Dravid’s ten highest-impact innings in ODIs:

The notable thing about Impact Index is that it measures the impact of a performance in a match relative to the other performances in the same match. So, a great performance in a match where someone else (either in one’s own team or the opposition’s) has also had a great performance, will find its impact reduced in comparison to merely a good performance in a match where no one else transcended the merely good.

So, it is fair to say that the highest-impact performances in specific matches don’t always represent the best performances in a player’s career. Over a career, with a fair sample size, they do give a very accurate picture of a player’s worth, more than anything else that exists today. In specific instances though, a high impact performance may sometimes be a result of the nature of the particular match, rather than the performance itself. This would not happen in the close matches, but in the one-sided games, where the losing team’s performance (which might become a formality) would make a difference to your impact measurement in the match.

Below are the Rahul Dravid ODI innings that rank the highest on the Impact scale; most of the famous ones are here. The ones which are not; we have written about separately after the list, explaining also why they did not make the list.

There are two things that stood out for us, while making the list. One, there are very few ODI innings where Dravid has put up a solo show, which is very different from his Test career. Two, in the majority of cases where he did, India actually lost the match, hence reducing his impact on certain parameters.

So, yes, a few surprises here. Some welcome ones, because there are quite a few gems here that don’t come up when Dravid’s best is discussed. Some of them are not surprising at all, of course.

NOTE:
All numbers between 0 and 5 in a career context, even though in a match context here, they may exceed 5. 
Not all batting parameters mentioned here, only the 3 most important ones (the numbers are not meant to be tallied here).

1. 123 not out vs New Zealand, Taupo, 9 Jan 1999

Runs Tally
IMPACT

Strike Rate
IMPACT

Pressure
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Batting
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5.26

0.53

0.51

6.55*

This was the first match of what would be a hard-fought ODI series (2-2). Batting first, India lost Tendulkar straightaway, and Dravid came out to bat. A partnership of 113 with Ganguly took India to relative comfort. But when he departed (for 60), Dravid, at the height of his powers, took charge comprehensively and did not allow the initiative to be handed back to the Kiwis. Other batsmen chipped in with small scores but Dravid did the bulk of the scoring and ended up with an unbeaten 123 which was just a tad below half the team’s total. Despite a shaky start, New Zealand recovered well, and with rain breaks, they got the advantage teams chasing in these circumstances usually do. New Zealand won by 5 wickets, but Dravid was rightly adjudged the man-of-the-match. Dravid would be the highest scorer for India in both the matches India won after this (with 38 and 51), but they were more even team efforts than this one.

2. 153 vs New Zealand, Hyderabad, 8 Nov 1999

Runs Tally
IMPACT

Strike Rate
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Pressure
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Batting
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5.82

0.00

0.46

6.53*

In a tight ODI series (which they would eventually win 3-2), India lost the first match, and in the next match, India were 10 for 1 when Dravid joined Tendulkar. A magical display of batting followed (albeit on a flat pitch) with both legends matching each other stroke-for-stroke. 331 runs later, Dravid was out for a run-a-ball 153, which would remain the highest ODI score of his career (15 fours, 2 sixes). Tendulkar carried on to make 186 not out, India 376. New Zealand blazed away to 202 in 33 overs but were all out, thus losing by a massive 174 runs.

3. 105 (102 balls) vs West Indies at Kingston on May 18, 2006

Runs Tally
IMPACT

Strike Rate
IMPACT

Pressure
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Batting
IMPACT

4.57

0.57

0.01

6.40*

The first match of the 2006 ODI series. After a rain delay, West Indies put up a solid 251 in 45 overs (with a blistering 123 from Gayle). India, opening with Sehwag and Dravid, made a relatively sedate start – Sehwag got 22 in 32 balls till he was out with the score at 56. Pathan went early, and Yuvraj later, making it 86 for 3 in the 18th over, and the match in the balance. Captain Dravid took charge majestically, finding the gaps and enforcing the signals, and then getting the boundaries just when the asking rate began to look uncomfortable – he got his century in 99 balls – many feel he was the best batsman in the world in that period – it is hard to argue with that. Unfortunately, he was out at 209, leaving the match wide open, with 42 off 31 still required. Streaky cricket from both teams resulted in a 5-wicket win for India in the last over (Kaif stayed unbeaten on 66). Inexplicably, India went on to lose the next 4 matches in a row, losing the series 1-4.

4. 59 vs Pakistan, Multan, 16 Feb 2006

Runs Tally
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Strike Rate
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Pressure
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Batting
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4.01

0.59

0.48

6.33*

A seemingly innocuous innings played by Dravid – the sort you forget about in a short while. But, within the match context, its importance is immense. It has everything – pressure, for coming in at 5 for 1 (with his team chasing 161) and later stabilising the situation from 29 for 2. The second-highest strike rate of the match (SR 82), remarkable for someone who had to handle so much happening around him. Building a match-winning partnership with Yuvraj, and finally for his contribution in chasing the total down. RP Singh for his 4 wickets got the man-of-the-match though. This was the match that sealed the series, which India would eventually win 4-1 (Yuvraj would, in fact, be the man-of-the-series).

5. 145 vs Sri Lanka, Taunton, 26 May 1999

Runs Tally
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Strike Rate
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Pressure
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Batting
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5.41

0.12

0.52

6.30*

For many, this is Dravid’s finest ODI innings. In terms of sheer class of batting, it probably is. During a crucial World Cup group game (India had lost against South Africa and Zimbabwe and just beaten Kenya), India met the World Cup holders (who had knocked them out in the semis in the previous World Cup), lost the toss, and were put in by Sri Lanka. In the first over itself, Ramesh was out, and Dravid joined Ganguly. What transpired was significant for the careers of both these men, and laid the foundation in some way for the next decade to follow, when both these would be giants of the modern game. Dravid, on whom there was still a question mark as far as ODI cricket went, started the assault, with a flurry of beautiful cricket shots, all along the ground. Ganguly gradually followed, inspired by his fellow-Test-debutant from 3 years ago (who out-scored him right through this innings), and both tore the bowling apart on a good pitch. The Sri Lankans lost their nerve and bowled poorly consistently enough for their captain Ranatunga to famously denounce the bowling as “rubbish” during the post-match presentation. But you couldn’t take anything away from that memorable morning/afternoon of batting – as the 318 runs they put on in 44 overs was a world-record ODI partnership at that time. After Dravid was out for 145 in 129 balls, Ganguly accelerated and hit sixes at will (7 in all) till he went for 183 in the last over. A shell-shocked Sri Lanka never looked like even going for the 374 to win, and at 79 for 4, the match looked over anyway. Dravid kept wickets in this match – his 145 the highest score by a wicketkeeper in ODI history at that time. Sri Lanka finally lost by 157 runs, but more than that, the annihilation perhaps mentally ended their challenge in the 1999 World Cup (where they could not even reach the Super-6). With valuable contributions right through the tournament, Dravid went on to become the highest run scorer in that tournament (though only the 6th-highest impact batsman) that India could not quite crack after the Super-6 stage.

The reason why this is not higher on an IMPACT scale is straightforward – Ganguly got a massive 183 too in the same game. Mathematically, that decreases Dravid’s impact overall in the game.

6. 64 vs Sri Lanka, Birmingham, 6 Jul 2002

Runs Tally
IMPACT

Strike Rate
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Pressure
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Batting
IMPACT

3.76

0.41

0.88

6.30*

During the same tournament in 2002 that climaxed with the now-legendary Yuvraj-Kaif partnership in the final, came this little beauty during a crucial juncture at the group stages. Chasing Sri Lanka’s 187 in seaming conditions, India were 33 for 3 when wicketkeeper Dravid walked out to join Tendulkar, who lasted just 6 more overs. Taking charge with Yuvraj, Dravid kept the scoreboard rotating, till Yuvraj cut loose, but was out shortly for 37. At 150 for 5, the match could still have turned around, but Dravid’s cool head ensured nothing of that sort happened. He was unfortunately run out when the target was just 9 runs away, but he had done enough to knock Sri Lanka out of the NatWest Trophy and win the man-of-the-match award.

7. 104 vs Pakistan, Kochi, 2 Apr 2005

Runs Tally
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Strike Rate
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Pressure
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Batting
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4.81

0.00

1.16

6.22*

The first morning of the 2005 ODI series, India 4 for 2, Tendulkar and Ganguly gone. Walking through a shocked crowd, Dravid joins a nonchalant Sehwag and quintessential mayhem ensues from the latter end. Sehwag makes his century in 84 balls but is out shortly thereafter at 205. After a brief partnership with Yuvraj, Dravid watches as wickets fall regularly. After ensuring some stability, Dravid is finally run out in the 48th over after making 104 off 139 balls (next highest score after these two is 16 by Yuvraj). Pakistan is dismissed for 194 and India win by 87 runs. After winning the next match too, and leading 0-2, India lose four matches in a row to lose the series 2-4, with medium-pacer Naved-ul-Hasan the man-of-the-series. They would repeat this bizarre losing streak next year too, in the West Indies.

Amongst his highest impact innings, this is the one in which he absorbed the maximum pressure.

8. 77 vs West Indies at Toronto on September 14, 1999

Runs Tally
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Strike Rate
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Pressure
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Batting
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4.67

0.98

0.03

5.93*

One of the two ODI Tournament-defining innings in Dravid’s career. With the 3-match series tied at 1-1, India batted first and were 61 for 3 in the 20th over when Dravid walked out to bat. First with Jacob Martin (33), and later with Vinod Kambli (26), Dravid ensured respectability and substance to an innings that had shown signs of disintegrating. He was out in the 46th over for a classy 77 (off 87 balls), which uncharacteristically had 2 sixes (besides 6 boundaries). West Indies had a terrible start as they chased 225 – 6 for 2, and later 52 for 7; Dravid took 4 catches in the slips. India won comfortably by 88 runs.

Amongst his highest impact innings, this one had the highest Strike Rate IMPACT.

9. 116 vs Sri Lanka, Nagpur, 22 Mar 1999

Runs Tally
IMPACT

Strike Rate
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Pressure
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Batting
IMPACT

5.16

0.44

0.00

5.85*

A Ganguly-Dravid show that actually preceded the more famous one (at no. 5 here). 130 not out in 160 balls from Ganguly, 116 in 118 balls from Dravid, India 287 for 4. Sri Lanka dismissed for 207 with Ganguly getting four wickets, and walking away with the man-of-the-match. This was the second match in the triangular Pepsi Cup, which Pakistan would eventually win.

10. 81 vs Pakistan, Sharjah, 13 Apr 1999

Runs Tally
IMPACT

Strike Rate
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Pressure
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Batting
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4.33

0.00

0.16

5.74*

A Dravid-Ramesh show this time, as a 166-run partnership (after being 17 for 1) led India to a six-wicket win as India chased down 205. Both were bizarrely run out four runs of each other (Ramesh 82 in 131 balls; Dravid 81 in 121 balls) and could not be there till the end, but they made it look quite easy, which it was not, given that the bowling constituted Wasim Akram, Shoaib Akhtar and Saqlain Mushtaq, all in prime form. Later, India would get thrashed in the final of this tournament – but this was a good day for India in the group stages.

11. 109 not out vs West Indies, Ahmedabad, 15 Nov 2002

Runs Tally
IMPACT

Strike Rate
IMPACT

Pressure
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Batting
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3.69

0.00

0.51

5.70*

The 7-match series was at 2-1 for West Indies, very much still in balance. India won the toss, and inserted the West Indies in who promptly went on to hammer 324 for 4 in 50 overs, with a particularly belligerent 140 (off 127 balls) from Chris Gayle (his second of three centuries in that series). A dazed Indian team went back to the pavilion at half-time, perhaps hoping for a Sehwag blitzkrieg to restore some kind of parity. But he was out in the first over after one boundary, and after some elegant aggression, Ganguly was out too soon, with the score at 45. There was no Tendulkar in this match, but a Laxman-Dravid partnership ensued. Laxman, uncomfortable in the middle, hung on fluently (a Laxman speciality) till he was run out for 66 off 74 balls. Yuvraj chipped in with a run-a-ball 30, but it was Dravid who controlled the innings. When Kaif was out at 231, India still needed 95 off 75 balls, with 5 wickets in hand, a tall order in 2002. Dravid and Sanjay Bangar were at the crease, famous now for the manner in which they had worn out an English attack on a seaming pitch at Headingly just a few months ago, and laid the foundations for a famous win. But here, something utterly unexpected happened. Bangar slammed 57 off 41 balls (with 2 sixes) and Dravid, visibly tiring after having kept wickets in the first half of the match, steered the match steadily and deftly towards sheer exhilaration. India won with more than 2 overs to spare, and the NatWest final was no longer seen as a fluke after this. West Indies did win 2 of the next 3 games to win the series, but India’s ascendancy had well-and-truly commenced.

12. 77 vs South Africa, Durban, 26 Oct 2001

Runs Tally
IMPACT

Strike Rate
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Pressure
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Batting
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4.58

0.33

0.36

5.52*

The Standard Bank Triangular Final – India put in by South Africa, 31 for 2 when Dravid replaced Tendulkar in the middle. After a fighting innings from Sehwag (34 in 58 balls), only Reetinder Sodhi (22 off 42 balls) gave Dravid any kind of support. Dravid finally went for a well-made 77 off 102 balls (the highest strike-rate of the innings and the second-highest of the match) in the 47th over, and India was promptly all out 12 balls later for 183. Gary Kirsten (84 off 108 balls) led South Africa to a six-wicket victory.

Three other notable innings – honourable mentions

These innings don’t feature amongst Dravid’s highest impact innings, but they are amongst his most memorable ones.

So, here’s revisiting those memories and also explaining why they didn’t make it higher on the impact innings list.

84 v South Africa, 13 February 1997 - Finals, Durban

Runs Tally
IMPACT

Strike Rate
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Pressure
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Batting
IMPACT

3.68

0.00

0.23

4.16

A lot of people remember this innings for the pulled six by Dravid off Alan Donald, who promptly abused him – and commentator Boycott who squealed in delight, “Teddy’s fallen off the cot!” This was the final of the triangular in South Africa, Dravid’s first. His 148 in the final Test at Jo’burg had raised his profile in the Test arena; this was the ODI innings that helped him arrive emphatically on the ODI stage. South Africa batted first, made 278 in 50 overs but rain-breaks made the target 251 in 40 overs. Dravid walked in at 18 for 1 and straightaway showed signs of a batsman who would be here for the long haul. Tendulkar was smoking at the other end, and Dravid matched him shot-for-shot. Crisp, along-the-ground scorchers from both ends. It was exhilarating stuff. Tendulkar was out to his bete noire – Cronje, for 45 in 33 balls. 84 for 2. In walked Azharuddin, and thus began another stunning exhibition from both ends. At 165 for 2, there were visions of an incredible victory, when Azharuddin went to Pollock (45 off 44 balls) but the tempo did not fall. Jadeja went for 18 at 198 but it was Dravid’s demise at 210 (84 off 94 balls) that ended the game, for all practical purposes. The innings limply folded up within 25 runs. Fittingly at least, Dravid got the man-of-the-match.

If India had won this match, Dravid’s impact would have been greater, perhaps enough to get this innings into his top ten list.

76 not out v Pakistan, 21 March 2004, Lahore

Runs Tally
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Strike Rate
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Pressure
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Batting
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2.85

0.00

0.71

4.81

A high-profile 5-match series. Pakistan 2-1 up. They win the toss, bat first, put up 293, with a stunning 123 in 121 balls by Inzamam-ul-Haq. Wicket-keeper Dravid comes in to bat at 75 for 3 in the 10th over, but it is soon 94 for 4 when Ganguly goes. Yuvraj and Dravid stabilise things, and just when Yuvraj starts dominating, he gets out (36 off 35). It is 162 for 5 with 26 overs to go. Time not of essence; the earlier batsmen had done a great job on that count. Nerves jangling. Mohammed Kaif plays securely and fluently. And suddenly, they are up and away…again. Dravid (76 off 92 balls) and Kaif (71 off 77 balls) add 132 in 130 balls, and India win with 5 overs to spare. India went on to win the next match, and the series.

Inzamam’s 123 (the man-of-the-match) and Kaif’s 77 had a higher impact in this match than Dravid’s 76.

50*  v New Zealand, 15 November 2003, Hyderabad

Runs Tally
IMPACT

Strike Rate
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Pressure
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Batting
IMPACT

1.57

0.88

0.00

2.45

India batted first, Tendulkar made 102 off 91 balls, Sehwag 130 off 134. Ganguly 33 off 31. Dravid came in to bat at 283 for 3 with 7 overs to go. He proceeded to make 50 in 22 balls with 5 boundaries and 3 sixes – the second-fastest fifty for India (by just one ball), and India finished at 353 for 5. New Zealand had the fight blasted out of them – they wound up for 208.

Dravid’s impact overall in the match was obviously not higher than the two openers, but interestingly, his Strike Rate IMPACT in Match 8 on this list -  77 off 87 is higher than his Strike Rate IMPACT in this match, simply because of what the match standards were in both cases.

 

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