Michael Bevan: A white-ball finisher like no other
Australia’s Michael Bevan set the template for finishers in white-ball cricket.
The worth of each ball in white-ball cricket is equivalent to every other ball, or is it? Perhaps not. The original finisher Michael Bevan offered a different perspective – even if the team is lagging behind in most parts of the game, if you can take care of the last 5-10 overs and engineer it well, the result might still go in your favour.
Bevan, who set the template of white-ball finishing for guys like MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli to follow, had the best average (53.58) among batsmen who scored over 8000 runs when he called it a day from international cricket.
Although the left-hand batter was not a big success in test cricket and could manage only 18 games for Australia, he was an absolute hit in ODI cricket and scored 6912 runs from 232 one-day matches, including six centuries and 46 half centuries. This is commendable given the fact that he batted in the lower middle order for most of his career.
Bevan scored 2882 runs while chasing from 81 ODI innings at an average of 56.5 and a strike rate of 67.6. During these innings, he relied on singles and doubles, and picked his time and place for a boundary. As he was churning the strike consistently, all he needed was a couple of boundaries to catch up with the required run rate.
In the winning cause, Bevan scored 4502 runs from 122 ODI innings at an average of 65.24 and a strike rate of 75.65. During these matches, he scored five centuries and 32 half-centuries.
From 1994 to 2004, the span in which Michael Bevan was an active international cricketer, Australia seldom lost anyway. On occasions when the team was on the back foot with five-six wickets down and a considerable amount of runs still to chase, Michael Bevan emerged out of nowhere. He soaked up the pressure like a sponge through singles and doubles and before you knew, he handheld Australia over the line.
Bevan took Australia to victory in more than 62% of the games in which he batted. The wins, of course, had contributions from some of the greatest ODI players of all time like Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne.
However, when Australia found themselves in a spot of bother, especially while chasing, Michael Bevan was there more often than not to bail out the Kangaroos.