1983 world cup: Beyond stats: How Glenn Maxwell’s 201 stacks up against Kapil Dev’s 175

Glenn Maxwell’s ‘big show’ on Tuesday night revived memories of Kapil Dev’s 175 not out against Zimbabwe in the 1983 World Cup. It immediately started a debate over whether Maxwell’s unbeaten 201 against Afghanistan is the biggest wicket in the history of ODI cricket, even better than Kapil’s. Statistically, it is always easy to determine but not without the risk of reducing those guts to just numbers, removing all the magic and magic. Let’s examine other factors that separate a good gut from a great one.

The Guts

While Kapil’s 175 came in the first innings, Maxwell scored that double hundred in the chase. There is a general consensus that chasing a target is more difficult than setting a target. For example, in the history of ODI cricket, 2,539 hundreds have been scored in 47,001 matches batting first – an average of 18.50 innings per hundred. In innings, only 1,886 hundreds were scored in 42,360 innings – an average of 22.46 innings per hundred. Also, Maxwell’s 201 was the first ever double in the second innings of a men’s ODI. In comparison, Kapil’s 175 was the highest individual ODI score then. And we have to take into account how rare individual hundreds were in the 1980s. In the 1983 World Cup, for example, only 8 hundreds were scored in 27 games. The ongoing edition has already seen 32 hundreds in 40 games.The Situation
When Kapil came to the crease, India were tottering at 9 for 4 and they kept losing wickets thereafter. The fifth wicket fell for 17, the sixth for 77, the seventh for 78, and the eighth for 140. But Kapil kept plundering boundaries from one end and India took to 266/8, total well enough they defended with 31 runs.

Maxwell entered the picture when Australia lost two wickets in consecutive balls and were reduced from 49-2 to 49-4. The first ball Maxwell faced was a hat-trick, which he somehow survived. Then he saw Australia shrink to 91-7. Australia still needed 201 runs to win, which they achieved without losing another wicket.

The Opposition
Zimbabwe were the surprise package of the 1983 World Cup. They were playing in their World Cup. In fact, they made their ODI debut in the 1983 World Cup itself and upset Australia in the first match. However, that was their only win in the competition. They were good first-class cricketers in their game but lacked international experience and it showed.

Afghanistan 2023 is no longer a surprise. Their talents are different. A side full of cricketers with impressive T20 credentials, this World Cup they showed their growth in ODI cricket. Going into the match against Australia, they had already registered wins against three previous champions – England, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – in this edition. They were strong contenders for the semi-final.

The Contribution
It tells us how important the knock is in the team’s victory. Kapil scored 175 of India’s 266 runs to get a contribution of 65.79 percent. Maxwell’s contribution was slightly better. His 201 made up 68.6 per cent of Australia’s 293. But if we calculate from where they came, Kapil’s contribution rises to 68.09 percent while Maxwell flies right through the roof with a humongous 82.38 percent.

The Physical
This is probably the biggest point of difference. Kapil remained fully fit throughout the innings and even bowled 11 wickets while defending the total. Maxwell, on the other hand, was severely hampered by cramps and could barely move his front leg for the latter part of his innings – 147 runs on, to be specific.

The Specialization
Although both Kapil and Maxwell are categorized as all-rounders, their main roles differ. Kapil was primarily a fast bowler who could bat well. On the other hand, Maxwell is a batsman who can bowl.

The Ball
Although ODI cricket is now synonymous with the white balls, the 1983 World Cup was played with the red ones. And that makes a significant difference. The red balls give more assistance to the bowlers compared to the white balls. Also, under current playing conditions, new balls are used from both ends, keeping the ball hard for longer periods and reducing the possibility of reverse swing. At first, the white ball swings more than the red ball but when it loses its shine, it doesn’t swing at all, while the red ball provides a longer swing and helps reverse swing.

The Conditions
Few sports are as affected by conditions as cricket. From wind to temperature and grass to soil, everything makes a difference. On that day at Tunbridge Wells, the site of Kapil’s legendary knock, the pitch provided plenty of movement and bounce for the bowlers. To this day, seaming conditions are kryptonite for Indian batters. What Maxwell faced at the Wankhede in Mumbai were good batting conditions with the added help of dew.

The Conclusion
indecisive. But, let’s say these two innings were great. And we know that greatness is an abstract concept that cannot be measured. Instead, we honor these great entrails by placing them side by side instead of each other.

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