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Friday Fights | The Big ODI Fight - Sir Ian Botham vs Sir Richard Hadlee

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Friday Fights - January 8 edition


Friday Fights | The Big ODI Fight - Sir Ian Botham vs Sir Richard Hadlee

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Bastab K Parida


Sir Ian Botham and Sir Richard Hadlee - two knights in shining armours for their respective teams. Two undisputed legends of the sport and two great all-rounders who cricket owe so much gratitude. We too have the highest level of regard.

However, such is the nature of this column that we can’t help but put two in a ring and see the echelon coming to a standstill. Let Sir Ian Botham and Sir Richard Hadlee entertain us for the next few minutes.

Please dive in.

ROUND 1 ->  BATTING AVERAGE: Botham draws the first blood!

This is batting and you ought to give it to Botham! The man, whose brief stay often changes the dynamics of the game in a flash, averages 23.21 in ODI cricket as compared to the Kiwi man’s 21.61. This would leave Botham a point ahead of Hadlee. But this is just the beginning!

Botham 10 - 9 Hadlee

ROUND 2 -> BOWLING AVERAGE: Hadlee levels the playing field!

With Botham taking the first round, you expect Hadlee, seemingly a better bowler than a batsman, to exact his revenge. His average of 21.56 with the ball in hand is way better than the English all-rounder’s 28.54 and that gives him a big advantage in the race. With a three-point difference, the discourse becomes tough for Botham from here on.

Botham 7 - 10 Hadlee

ROUND 3 -> WICKETS PER INNINGS: Make that two for Hadlee

It is a tricky position to be in, for we have already established Hadlee was a better bowler than Botham and here is another metric that supports the notion. Botham picks 1.26 wickets per innings while Hadlee grabs 1.41 wickets per game - clearly a winner in this count and no less than two points too.

Botham 8 - 10 Hadlee

ROUND 4 -> BATTING STRIKE RATE: Botham back to the fore; watch out lads!

The game, so far, has been on the expected line with Botham dominating with the bat and Hadlee doing the same with the ball. That’s what made the all-rounder bout such a fantastic enterprise and it is visible in the R4. With a batting SR of 79.1 as compared to Hadlee’s 75.5 squares the position in the last round, with the Kiwi leading by a couple of points so far.

Botham 10 - 8 Hadlee

ROUND 5 -> FREQUENCY OF FIFTY-PLUS SCORES: Ian rides the momentum!

After grabbing the Round 4 honours, Ian Botham, as he did all the time on the cricket field, tries to impend one across and that is some statement. With 8.49% of scores crossing the 50-run mark, Hadlee leaves bewildered because his paltry statistics with 4.08% is no good. Come on, scores are level in the bout so far and we have a contest in hand.

Botham 10 - 8 Hadlee

ROUND 6 -> Bowling average in ICC tournaments: Cometh the hour, cometh the man!

Cometh the 1CC tournament, Hadlee raises the bar suddenly and his bowling average, which reads 19.13 leaves the Englishman and his fans cheering from outside the ring, stunned at their own disposal. Botham averages 25.4 and while that is fairly good, we are talking about the world-class head-to-head here. 

Botham 7 - 10 Hadlee

ROUND 7 -> RUNS PER INNINGS IN ICC TOURNAMENTS: Botham on the lead but pressure mounts!

This round is where Botham failed to take the game by the horns, where he was expected to do so, and who knows, this might become the turning point we were guessing it would be. But turns out, Botham could take only a point lead on the round. After all, 16.5 doesn’t stack against 14.9 that well.

Botham 10 - 9 Hadlee

ROUND 8 -> BATTING AVERAGE AWAY FROM HOME: Beefy soars. Usual Usual!

What a sweet unidimensional fight this is! Hadlee with all bowling points, Botham soars ahead thanks to his batting charisma. Here is another batting monument that Botham crosses and with ease, as the away from home average column reads 24.47 for Beefy as compared to Hadlee’s 20.11. C’mon guys, tighten your seatbelt as this contest enters the fag end of the contest.

Botham 10 - 8 Hadlee

ROUND 9 -> NO OF BALLS BOWLED PER GAME: Jeez, this is insane!

By now, we should have a clear winner but such is the might of this contest. Hadlee tries to pin Botham on the mat but he holds his ground. Two of the finest superstars of the 20th century leaves everyone perplexed with the kind of aura they generate, and by enduring a 9-10 battle once again in the R9, they showed why they were so celebrated. 

Botham 9 - 10 Hadlee


Once again, a pretty good battle ended really close. The New Zealand all-rounder economy of 3.30 betters the Englishman’s 3.96 as the game draws to a close with some real high-octane drama, who wins?????

Botham 9 - 10 Hadlee

WINNER - Sir Richard Hadlee

FINAL SCORE: Bothan 90 - 92 Hadlee

Bowling endured at the end as Sir Richard Hadlee, who we have already established is a far better bowler than Botham, takes the honours of this edition of Friday Fights. That is the true beauty of the sport as we see a far more peripheral tendency to see a monumental masterclass waiting. But this was as close as it would get and that is the best thing I have had on this day so far. Can’t wait till we bring back another masterful climax to you. Till then, enjoy some solid backfoot punch from Shubman Gill’s delightful bat, oops sorry we jinxed him there but he still has the skills!

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