XI chases against the Aussies that hurt the most

12/4/09 in Cricket   |   gwadineeraj   |   99 respect

Generally dubbed as bad chasers, the fact is that India have won 38 more matches than they have lost while chasing which is almost 10% of the matches that they have chased. But when it comes to chasing against Australia, the figures get reversed by a significant margin. They have lost twice the number of games they have won. It is very much tempting to say nothing could get worse than the recent loss but the two World Cup losses of 1987 and 1992 still come to mind not to mention the breathtaking partnership between Bhajji and Praveen in the first game of the series getting the team to the brink of victory. A briefing of the XI chases that hurt me the most:

10) 4th ODI at Mohali in Nov 2009: Requiring 109 off 120 with 6 wkts in hand, India lost 4/59 off 11 to leave it impossible for the tail as they were all out with 20 balls to go and lost by 24. Tendulkar was adjudged lbw when the ball was missing the fifth stump and that proved to be the turning point as the team failed to get a hat-trick of wins.

Sachin top-scored with 40 and the next best was Harbhajan at number 8 with 31. Australia scored 250 and India managed 226.

9) TVS Cup final at Eden Gardens in Nov 2003: India were comfortably placed requiring 77 off 16 overs with 6 wickets in hand, with Badani and Dravid having a 49 run partnership. This was after they were in a spot of bother at 110 for 4. However, they were all out in the next 8 overs thanks to Clarke's twin strike to get rid of both Badani and Dravid and Harvey's excellent second spell accounting for the tail. It was frustrating as 8 overs were left and yet another final was lost.

Dravid top-scored with 49 and Sachin was next with 45. Australia scored 235 and India could manage only 198.

8) World Cup group match in Mumbai in Feb 1996: Requiring 58 at run a ball with 5 wkts in hand and Mongia and Manjrekar having a 54 run partnership, India lost by 16 runs with 2 full overs to go. Both Mongia and Manjrekar departed within 4 runs leaving it hard for the tail. Tendulkar treated his home crowd with a magnificient 90 beofre Man of the Match Mark Waugh had him stumped off a leg-side wide.

Sachin top-scored with 90 off 84 and Manjrekar was next with 62 off 91. Australia scored 258 and India managed 242.

7) Rothmans triangular cup group match in March 1990: Requiring 34 off 9 with 4 wkts in hand, and Kapil and Prabhakar going steady with a 44-run partnership, India lost their way by 18 runs with 5 overs remaining. They were in a spot of bother with 6 for 110 but the all-rounders Kapil and Prabhakar got them close only to lose their wickets with some poor shots in a space of 1 run.

Vengsarkar top-scored with 35 off 56 and Kapil was next with 27 off 31. Australia scored 188 and India were bundled out for 169.

6) DLF cup 6th in Sep 2006: Requiring 58 off 14 overs with 5 wkts in hand, and 29 off 62 balls with 3 wkts in hand, India lost by 18 runs with Dinesh Mongia stranded without partners. It was pretty much a semi-final kind of contest with the winner making it to the finals and chasing only 213 seemed a herculean task for the Indians in spite of composed innings from Mongia coming to the team after 17 months. To add salt to the injury, 37 balls still remained in the chase as the Indians were all out.

Mongia top-scored with 63 and the next best contribution was by the Aussies in the form of 27 extras. Australia scored 213 and India replied with 195.

5) VB series 1st match at Melbourne in Jan 2004: 32 were required off 26 with 6 in hand but India collapsed losing 6 wickets for 13 off 20 balls. Harvey picked up Yuvraj to break the 62-run partnership between Ganguly and Yuvraj and later accounted for Ganguly with a run out and then picked up Bangar.

Ganguly top-scored with 83 and Sachin was next with 63. Australia scored 288 and India chased brilliantly until the collapse and managed 270.

4) 1st ODI at Vadodara in Oct 2009: 92 were required off 61 with just 3 wickets remaining when Harbhajan and Praveen got the team to as close as they could get. With 8 required off the last 5, Harbhajan was bowled by Siddle and India lost by 4. India had lost a crucial 4 wickets off 34 balls for just 34 runs in the 35th to 40th over and that seemed to be the turning point in the game but Harbhajan and Praveen had different plans.

Gambhir top-scored with 68 and Harbhajan and number 8 contributed 49. Australia scored 292 and India replied with 288. Had the target been achieved, this could have been one of the best partnerships by the lower order to secure an improbable win.

3) Benson and Hedges World series 2nd final: Requiring 88 off 68, India came as close as 6 runs short thanks to a late burst off 42 off 24 from Sachin and 22 off 17 from Amre. Requiring run a ball with 3 overs to go and 5 wickets in hand, Tendulkar was brilliantly caught by Whitney off Steve Waugh and Amre was the next to go within 5 runs. Pandit and Prabhakar succumbed to the pressure scoring just 9 off 14 balls.

Sachin top scored with 69 and Shastri was next with 61 with an injured knee.

2) World Cup 12th match at Gabba in March 1992: A target of 238 off 50 was reduced to 236 off 47 thanks to the tournament's rain rule. Requring 13 off the last over, More stuck 2 fours to get the equation to 5 off 4 before he was bowled by Moody. Requiring 3 to tie off the last ball, Raju was run out taking the third thanks to a brilliant piece of fielding by Steve Waugh and not so fast running by Raju.

Azhar top-scored with 93 and MAnjrekar scored a brilliant 47 off 42 before he was run out.

1) World Cup 3rd match at Chepauk in Oct 1987: India needed 15 off the last 4 with 4 wkts in hand and 6 off the last over with Maninder facing. He scored 2 twos before his stump was knocked off by Steve Waugh with 2 off 2. India were 207 for just 2 wickets at one stage thanks to a superlative batting effort by Sunny, Srikanth and Sidhu and this game could easily be the master of all chokes in the list.

Sidhu top-scored with 73 followed by Srikanth with 70. Australia scored 270 while India got to 269.

0) 5th ODI at Hyderabad in Nov 2009: 19 off 18 with 4 wickets in hand with Jadeja and Sachin in a middle of a decent 33 run partnership when Sachin premeditates to paddle sweep the first ball of McKay only to give a dolly to Hauritz at short fine leg. The game was not yet over with Jadeja well set and Praveen Kumar the new batsman who had just scored an unbeaten 40 couple of games earlier. However, Jadeja gets run out backing up too much and Nehra chips in to long on before Praveen Kumar falls short by a frame thanks to a brilliant throw from long off right on top of the bails.

Sachin scored a brilliant 175 followed by Raina's run-a-ball 59. Australia scored 350 and India managed 347.

It is very sad that 3 of the matches in the list are from the current series (hope none of the remaining 2 get added to it) which is exactly the number of matches the Indians have lost in the series indicating how closely fought the series has been.

Another sad aspect is the fact that we didn't even last the full 50 overs in half of the innings and had we lasted, the target could have been achieved. This is one of the prime reasons the Indian team is branded as bad chasers in spite of a not so bad record.

Also, of the 11 innings, Sachin played in 9, did not contribute enough in 3, top-scored in 4 and was the second-highest scorer in 2. A fraction more effort from the team could have made the win-loss ratio 1:1.

P.S: IMHO, the 175 of Sachin marginally beats the 175 of Gibbs in being the best ever knock in ODI history in spite of the facts that the target was 84 runs lesser than when South Africans chased, Gibbs getting the same number of runs in 30 balls lesser and South Africa puling off a remarkable win. Three significant factors that go in Sachin's favor is the fact that he lasted 47 overs, almost till the game was through as opposed to Gibbs when he was out with 135 runs still needed at 7.5 an over, his effort was more single-handed compared to that of Gibbs' (the next best was 90 by Smith in around 50 balls in that case whereas it was 59 off 59 by Raina) and India kept losing wickets regularly which could have really upset the momentum of the chase. Although, off the topic, I felt the innings needed a special mention.
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