Sunday, December 21, 2008

On run-chases

(ed. note: this is about cricket, not algorithms, or geometry, or computer science. you have been warned)

South Africa, the Netherlands of cricket, finally won a big game, beating Australia in Perth after a historic run-chase of 414. This of course follows India's famous run-chase, beating England in Chennai by chasing down 387. As Cricinfo points out, 9 of the top 25 run chases have come in the last 8 years (in a tally that dates back to 1902).

There's a detailed statistical analysis of these chases, but no speculation as to why they're becoming more frequent. The answer seems obvious to me though: the increasing scores in one-day cricket. A quick search of Statsguru indicates that of the 258 overall scores above 300 (first or second team) one 1-day games, 179 of these happened after 2000. Even to a casual observer, it's clear that the scores in 1-day games have gone up (and don't get me started on Powerplays).

Frankly, when all this fuss was being made about India's run chase, I couldn't quite understand why, because if you think of this as a one-day game, it's not too hard (and in fact India's coaches thought the same way!).

All in all, two exciting Test matches (and how often have we been able to say that)
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