Guns not really blazing in batting Power Play
When the ICC executive committee approved the new Power Play rules in October 2008, that was tested first in the ensuing New Zealand-Bangladesh series, they were thinking of ways to make the middle overs in the 50-over format more exciting.cricket Updated: Dec 03, 2010 00:03 IST
When the ICC executive committee approved the new Power Play rules in October 2008, that was tested first in the ensuing New Zealand-Bangladesh series, they were thinking of ways to make the middle overs in the 50-over format more exciting.
The batting side was empowered to choose its set of five overs where only three fielders are allowed outside the 30-yard circle and thus, it came to be known as batting Power Play.
This was obviously meant for more hitting during the middle overs but somehow, India have not quite been able to set the field on fire. On quite a few occasions, India have left it for as late as in the 42nd or 43rd overs, if not the final five.
And sometimes while chasing, like in Wednesday's match against New Zealand, India did not opt for the batting Power Play at all. This was not the first instance of India not taking the Power Play in the last 12 months (see box).
India's best purchase in the batting Power Play is 63 runs without losing a wicket. It came against South Africa in Gwalior earlier this year when Sachin Tendulkar, on way to the only double century in ODI history, and Yusuf Pathan plundered the bowling. India have not gone anywhere close to it after that.
On quite a few occasions when India were looking to post a big total, the batting Power Play somehow broke their rhythm.
They lost crucial wickets, like they did in the opening match of this series in Guwahati. They had been scoring close to a run a ball even without the restrictions but with it, they lost two wickets and added 38 runs.
Those two wickets meant India were all out before their quota of 50 overs.
Initially, when the rule was implemented, Dhoni had said it would be good for middle-order batsmen to get some quick runs. But it has not worked so far. Keeping in mind the Power Play, the opposition has held back its best bowlers for that period.
So now what is working for India is that by choosing to take the Powerplay in the final five overs, the good bowlers in the opposition can be pushed back till the end, where losing wickets would hurt the least.