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Friday Fights | The Big ODI Fight - Ben Stokes vs Lance Klusener

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Stokes vs Klusener - Who will win?

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Friday Fights | The Big ODI Fight - Ben Stokes vs Lance Klusener

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Anirudh Suresh

10/30/2020

The man who set the modern-day template for every aspiring all-rounder in the world versus the man who is following the very same template and rewriting history books - this is some matchup, isn’t it? October 30 edition of Friday Fights features the battle of the GOATs, Klusener vs Stokes.

We know Ben Stokes packs a punch. Erm, literally. In all fairness, he, too, would have been left trophyless and as heart-shattered as Lance Klusener if it wasn’t for Trent Boult’s heel. Or Kumar Dharamasena’s fingers. Jokes aside, fighting against each other, with their cricketing statistics being their only weapons, are arguably going to be two of the greatest all-rounders to ever grace the game. Someday, perhaps, we’d get a fair measure of who the better bowler is, but for now, it’s all going to be about who can wield the willow better. Without further ado, LET’S GET STARTED!

ROUND 1 -> CAREER AVERAGE: LANCE DOES THE INAUGURATION DANCE!

Ben Stokes might be a few centimeters taller than Lance Klusener, but not intimidated - one bit - by the stature of the Big Man is Mr. K. As Stokes initiates the fight with his average of 40.63, Klusener nonchalantly sways away and jabs back with an average of 41.1 to draw first blood.

Stokes - 9   Klusener - 10

ROUND 2 -> AVERAGE IN FOREIGN CONDITIONS: Mr.Adaptable Ben levels the scoring!

Stokes might have 99 problems, but home sickness ain’t one. I mean, come on, this is a man who ‘adopted’ England as his home, you know? Come the change in conditions, Klusener is shook and his average drops to 30.51, and knowing he’s got the measure of his man, Stokes unhurriedly throws a hook to outclass the Protean with an average of 32.96.

Stokes - 10  Klusener - 9

ROUND 3 -> AVERAGE IN HOME CONDITIONS: For Lance, home is where the comfort is

There seems to be an unwritten rule in life that Ben Stokes, well, seems to not know about - never mess with Lance Klusener in his own backyard. And yes, he’s paid the price for his ignorance. After throwing a nice right-cross in the form of his average of 47.42, Stokes gets a bit cocky and exchanges a word or two, but Klusener, with his average of 52.62, rocks the Englishman back with a towering hook. Talk about a comeback.

Stokes - 9   Klusener - 10

ROUND 4 -> AVERAGE IN MAJOR TOURNAMENTS: Klusener - the king of ICC events?

We both know both these men love the big stage and HOLY MOLY the bout has gone up a notch. Under pressure, both wiggle rapidly in order to catch their opponent off guard, and while, like last round, Stokes thinks his average 72.11 is moreeeeeeee than enough, Klusener yet again HUMILIATES the Englishman with his very own average in ICC tournaments, which is a ridiculous 102. Shikhar, you are not Dha-one anymore. Turns out Lance has always been the King of ICC events. 

Stokes - 9   Klusener - 10

ROUND 5 -> STRIKE RATE: Lance was ahead of his time, but just not enough

Picking up right from where they left off in the previous round, Stokes and Klusener seem keen to beat the living hell out of each other. Both men land punches and both men get struck hard. Stokes is absolutely rocked by Klusener’s SR of 89.91, which comes with added impact due to it significantly being better than his peers who played in the same era, but being an aggressor himself, Stokes *marginally* scores the win through a timely left-cross. Phew, that was close.

Stokes - 10  Klusener - 9

ROUND 6-> 50 TO 100 CONVERSIONS (in %): A dull start, a dull finish!

Such is the downgrade in quality in Round 6 that it’s almost as bad as South Africa going from Lance Klusener to Johan van der Wath. Conversion is never a finisher, a lower-order dasher’s cup of tea and it shows. After a maniac R5, both men barely connect their punches and the only specimens that have gotten hurt in this round are the ropes and the turnbuckles. Thankfully, to put everyone out of misery, Stokes lands a half-baked punch as his conversion rate of 13.04% trumps Klusener’s 9.52%. 

Stokes - 10  Klusener - 9

ROUND 7 -> PERCENTAGE OF FIFTIES IN WINNING CAUSES: NOW WE TALKIN!!

There’s literally no use of being an aggressive lower-order batsman if you can’t impact games by taking your team over the line but guess what? These two men ONLY care about winning. Having been a part of a stubborn and outdated ODI side for the first few years of his career, only 50% of Stokes’ fifties have taken his side over the line but BOOOOM, this figure for Klusener stands at 68.42%. He delivers a good ol’ jab to the face to run away with the round.

Stokes - 9   Klusener - 10

ROUND 8 -> PERCENTAGE OF HUNDREDS IN WINNING CAUSES: All hail Mr.Perfect Ben Stokes!

Many a batsman will tell you the centuries are useless if the team eventually slumps to a defeat but goddamn Stokes has never uttered those words. No, it’s not because he’s selfish. It’s just that the team wins 100% of the times when he scores a ton, you know? With his 100% record, Stokes marauds Klusener with an overhand right and the South African’s 50% is simply not good enough to compete. Revenge for Round 7 - complete.  

Stokes - 10  Klusener - 9

ROUND 9 -> PERCENTAGE OF FIFTY-PLUS SCORES IN CHASES: Klusener sends out a statement

Scoring handsome whilst batting first is a skill per-se but let’s be honest, chasing with scoreboard pressure is a completely different ball-game. Seemingly both these men thrive under pressure but YET AGAIN, it’s Lance K who comes out on top. Stokes, thanks to his numbers of 39.13%, is on the defensive, and bobbing and weaving, but Klusener eventually catches him with a clean hook as the South African’s 47.60% hands him the round. Stokes hates fifties, doesn’t he?

Stokes - 9   Klusener - 10

ROUND 10 -> NO OF FIFTY-PLUS SCORES WITH 110+ SR: Stokes will just not go away

This man, Stokes. He just refuses to give up, doesn’t he? Klusener, whose number here is just 7, is awarded three additional fifties due to the disparity between eras but “keep that to yourself” stays Stokes, who bludgeons the South African with a bolo punch and walks away as the victor with 11 110+ SR fifty-plus scores to his name. 

Stokes - 10  Klusener - 9

ROUND 11 -> BOUNDARIES PER INNINGS: NO SIGNS OF A WINNER - YET!

Unbelievable. There is something about aggression that triggers these two men. Talk runs and they’re quiet, but talk boundaries and they’re willing to rip the world apart. With his 3.6 boundaries, Stokes is pretty confident his right-cross will seal the deal, but WHACK, aided by the era disparity, Klusener responds with a left-hook to tie the round. Who could have thought?

Stokes - 10  Klusener - 10

FINAL ROUND ---> STRIKE RATE IN SUCCESSFUL CHASES: WHAT? ONE MORE TIE!

This is incredible. Absolutely incredible. After 12 rounds and 1200 odd-punches, these men stand inseparable. What is going on here? SR is the one metric where you’d think there’d be a clear-cut winner but no, they are tied on 98 and the bell has rung. Both men threw everything they had but alas, none could go through the defences of the other. Who will walk away as the victor?

RESULT:  BEN STOKES 115-115 LANCE KLUSENER. IT’S A TIE

THERE WE HAVE IT!  It’s official. It’s a tie. Unlike any other fight in Friday Fights in the past couple of months or so, this bout had way too many close rounds and rightfully, there will be no losers. 

Phew. That brings to an end an absolutely crazy night of Friday Fights featuring two men who simply were not ready to accept a loss. Perhaps it’s fitting that the bout ended this way. That’s us done for October 30, but stick around, we’ll be back with a more enthralling context in a week’s time. 

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