Wednesday 1 January 2014

A quick look at the Anderson innings

Corey Anderson has been talked of as the big hope for New Zealand cricket for about 7 years.

He was signed to a national contract when he was still at school to make sure he didn't chose to play rugby, a sport in which he also excelled.

He was one of only a few New Zealand players to play first class cricket while still at school since the Second World War.

And yet so far in his international career he has failed to make a splash. Until today.

Today he broke Shahid Afridi's record for the fastest ODI hundred by smiting the West Indies for 131* off 47 balls. The first 101 of which came up off only 36 balls. I honestly thought Afridi's record would never be broken, but I guess you should never say never.

Here's the full 47 balls, for those of you who are interested:

1 . 4 1 . 1 6 1 . 2 1 4 6 1 6 6 . 6 . 6 1 . . 6 6 6 6 6 1 . 1 4 4 1 1 6 6 4 1 2 4 1 6 1 2 2 1

The first question that came to my mind was how does this innings compare to other great innings of the past.

I came up with a formula that I've used a number of times before to quantify how good a limited overs innings is. Basically the score is either squared if they are out or multiplied by 5 more than itself if they are not out, then divided by the balls faced. It rewards both big scores and quick scoring. It isn't perfect, as it doesn't take into account the state of the match, the quality of the opposition the importance of the game or the conditions that the match is played in. However, it is the best simple system that I know of, so it's the one that I use.

I put Anderson's innings into the formula and then compared it to all other big innings that were scored quickly. For this comparison I looked at every innings where a batsman scored more than 75 at a strike rate of more than 110.

Here are the top 20:

PlayerScorevsYearModifiedViv Points
Corey J Anderson (NZ) 131* (47)v West Indies 2014379.06144.6
SR Watson (Aus) 185* (96)v Bangladesh 2011366.15139.7
MV Boucher (SA) 147* (68)v Zimbabwe 2006328.59125.4
V Sehwag (India) 219 (149)v West Indies 2011321.89122.8
SR Tendulkar (India) 200* (147)v South Africa 2010278.91106.4
RG Sharma (India) 209 (158)v Australia 2013276.46105.5
ST Jayasuriya (SL) 134 (65)v Pakistan 1996276.25105.4
HH Gibbs (SA) 175 (111)v Australia 2006275.9105.3
IVA Richards (WI) 181 (125)v Sri Lanka 1987262.09100
Shahid Afridi (Pak) 102 (40)v Sri Lanka 1996260.199.2
Saeed Anwar (Pak) 194 (146)v India 1997257.7898.4
Shahid Afridi (Pak) 124 (60)v Bangladesh 2010256.2797.8
RT Ponting (Aus) 164 (105)v South Africa 2006256.1597.7
Yuvraj Singh (India) 138* (78)v England 200825396.5
CK Coventry (Zim) 194* (156)v Bangladesh 2009247.4794.4
L Vincent (NZ) 172 (120)v Zimbabwe 2005246.5394.1
BB McCullum (NZ) 80* (28)v Bangladesh 2007242.8692.7
Ijaz Ahmed (Pak) 139* (84)v India 1997238.2990.9
MS Dhoni (India) 183* (145)v Sri Lanka 2005237.2790.5
ST Jayasuriya (SL) 157 (104)v Netherlands 2006237.0190.4

The first name on the list is Corey Anderson's. This innings overcame Watson's demolition of Bangladesh from 2011.

I've also included "Viv Points." This is a comparison with what many people still consider the greatest innings of all time, Viv Richards vs Sri Lanka in 1987. 100 points means that it was equivalent to Viv's innings.

Incidentally at 43rd on the list was the innings that happened at the other end, Jesse Ryder's 104 off 51 balls. It was also one of the greatest innings in ODI history, but it was completely overshadowed by the outstanding innings from Anderson.

It's still early days in Corey Anderson's career. There have been plenty of players who have had a very good day in an international match (You may notice Charles Coventry and Lou Vincent's name in the above list as evidence of this) but he has now shown that the potential that the selectors saw all those years ago when he was a teenager is closer to being realised.

There are lots of things that can be said about this innings. Poor bowling, small boundaries, big bats etc, but they can't take away from the incredible pace that Anderson managed to score at. It really was a sensational innings.

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