Caricature- Vasim Maner

Shahid Afridi held the record for the fastest hundred in ODI cricket (off just 37 balls) for more than 17 years before Corey Anderson annihilated the West Indies on New Year’s Day in Queenstown in 2014 and smashed a 36-ball ton.

But the New Zealand all-rounder’s record did not stay for long and was broken a year later by AB de Villiers.

On the 18th of January, 2015, de Villiers blasted the fastest century ever recorded in the history of ODI cricket- in just 31 balls in the second ODI against the West Indies in Johannesburg. He came out to bat at 247 for 1 in the 39th over and went on the rampage smashing 16 sixes and 9 fours on his way to 149 off just 44 balls. South Africa went on to score 439 in their allotted 50 overs -the third-highest score ever in ODI cricket. West Indies in reply could only muster 291.

De Villiers recorded a strike rate of 339 in the match. It is the highest strike rate for any ODI innings in excess of 40.

Yet, it is only the eleventh-highest Strike Rate Impact performance in ODI cricket.

This is because conventional strike rate of an individual batsman is only a simple function of the number of balls played by him and the number of runs he scores.
In other words, it does not take into consideration the average run-rate of the match or the context of the match in terms of team totals.

It does not measure the performance relative to the other performances in the same match, which is the key thing that Impact Index does.

Strike Rate Impact , therefore, places a greater emphasis on the number of balls faced by a batsman as it also takes into consideration team totals and the average run-rate of the match.

So, although de Villiers scored a third of South Africa’s total at a mind-boggling strike rate, the Strike Rate Impact was shared between him and other batsmen in the match who also scored big at a high strike rate. Amla hit 153 at a strike rate of 108 and Rossouw also notched up 128 at a strike rate of 111. Four West Indian batsmen also registered scores of 40 or more with strike rates ranging from 83 to 104. As a result of these performances, both the average strike rate and the runs scored per batsman in the match increased, thereby reducing de Villiers’ Strike Rate Impact in the match.

Interestingly, for similar reasons, Corey Anderson’s performance in Queenstown has the seventh-highest Strike Rate Impact in the history of ODI cricket but Afridi’s hundred in Nairobi against Sri Lanka is not even amongst the forty highest Strike Rate Impact ODI innings.

The highest Strike Rate Impact ODI innings was Sanath Jayasuriya’s 161-ball 189 (strike rate 117) against India in the final of the Coca-Cola Champions Trophy in Sharjah in 2000. Batting first, Sri Lanka posted 299 off their allotted 50 overs. In reply, India were skittled for 54 in just 26.3 overs.

Jayasuriya scored 63% of his team’s runs. The second-highest score for Sri Lanka was Russell Arnold’s 52 in 62 deliveries – his strike rate of 84 was also the second-highest of the match.

That a shell-shocked India were bowled out for a paltry 54 also made a big difference, of course, as the average runs scored per batsman was drastically reduced. Coupled with that was the fact that Jayasuriya also had the highest conventional strike rate in the match. A combination of all these factors helped him register a very high Strike Rate Impact .

It is almost bizarre that his innings with a strike rate of almost a third of de Villiers’ had a 30% higher Strike Rate Impact .

Talk about giving weight to match context.



Nikhil Narain

NOTE: Impact Index has undergone an upgradation in November 2015, and though 95% of its findings remain the same, there have been some minor shifts. This piece was updated post that, and is up-to-date as of August 2016.