India-SA: After chasing rule change, hosts find going tough

  • Sai Prasad Mohapatra, Hindustan Times, Chennai
  • Updated: Oct 21, 2015 13:09 IST
Indian captain MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli run between the wickets during the third ODI against South Africa in Rajkot, on October 18, 2015. (PTI Photo)

India made the loudest protest against the ODI rule that was in place till June. From BCCI administrators to skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, all slammed the rule which allowed only four fielders outside the 30-yard circle during non-powerplay overs, saying it was having a destabilising effect on the bowlers.

Dhoni on many occasions explained how handicapped he felt having just four fielders outside the ring in the last 10 overs of the innings, and the board pressed for a rule change. In fact, efforts were on even before the World Cup to change the rule. It was not done by the ICC as it did not want the teams to face problems adapting to the new rule at the tournament.

It was only after the ICC annual conference in June that the new rules were implemented, much to the delight of many bowlers and captains, including Dhoni. They came into force from July 5, giving more breathing space for the fielding captains. They no longer had to fuss over the batting powerplay and close-in fielders in the first 10 overs while bowlers were given extra protection in the last ten overs with five fielders now allowed outside the 30-yard circle.

What hurts

However, it is the last bit that seems to be hurting India’s batting pattern, having earlier taken advantage of the field restrictions while chasing a target. The scoring pattern of India in successful chases indicates how well the previous rule worked in their favour, compared to India’s unsuccessful efforts in Kanpur and Rajkot.

In the one year before the new rules came into effect, in nine successful chases, India massively capitalised in the last 10 overs and did relatively well in the 36-40-over batting powerplay phase.

Between 41 to 50 overs, India’s run rate was 8.06; in those successful chases, the run rate was 6.51 between 36-40 overs.

However, in the four unsuccessful chases India have been involved in the last one year, their run rate is 6.31 in the last 10 overs and 5.80 in the power play period. In those two matches, South Africa maintained a run rate of 5.70 between the 36th and 40th overs while it was just 4.30 for India. And in the last ten overs, against South Africa’s run rate of 8.45, India lagged behind at 7.55.

In Rajkot, Virat Kohli and Dhoni, both well-set, picked just one four between the 30th and 40th overs, which produced only 38 runs.

Thus, the time has come for India to review their approach in the last 15 overs, and get their finishing up to speed.

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