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Was Brad Hodge’s Man of the Match Award really unjustified?

Brad Hodge (batting in picture) took Australia home in the T20I played at Durban © Getty Images
Brad Hodge (batting in picture) took Australia to victory in the T20I played at Durban © Getty Images

A two-ball effort from Brad Hodge had won him a Man of the Match award in the match against South Africa at Kingsmead. There have been questions regarding the justification of the award. Abhishek Mukherjee tries to probe further…

Australia required 15 off the last over to win the rain-curtailed Twenty20 International (T20I) (having been reduced to seven overs, it should ideally have been called a S7I) at Kingsmead. Two of the three “senior-citizen” Brads of the side — Hodge and Haddin — were at the crease. Hodge was batting on an innocuous five-ball eight that included a boundary that had come off a slash over point off Beuran Hendricks.

Wayne Parnell ran in. Hodge lofted the ball to long-on for a single, to which Haddin responded with a leg-bye. Australia required 13 runs from four deliveries now; Hodge was batting on a six-ball nine.

Parnell erred in line twice in succession and was dispatched on both occasions over the mid-wicket boundary; desperate by then, he tried to bowl a bouncer that turned out to be so high that it was called a wide. Australia had won by five wickets with two balls to spare.

It was one of those T20 matches that we get to see a lot these days. What caused a stir in the cricket fraternity, though, was the fact that Hodge was awarded Man of the Match (ahead of David Warner, who had smashed 40 in 16 balls) for his eight-ball effort of 21, or rather for his two-ball effort at the end.

Whether Warner was a worthier candidate can always be debated. The main question, though, is whether a two-ball effort should be enough to give someone a Man of the Match award.

Let us not forget that the match was a seven-over one. Hodge played 19.0% of the balls in the innings. Converting this to a fifty-over match, Hodge’s effort amounts to 57 balls. Even in a full twenty-over encounter that would have accounted for 23 balls.

Eight days before the match in question Shahid Afridi had pulled off a blinder against Bangladesh at Mirpur, reaching his fifty in 18 balls and finishing with a 25-ball 59, facing a mere 8.3% of the balls bowled in the innings. He was not the first, though: there have been other instances of winning the Man of the Match as well where the batsman has not been the top-scorer and had faced a lower proportion of balls in the team innings than Hodge had.

Player

Match

Total balls allotted to team

Runs scored

Balls faced

% balls faced

Top scorer

Comments

Jos Buttler

Trent Bridge, 2013

300

47

16

5.3%

Ian Bell 82

Douglas Marillier

Faridabad, 2001-02

300

56

24

8.0%

Alastair Campbell 84

Shahid Afridi

Mirpur, 2013-14

300

59

25

8.3%

Ahmed Shehzad 103

(nothing of note with the ball)

Shahid Afridi

Bristol, 2006

120

28

10

8.3%

Mohammad Hafeez 46

(nothing of note with the ball)

Simon O’Donnell

Sharjah, 1990

300

74

29

9.7%

Dean Jones 117

(nothing of note with the ball)

Jos Buttler

Edgbaston, 2012

66

32

10

15.2%

Craig Kieswetter 50

Brad Hodge

Kingsmead, 2013-14

42

21

8

19.0%

David Warner 40

 

You see, the adjudicators can hardly be blamed.

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Deputy Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in and can be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42)

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