As I watched India (barely) successfully chase 225 with 3 wickets to spare against West Indies on Saturday, it seemed that a pattern had emerged. This match resembled many Indian chases in recent times, where it would appear the batting line-up failed, but it would still be a successful chase because they bat so deep.
So I went over their recent record in seven consecutive successful chases since the World Cup began:
- India v. Ireland (World Cup): Ireland scored 207 batting first. India’s chase seemed to falter, wickets fell regularly (100 for 4), but runs kept coming as India won with 4 overs and 5 wickets to spare. (scoreboard)
- India v. the Netherlands (World Cup): The Netherlands scored 189 batting first. India’s chase again seemed to falter, wickets fell regularly (139 for 5), but they won by 5 wickets with 13.3. overs to spare. (scoreboard)
- India v. Australia (World Cup): In the quarter-finals, Australia scored 260 batting first. India’s lost wickets regularly (167 for 5), but kept the scoring rate up and ultimately chased it down with 5 wickets and 3 overs to spare. (scoreboard)
- India v. Sri Lanka (World Cup): In the finals, Sri Lanka scored 274 batting first. India lost their openers cheaply, but kept the scoring rate up to win by 6 wickets with 10 balls to spare. (scoreboard)
- India v. West Indies, 1st ODI: West Indies score 214 batting first. India lose wickets regularly, but bat deep to chase it down with 4 wickets and 3 overs to spare. (scoreboard)
- India v. West Indies, 2nd ODI: This one doesn’t fit the mold. West Indies score 240, and in a rain-shortened match, Virat Kohli and Parthiv Patel make it look easy, winning with 7 wickets to spare. (scoreboard)
- India v. West Indies, 3rd ODI: Chasing 225, India lose wickets in a heap (92 for 6), but Rohit Sharma, Harbhajan Singh and some late hitting by Praveen Kumar rescue them. India wins by 3 wickets with 3.4 overs to spare. (scoreboard)
A few obvious notes to make:
- None of these chases would have been possible without great bowling upfront to restrict the opposition.
- India bats very, very deep.
- The key seems to be that even as wickets fell, the scoring rate didn’t drop in these games. The asking rate was never too imposing for the new batsmen.
- This style of chasing seems inspired by T20. Many short quick innings, instead of a couple of long, deliberate ones.
- I started the list after the South Africa series. India chased poorly against South Africa.