Innings of the day: Marnus Labuschagne nrrdling 46 off 74 balls

Posted by
< 1 minute read

2023 World Cup, Game 10, Australia v South Africa

A familiar, weird and, in its own peculiar way, quite wonderful feature of World Cup group stage games is when a fundamentally beaten team sets itself the unambitious goal of making things slightly less awful. So it was that Marnus Labuschagne’s 46 off 74 balls became the success story of the day for Australia, even though they were chasing 312 to win.

There is just something exquisitely pleasing about an international sports team aiming so low and having an actual, legitimate reason for doing so.

Mitchell Starc walked out to bat in the 18th over of Australia’s chase, at which point the only thing left to play for was net run rate. (For those of you who abhor the horror maths of net run rate, a reminder that you can – and should – pronounce the abbreviation, NRR, as a delightfully annoying word.)

This early hustle of wickets lowered Australia’s ‘success’ bar sufficiently that Labuschagne plodding along at three an over probably qualified as a good thing.

So that’s what he did for a bit… he nrrdled.

Keen students of nrr – aficionrrdos, we’ll call them, or possibly just nrrds – might like a little bit of historical context at this point, with Australia now having racked up two defeats out of two – and this one a biggie.

In the last World Cup, which had the same group stage format, New Zealand and Pakistan were the two teams separated by nrrrrrr. They each registered three defeats and a no result.

Get our email. There is nrr excuse not to.


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


Why risk it when it's so easy to sign up?


  1. Marnus only has two still photo facial expressions: “rabbit startled in headlights” and “about to burst into tears”, neither of which is a great look. The picture you have selected for this piece is a slight variant, displaying a bit of both looks. Well done.

  2. South Africa are looking impressive, they are nicely on track to be tragically knocked out in the Semis.

  3. Marnus indeed always wears the same facial expression. The one that screams out: “Who farted?”

    I used to believe this was unique to Joe Root. But I was wrong. It turns out the antipodeans can have that look permenantly etched upon their faces, too.

  4. Farewell then, Alastair Cook.
    We wish you lots of luck
    eating all the Test Match Special cake.

    Never has there been such a chasm
    between a man’s talent with the bat,
    and his ability to spake.

  5. Seems we’re no further on than where we were 10+ years ago when we realised then that the middle overs of an ODI can be tediously boring.

Comments are closed.