Barisal Burners v Chittagong Kings at Dhaka, Bangladesh Premier League

The One Day International format was my first introduction to the sport, thanks to the World Cup, and as such it holds a very special place in my heart.

Lately, of course, my preferred format has been Test cricket, and I have found myself thumbing my nose at cricket’s forgotten middle child over the last few years.

Over the last few days, however, I have fallen in love all over again.

Yesterday, I was able to enjoy a lovely ODI between Pakistan and England.

And the Commonwealth Bank Series feature Sri Lanka, India, and Australia has been brilliantly entertaining.

The most recent match between India and Australia featured everything that is wonderful about the ODI: tight, tense, every ball mattering…and it came down to the final delivery of the match…

Under the floodlights…

And, so, today, I thought I would talk a bit the One Day International…

95 years after playing in the first ever Test match, Australia and England played the first ever ODI, on January the 5th, 1971.

The first three days of a Test had been washed out, so Cricket Australia just decided to have each team bowl 40 eight ball overs, and the One Day International was born.

Australia won by five wickets.

Most features of the ODI as we know them were put in place by Australian billionaire, Kerry Packer. These include the colored uniforms, the floodlights, and the white ball.

Other than the limited overs, the rules of the ODI use, basically, the same rules of Test cricket. The biggest difference of course are the power play fielding restrictions:

For three blocks of overs (the first ten, and then five decided on by the batting side and five decided on by the bowling side), teams in the field can only have three fielders outside of the fielding circle.

The rules were introduced in 2005, and have been altered by the ICC like a dozen times since.

Also, the ODI brought us the Duckworth/Lewis Method – the algorithm used to decide rain shortened matches.

It’s hilariously complicated:

“The essence of the D/L method is ‘resources’. Each team is taken to have two ‘resources’ to use to make as many runs as possible: the number of overs they have to receive; and the number of wickets they have in hand. At any point in any innings, a team’s ability to score more runs depends on the combination of these two resources. Looking at historical scores, there is a very close correspondence between the availability of these resources and a team’s final score, a correspondence which D/L exploits.

Using a published table which gives the percentage of these combined resources remaining for any number of overs (or, more accurately, balls) left and wickets lost, the target score can be adjusted up or down to reflect the loss of resources to one or both teams when a match is shortened one or more times. This percentage is then used to calculate a target (sometimes called a ‘par score’) that is usually a fractional number of runs. If the second team passes the target then the second team is taken to have won the match; if the match ends when the second team has exactly met (but not passed) the target (rounded down to the next integer) then the match is taken to be a tie.”

(from wikipedia)

However, it is widely considered a fair method for deciding matches, despite how difficult it is to understand.

Oh, and it’s a killer band name, too.

*

Since 1971, there have been 3,338 One Day Internationals.

Currently, there are 16 nations with full ODI status: the ten full members, as well as Kenya, Ireland, the Netherlands, Scotland, Canada, and Afghanistan.

Australia has played the most ODIs, and consequently has won the most: 779 played, 484 won. A winning percent of 33.93.

South Africa has a better winning percentage, however, with 34.95 (played 467, won 291).

Sachin Tendulkar has the most runs in ODI history: 18,111.

No one else has 17,000…or 16,000…or 15,000…or 14,000

The next closest batsman is Ricky Ponting 13,686.

Caveat: Sachin has played in 453 ODIs, Ricky has only played in 370.

(Side: Ricky is his real name. I always wondered why he went by Ricky instead of Rich or Rick or Richard or Dick or ANYTHING besides Ricky…but now I know: it’s because it’s actually his name.)

Virender Sehwag has the highest run total in a single innings: 219; while South Africa’s Hashim Amla has the highest average, with 56.35 (50 innings minimum.)

Shahid Afridi has the fastest ever ODI century: doing it off of only 37 deliveries in 1996 against Sri Lanka.

That is seriously insane.

Bowling in an ODI, of course, it a bit of a different story than it is in Tests.  While you are still trying to take wickets, you are also doing your best to play damage limitation, much more so than in a Test, as batsmen will take risks in an ODI that they would never take in a Test match.

But, there have been some very successful bowlers in ODIs, all the same.

Muttiah Muralitharan and Wasim Akram each have more than 500 wickets, for instance.

But the ODI, for the most part, is a format for the batsmen.

And that’s the One Day International, in a nutshell.

Oh, one last thing: an ODI was the scene for my favorite cricket YouTube video ever: the underarm delivery:

I love the 70s uniforms, the Bacchanalian scenes in the crowd (that is 90% shirtless), the indigination of the announcers, the hair.

I love it all.

I love One Day Internationals.

Or maybe: I just love cricket.

*

Back on the pitch:

Tonight the South African tour of New Zealand starts up with a Twenty20 match at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington; while Sri Lanka searches for its first win in the CB series against Australia at the SCG.

Both matches are on Willow, I hope to be able to watch the first few overs (at least) of the former.

Until next time.

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