A successful England run chase – but it never would have lasted

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Here’s a joke for you: What do a 35-over a side game in Habantota and a 50-over match in New Zealand or Australia have in common?

Pretty funny, eh?

In the third match of this series, Sri Lanka were positively blown away by England’s tactic of randomly selecting a load of seamers and sacrificing a decent top order batsman who isn’t Alastair Cook. There was also a counterargument to our assertion that Alex Hales and Moeen Ali would constitute a great opening partnership when the two revealed a worrying inability to remain at opposite ends. Boundaries only please, lads.

And boundaries only for Jos Buttler as well. Joe Root’s non-dismissal off a no-ball seemed to precipitate a fourvalanche from the softly spoken pseudo-wicketkeeper (who actually hasn’t done too much wrong behind the stumps).

England’s lower order sloggery has never really been the problem though. Getting into a position where sloggery can be executed has been the problem and you could argue that a 35-over game sees the removal of the 15-overs of nurdlesome proactivity during which England’s batsmen traditionally like to perform seppuku.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. I stopped following things after the 3-4-5 collapse, on the assumption that this was a normal England ODI unfolding. Refreshed the page a bit later, and couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing. What? England did a win? Unpossible!

    Agreed with Deets, though. England aren’t going to win the World Cup, so we may as well be happy when they do win an ODI, rain-shortened and in the jungle or not.

    1. Or we could be angry because they dropped I.Ron and kept Captain Clueless who forgot how many overs he had to bowl.

      Heh. Turns out I’m more upset when we win an ODI.

    2. God forbid that Leicestershire should ever become good, daneel! In fact, he may already have done so.

    3. Return to their deserved place at the pinnacle of English cricket, you mean?

      No chance of that.

      Hell, even the rugby side is crap right now.

      But we’ve still got Richard III, so in your face, Yorkshire.

  2. given that this is an intellectual blog, can someone like Bert explain why a team who scored 242 off 35 overs should have the target reduced to 232? I would just like to understand how Duckworth and Lewis reached these conclusions. Proofs that involve multi-sigmasoidal function expansions or isogonal varianes do not count. On the other hand, did it make any sense to any other casual cricket watchers?

    1. I believe it was because of the early wicket that SL lost.

      Does it make sense? Not really. Has that ever had any bearing on the relentless march of mathematics? Not really.

    2. I think the wicket shouldn’t have made the difference. Maybe it had something to do with reduced powerplay overs?

    3. The difference between 242 and 232 is 10. Right? Hold that number in your head. Now take the difference between the proper number of overs (50) and the actual number of overs (35). That difference is also roughly 10. That can’t be a coincidence, can it, so therefore dividing both sides by 7 will give the required correction coefficient lambda. Remember, you must get your parents’ permission before doing this last step.

  3. “Balladeer // December 3rd, 2014 at 22:31

    I believe it was because of the early wicket that SL lost. ”

    I hve seen this on various sites. Why should that make any difference? Please tell me. Why did England not have to score the same number of runs in the same number of overs as Sri Lanka? Is that such a hard question?

    1. The only way this would make sense is if the rain had come after SL had lost a wicket. The impact on the batting side of losing an early wicket is lower in a 35-over game than in a 50-over game, thus SL were helped slightly by the rain, thus England’s target was lowered.

      If they hadn’t lost a wicket, losing overs would have hurt them, and therefore the target would have been raised.

      It kind of makes sense, a little bit, and it’s better than every other rain rule there is. Apart from what baseball does, which is “play the dang game no matter how long it takes”.

    2. Exactly right. The rain came when Sri Lanka was 6/1 off 2 overs.

      At that juncture, England might be deemed to have been a tiny bit ahead given Sri Lanka’s low scoring rate and the fact that they had already lost a wicket. Losing 15 overs at that juncture is therefore deemed to be to England’s disadvantage and the target reduced.

      The formulae applied for Duckworth Lewis are in the public domain and work better than any other method that has been used in professional cricket.


      There are other methods that kinda work, but all of those are based on formulae taking “resources” (i.e. a blend of wickets and overs) into account, so they are variations on the same basic idea.

  4. Fourvalanche is such a nice word. Does anyone here know how one sneaks words into the dictionary? Is there a dictionary-man that we have to talk to? Does dictionary-man have super powers?

    1. The New Yorker occasionally has a blitz on portmanteau words, Deep Cower. Here is one example of such an article:


      In one earlier incarnation of that article, I literally laughed out loud at the definition of the portmanteau word ignoranus – someone who is both an imbecile and an asshole. Sadly, I have cause to think of this word rather too often in real life. Happily, not so around here amongst the King Cricket crowd.

    1. As somebody put in Cricinfo, “the second most out-of-form batsman hands over the captaincy to the most out-of-form batsman”.

    2. How can someone from the right sort of family even do such a thing? It’s just not possible. No, what must have happened is that Cook did so much moving during the day that time became expanded for him relative to the stationary David Boon. So while on Boon’s watch Cook was ten minutes late, on Cook’s watch he was a polite minute early.

  5. fourvalanche

    are you using this series to warm up for the world cup in your own way, that is, come up with as many ODI-related neologisms as possible in attempt to get some into common parlance by February

    1. Not consciously, although your saying that does make us realise that one of our earliest coinings – ‘innocuoso’ – is perfectly suited to James Tredwell.

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