbah is the only one who understands the match situation and plays accordingly he does not get support from other middle order batsmen. Once he got out the rest overrated stars like Umer Akmal and Afrid vanished Afridi is a lost cause and Abdur Rahman is a better bowler then him and he should replace Afridi in the last game.
Usman Jun 15, 2012 03:12pm
You did good pointing out the issue. Pakistan's middle order has been in crisis since the Inzamam's retirement as evidenced by your article. However, you have not written anything about the solutions. Can't we prepare the batsmen like Umar Akmal, Asad Shafiq and Muhammad Hafeez as the replacements of Inzamam, Yousuf and Malik. Certainly we can, but how? No body seems to care about this. Also during the last couple of years, there have been many new faces but unfortunately, no one was a middle order batsman. In fact, most of them were bowlers (Muhammad Junaid, Rahat Ali, Aizaz Cheema), wicketkeepers (Shakeel Ansar, ZulQarnain), openers or all rounders. So why don't we find talent like Inzamam and Yousuf!
Hamood Rahman Jun 15, 2012 01:51pm
Good work bro..
Amjed Jun 16, 2012 01:07am
Good analysis, keep it up..........
Turen Jun 16, 2012 02:48am
very good research. I suggest some expansion. The statistics doesn't reflect the home-away advantages and disadvantages (mainly due to different pitch types) for pak. Normalize the data by counting how many matches were played and won in away compared to how many were played and won at home. Similar statistics should be done for the lost matches or ties. Then calculate W/L ratio. I believe that will reflect the true status.
Muhammad Sajid Jun 16, 2012 02:51am
Well done.....
Adnan Jun 16, 2012 03:32am
good work
Adnan Jun 16, 2012 03:41am
I think ODI team should be: 1.Nasir 2.Ahmad Shahzad 3.Hafeez 4.Asad Shafiq 5.Hammad Azam 6.Umer Akmal 7.Adnan Akmal 8.Afridi 9.Wahab Riaz 10.Umer Gull 11.Saeed Ajmal 12.Abdul Razak 13.Aizaz Cheema 14.Kamran Akmal 15. M Sami Test Teams 1.Taufeeq Umer 2. M Hafeez 3.Azhar Ali 4. Younas 5. Misba 6.Asad Shafiq 7.Adnan Akmal 8.Umer Gull 9.Wahab Riaz 10.Aizaz Cheema 11.Saeed Ajmal 12. Junaid Khan 13.Umer Akmal 14. Abdul Rehman 15.Nasir Jamshed T 20 Team 1. Imran Nazir 2. Nasir Jamshed 3.Ahmed Shahzad 4.Hafeez 5.Abdul Razak 6.Afridi 7.Hammad Azam 8.Umar Akmal 9.Kamran Akmal 10. Umer Gull 11.Saeed Ajmal 12.Wahab Riaz 13.Aizaz Cheema 14.Abdul Rehman 15.Sohail Tanvir/M Sami
dream Jun 16, 2012 03:55am
pakistan have this problm from the start that they cannot chase easily ..dont knows why it happens like this may be lack of confidence , or by their carelessnss but still we pray that they can do chase
ADe Jun 16, 2012 06:23am
The best modern batting & bowling analysis of Pakistani team Excellent work bro keep it up
babar Jun 16, 2012 07:45am
asad shafiq good player plz regular playing and every match.
Ammar Abdul Rahim Jun 16, 2012 08:23am
Amazing Facts and figures... love the research.. Keep it Up Mazhar Bro.. :) (y)
Cricket Dude Jun 16, 2012 08:29am
Great write brother. Yes, Pakistan is having trouble with the middle order since Inzaman Ul Haq retired and Mohammad Yousuf was kept aside. The current situation you see is again trouble placing batsmen on the proper order.
shahzad ali Jun 16, 2012 08:37am
good work bro
akif Jun 16, 2012 07:01pm
excellent work bro.i totally agree with you.inzi was great player and captain.but now i can see that thing in mohammad azhar you observe he has that habbit of staying on the wicket and understands the game well.we need to polish him even asad shafiq looks like a good middle order player but need to polish them
@YouTeeee Jun 17, 2012 01:43pm
your team is good but u missed Shoiab malik else it's good :)
Imran Jun 18, 2012 08:03am
There's one thing the author is missing BIG TIME i.e. how many matches did Pakistan play at their home grounds since March'2009? The answer is NONE, so at least put this factor in your analysis
Aqeel Jun 20, 2012 11:49am
the chances younis is getting in the middle order are enough now. he should get rest now for few games and get yousuf in.... i am sure he is a class act-- he will prove his position in his late 30's. He is still a champ and better than Younis, Misbah and Afridi.
nafaiz Jun 24, 2012 05:39pm
good work ... now the problem with the team is with the position of an allrounder.. both afridi and hafeez cant be in the same team.. both of them are not allrounders.... afridi a bowler who can bat a bit ( same for hafeez as well) hafeez came into the side after they lost butt to fixing in 2009... from then he has scored max. runs against minnows... having them two can be replaced by having shoaib malik and azam in the team as the teams middle order is shaky ( both azam and malik are batsmen who can bowl a bit),,, my team for the odis would be 1. nasir jamshed (can polish him to recover anwar's absence) 2. kamran akmal (when sarfraz can miss catches and cannot bat i think kamran a better option) 3. shoaib malik 4. azhar ali 5. misbah 6. yousuf / asad 7. hammad azam 8. hafeez/afridi (for their bowling) 9 ajmal 10 one left arm fast (who can swing both ways and take wickets) 11 one right arm fast(same swing and take wickets)