The One-Day International cricket has seen a lot of changes over the decades and many new-age rules have been adopted since the start of the 21st century. The importance of chasing increased with the frequency of successful chases rising globally. Even huge targets of 350+ have been chased down in recent times which was considered to be a winning score even 15-20 years ago.
The modern-day matches saw the chasing team winning even from toughest of positions. However, there are few occasions when the team chasing fell a couple of runs short despite being in the best situations even until the penultimate ball of the innings.
Here we look 5 best instances in the 21st century ODIs where the chasing team lost from a winning position:
5. Australia vs Sri Lanka in Dambulla, 2004
Australia’s tour of Sri Lanka began with an 84-run win in the first game of 5-match ODI series. However, in the 2nd ODI, Sri Lanka made a good start with each of their top four scoring over 37 runs. The Lankans were placed at 192/2 in the 38th over but lost their remaining 8 wickets for only 53 runs. Chasing a target of 246, Australia decided to open the innings with Michael Clarke by pushing Adam Gilchrist to the middle-order after the wicketkeeper top-scored in the first match with a 64-ball 66.
Clarke, however, got out on the 3rd ball of the chase before Australia scored their first run. But Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting added 148 for the 2nd wicket in little over 30 overs. Australia’s total read 148/1 after 31 overs and was only 98 runs away from taking 2-0 lead. From a solid position, the Aussies slipped to 192/5 by 42nd over as they lost 4 wickets for 44 runs in 62 balls. Australia were still on the top as they needed 54 from 52 balls with Andrew Symonds and Michael Bevan at the crease.
The duo tried to ensure they remained unbeaten till the end as they kept rotating the strike. A six by Bevan in the penultimate over off Muttiah Muralitharan brought down the equation to 8 runs from the last over. Chaminda Vaas bowled tight lines as only three runs came from the first five balls with the 3rd and 4th balls of the over to Symonds being dot balls. Australia could only get 3 runs on the final ball when five runs were needed and lost the game by 1 run; the narrowest loss in an ODI for the chasing team despite losing only 5 wickets.
4. India vs England in Mumbai, 2002
The 6-match ODI series between India and England in 2002 was set to conclude at the Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium. India was leading the series by 3-2 margin and to win the series, they needed to ensure they didn’t lose the match. England, who batted first, got off to a great start with Marcus Trescothick scoring an 80-ball 95. The visitors were 153/2 after 22 overs but Harbhajan Singh’s 5-wicket haul saw England getting bowled out for 255 in 49.1 overs having lost their last 8 wickets for 102 runs.
India got off to a solid start as they were two down for 88 in only 13 overs. Captain Sourav Ganguly took the responsibility of the chase as he put on 67 for the 3rd wicket with Dinesh Mongia. He got out smashing 4 fours and 4 sixes during his 99-ball 80. The home team were still 65 runs away from a win when Ganguly was dismissed as the 4th wicket of the Indian run chase with 13.1 overs to go.
Mohammad Kaif got out at the end of 40th over leaving India to score 50 from the last 10 overs with 5 wickets in hand. India were still favourites to win the match with Hemang Badani at the crease and the required rate being only 5. But Ajay Ratra and Ajit Agarkar got out in the 45th and 46th over respectively denting India who still needed 32 from 28 balls. Harbhajan Singh returned to the pavilion as well and the equation came down to 18 from 2 overs.
Badani and Anil Kumble added 12 runs from the next 9 balls as India continued their fight. Kumble was run out at the striker’s end while trying to sneak in a bye on the 4th ball while Javagal Srinath was cleaned up with Andrew Flintoff on the penultimate delivery. Thus, England won the game by 5 runs and drew the series by 3-3 margin. Indian media carried the tags of “chokers” following the Mumbai defeat as the Indian team missed the chance of winning the series in the previous game itself.
Chasing 272 to win in Delhi, India was firmly placed at 211/3 after 40 overs. But they lost 5 wickets for 28 runs in the 37 balls and were left to score 32 runs from 23 balls with only two wickets in hand. Ajit Agarkar tried his best and brought the equation down to 9 runs from the last over but only got 6 runs. Flintoff ran across Wankhede removing his jersey after sealing a close win. This very incident was the base for Ganguly’s shirtless celebrations during the NatWest Tri-series victory later in the Lord’s balcony.
3. South Africa vs Pakistan in Port Elizabeth, 2013
Pakistan were 1-0 up during the 3-match ODI series in South Africa during November 2013. The two sides clashed at the St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth with the hosts being in a do-or-die situation. A delayed start reduced the game to 45 overs each. Ahmed Shehzad stepped up for the visitors with a 112-ball 102 as Pakistan were bowled out for 262 in the restricted overs. The required rate at the start of the chase was close to 6 runs but South Africa was going around 4.5 runs an over until the 26th over.
Quinton de Kock scored a 52-ball 47 but Hashim Amla scored only 57 off 83 balls when he was accompanied by AB de Villiers who came to bat at No.5 position. South Africa, at a stage, needed 99 from 66 balls. But from there on, the hosts yielded 64 runs in the next 27 balls as De Villiers alone scored 44 off 18 balls in that period. He fell after scoring a quick 74 from 45 balls leaving the Proteas to chase 36 from 38 balls. Things became easy for the hosts after ABD’s blitz who were needing only 11 runs from last two overs.
Saeed Ajmal bowled the penultimate over and conceded only two runs on the first three balls. The next three didn’t fetch a run as Hashim Amla failed to find the gap on back to back deliveries before miscuing one to the deep fielder when on 98. JP Duminy was dismissed on the 2nd ball of the final over bowled by Junaid Khan. The left-arm pacer let the home team score only two runs in the next 3 balls. He wrapped the game conceding 4 leg-byes when six runs were needed as South Africa lost the game by one run and also lost the ODI series.
2. Pakistan vs South Africa in Sharjah, 2013
South Africa got off to a mixed start in their UAE tour in 2013 as they drew the 2-match Test series 1-1. It was followed by a 5-match ODI series to which the South Africans didn’t mark best of the starts with the bat. In the first ODI at the Sharjah stadium, the visitors were 86/6 by 27th over but managed to reach 183 thanks to a fifty from Wayne Parnell (56 off 70). Ahmed Shehzad’s 58 put Pakistan in a strong position as he shared key partnerships with Mohammad Hafeez (28) and Misbah-ul-Haq (31).
Pakistan stood 19 runs away from the win in the 41st over with six wickets in hand. Umar Amin (20) and Umar Akmal (18) were dismissed in successive overs on the same score giving an opening to South Africa to step back into the game. In the very next over, Sohail Tanvir was caught behind with 10 runs still to be scored. An over later, it was Shahid Afridi’s turn to do something foolish as he was holed to deep midwicket in Imran Tahir’s bowling.
In the same over, Wahab Riaz was trapped in front by the leg-spinner without scoring. Pakistan was left with only a wicket in hand but had to score 7 more runs in 6.1 overs. The last pair of Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Irfan showed no urgency as they added 5 runs in 15 balls. Morne Morkel finally got one to go through Irfan’s defence as the Proteas held on to a 1-run win. Pakistan went on to win the 2nd ODI but South Africa won the remaining three games to clinch the ODI series by 4-1 margin.
1. West Indies vs Australia in St Kitts, 2008
Australia lost the one-off T20I during the Caribbean tour in 2008 after winning the 3-match Test series by 2-0 margin. They bounced back in the ODI series by registering a hat-trick of wins to take a series-winning lead. The 4th ODI was hosted by Warner Park in Basseterre. Andrew Symonds (87 off 78) and David Hussey (50 off 51) powered the Aussies to 282/8 with help of their 127-run partnership for the 5th wicket. West Indies lost the wicket of Xavier Marshall in the very first over of the chase.
But their captain Chris Gayle put the West Indies in the hunt with a century partnership with Ramnaresh Sarwan. They added 137 runs for the 2nd wicket in only 23.1 overs before Sarwan got out scoring 63 from 79 balls. Gayle shared a 50-run stand in exactly 10 overs with Shivnarine Chanderpaul later. The West Indies skipper eventually got out in the 34th over at the score of 188/3. He scored run-a-ball 92 with ten fours and four sixes.
Dwayne Bravo played a crucial knock of 31 off 32 balls to take the team total to 247/4 in 43 overs. He and Chanderpaul added 59 runs for the 4th wicket in only 56 balls. West Indies further needed only 36 from 7 overs with plenty of handy batsmen to come. Brett Lee picked up his 3rd wicket of the innings by dismissing Shawn Findley in the 48th over. The hosts were pretty much in the driver seat at that point as they needed only 12 more runs in 16 balls.
Denesh Ramdin played out the remaining four balls of the Lee’s over while only 4 runs came in the penultimate 49th over bowled by Nathan Bracken. Chanderpaul was cleaned up on the last ball of the over while trying for a big heave. Shane Watson got the ball to defend 8 runs in the last over against the likes of Daren Sammy and Ramdin. The Australian all-rounder gave away only 1 run on all the six balls. As a result, the Caribbean team fell a run short of the visitors’ total.
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