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India surpasses Australia for most 300 plus scores

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It is heartening to note that India surpassed Australia as the top team to score the most triple hundred totals in One Day internationals. We have fond memories of chasing 300 plus totals in the past. In the  NatWest final against England at Lord’s, Team India under Sourav Ganguly chased down a target of 326 with three balls to spare. After being 5 down for 146 we made it big with a facile win and created a stir at the Mecca of Cricket. In the Silver Jubilee Independence Cup at Dhaka under Mohammad Azharuddin’s captaincy Indian Team surpassed 314 total made by Pakistan with a ball to spare in falling light as Kanitkar scored the winning runs.

The recent score of 310 for 5 in 43 runs is an unique one and India have 96 scores of 300 plus and out of those we could win 75 games and that was 78.1% which is just lower than what South Africa, Australia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have achieved. In the Champion Trophy final 2017 Pakistan scored 338 runs and we could not match them and reach even 300 instead we were bundled for 158. Leaving the records apart we should be able to have a vice like grip on the opponent and play the game on merit. Apart from this, Team India won 16 games on the trot chasing when Greg Chappell was the coach under Rahul Dravid’s leadership.

No target is tall enough for a ODI side like Team India with strong batting line up till number nine and that is a boon to the cricket talent in the country. Incidentally, India’s first score of 300 plus in the short format came in the year 1996 at Sharjah against arch rivals Pakistan.  But the most memorable one was against Sri Lanka at Taunton in 1999 when Sachin Tendulkar rejoined the team after his father’s death and scored a ton. In the year 2017, ODIs have seen mammoth totals being posted for a while now, the series between India and England produced a couple of matches in which the chasing team posted scores in excess of 350 runs. After India chased down a target of 351 in the first ODI, England fell just 16 runs short of 382 in the second. No too long ago there was another match in which South Africa chased down a target of 372, against Australia in Durban.

Top ODI teams have successfully chased down targets of 300-plus ten times out of 37 since July 2015. There was only one such successful chase in 14 innings in the 2015 World Cup – a series in which the odds favoured batsmen, with flat tracks adding to the then existing fielding regulations. Only three fielders were allowed outside the 30-yard circle during five overs of batting Powerplay, and only four were allowed in the last ten slog overs. Admittedly, however, it would be unfair to consider the World Cup matches for comparison, since the pressure of the big stage would only worsen the chances for teams chasing such big totals. But even in the period from October 2012 – when the previous fielding restrictions were introduced and that too just before the World Cup, teams chasing such targets only won or tied in nine out of 53 attempts. So you cannot fancy 300 plus totals and take it for granted that the victory is assured.

South Africa scored 438 for 9 to achieve an upset win over Australia in the year 2006 at Johannesburg. H. Gibbs scored a big hundred and proved that nothing is impossible in one day cricket. Sri Lanka scored 411 for 8 at Rajkot against India and still lost a close game. In one day cricket it is anybody’s game. Even a thick edge down to third man can change the course of the game suddenly. Thus no one day match is won or lost until the last ball is bowled and even a score of 300 plus may not guarantee you victory.

Nickhil Mani

(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)

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