Rating the toughest countries for batsmen in ODIs since 2000

In an era where the contest between bat and ball is actively declining, with the bat ruling the roost in almost every game, making bowlers look like minions, I set out on a hunt to find lands that can provide bowlers some respite.

It was a hunt from a bowler’s perspective, where I go in search of an iota of greenery in the middle of a long-stretching, never ending desert. I want to find a place where life is easy and breathing is tranquil. As a result of a little research, I have listed down the countries where dreary bowlers can retire and sip fresh king coconut juice under a coconut tree while sprawling in a hammock, ogling at an aqua coloured ocean.

I considered the following criteria to come up with the ranking:

  • Number of scores in excess of 300
  • Number of successful chases in excess of 300
  • The highest ODI score in each country
  • The hishest run chases in each country
  • The average runs per wicket
  • The average runs per over

The numbers and stats relative to the above criteria for each country was listed in the ascending order. The first in the list was given 11 points and the points would sequentially reduce until the last item which would gain 1 point. For instance, number of scores in excess of 300 for each country is as follows.

Host CountryMatchesPoints
New Zealand236
Sri Lanka235
West Indies304
South Africa452

The list was sorted in the ascending order according to the number of 300 plus scores with the top most item gaining 11 and the last getting 1.

Then the aggregate of points for all the above criteria was found and thus the countries were positioned according to the level of difficulty the batsmen will have to endure against the bowlers. The higher the points, the tougher it is for the batsmen.


#11 India

India - Rating the toughest countries for batsmen in ODIs since 2000With minuscule grounds and flat tracks, it is no wonder that India is the toughest place for bowlers. Batting in India has notoriously become a task of shooting a fish in a barrel with bowlers made to look like laboratory rats.Needless to say, India has the highest number of 300 plus scores since 2000. 61 scores in excess of 300 have been scored which is 16 more than the second highest number of 300 plus scores in a country. India also leads the pack in the highest number of successful 300 plus chases, with teams batting second being able to emerge victorious on 15 occasions. South Africa, who sit second have witnessed only 6 such incidents.418 is the highest ever ODI score recorded in India, which is the second most in the list. Chasing scores have always been a walk in the park, with the highest chase being 362.

India also possesses the highest average runs per wicket, 34.32. Flow of runs has had little restraints. An average run rate of 5.42 vouches for the above statement.

Number of 300+ scores611
Number of 300+ chases151
Highest ODI score4182
Highest run chase3622
Runs per wicket34.321
Run rate per over5.421
Total Points8


#10 South Africa

South Africa - Rating the toughest countries for batsmen in ODIs since 2000It is diametrically perplexing and out rightly flabbergasting to find South Africa occupying the 10th spot. Who would not open his mouth wide seeing a country that has historically favoured faster bowlers being demarcated as a batsman’s happy hunting place? Even though, in Tests, the rainbow nation has seamer-friendly tracks, in the shorter formats, the pitches become somewhat favourable for the batsmen.Small grounds and pitches that offer good bounce where balls come on to the bat at a good pace, have helped batsmen score runs easily. It should also be noted that, it was in South Africa, the record-breaking chase of 438 was achieved leaving many cricket fans awestruck.45 times, teams have managed to go passed 300 in the homeland of the Proteas which is the second highest. 5 times, the team batting second has managed to chase down a target in excess of 300.

The highest ODI chase of 438 in South Africa is incidentally also the highest successful chase ever achieved on the blue planet.

The African nation, however averages just 30.5 runs per wicket in ODIs which is relatively low. Runs come at 4.96 runs per over, which is the sixth lowest on the list.

Number of 300+ scores612
Number of 300+ chases152
Highest ODI score4181
Highest run chase3621
Runs per wicket34.326
Run rate per over4.966
Total Points18


#9 New Zealand

New Zealand - Rating the toughest countries for batsmen in ODIs since 2000New Zealand possess the weirdest shaped cricket grounds in the world, with grounds of all polygonal shapes stretching across the oceanic archipelago.Flat stadiums sans gigantic concrete stands and windy outfields make bowling an uphill task. Teams also struggle to come to terms with the angles that need to be covered in the field which are disparate for the idiosyncratic shapes of the ground. The pitches are generally flat and the grounds are incredibly small making New Zealand a batsman’s favourite.There have been 23 instances of scores surpassing 300 and 3 times a score of more than 300 has been successfully hunted down. The highest score made in the Kiwi nation is 392 which is 5th highest.

350 is the highest score chased down in New Zealand. In the picturesque venues of the Maori nation, teams score 31.33 runs per wicket which is only bettered by India and Pakistan. The run rate is also significantly high, with each over going for 5.15 runs on the average.

Number of 300+ scores236
Number of 300+ chases39
Highest ODI score3925
Highest run chase3503
Runs per wicket31.333
Run rate per over5.153
Total Points29


#8 Pakistan

Pakistan - Rating the toughest countries for batsmen in ODIs since 2000

Despite owning some of the world’s flattest tracks along with her neighbour, Pakistan finds itself 8th on the list much due to no international matches having been played since 2009. Just like India, Pakistan is a torrid place to tour for bowlers.

Pakistani tracks average 33.53 runs per wicket which is slightly lesser than that of India. Runs also come at a faster rate than most countries, with every over going for 5.22 runs on average which is only below that of India.

311 is the highest successful chase in Pakistan, and with no matches played since 2009, that number could have been higher. The highest score stroked in Pakistan is 374. 5 times a score in excess of 300 has been successfully chased down and there have been 22 instances of 300 plus score.

Number of 300+ scores228
Number of 300+ chases53
Highest ODI score3748
Highest run chase3119
Runs per wicket33.532
Run rate per over5.222
Total Points32


#7 England

England - Rating the toughest countries for batsmen in ODIs since 2000The seamer-friendly and luscious grounds of England are the toughest places to bat on. England is a precedent for how cricket grounds should be in the modern era, providing assistance for both batsmen and bowlers.The ball swings early in the innings and batsmen, if they are well equipped to live through the early struggle, then can reap the rewards of good batting turfs.Wickets come at 30.93 runs a piece, with 5.03 runs coming off every over. Hitherto, 22 triple hundreds have been scored by teams and 4 times they have been successfully chased down. 391 is the highest score hit by a team and 326 is the highest chase accomplished.

Number of 300+ scores228
Number of 300+ chases44
Highest ODI score3916
Highest run chase3267
Runs per wicket30.935
Run rate per over5.034
Total Points34


#6 Australia

Australia - Rating the toughest countries for batsmen in ODIs since 2000

Australia remains impartial and favours anyone who is ready to put in an effort. A technically sound batsman who is ready to apply himself will plunder down under, while bowlers who bend their backs trouble batsmen.

The humongous size of the grounds makes big hitting reserved only to the genuine strikers of the cricket ball. The tracks offer minimal lateral movement for the ball in contrast to England and the pace of the wicket aids both batsmen and bowlers equally.

Teams have managed to pile up a score in excess of 300 34 times in Australia while thrice a score of more than 300 has been chased down with success. The highest score plonked in Australia is 368. 334 is the highest score successfully chased down under.

30.29 runs are scored per wicket and an over sees an average of 5.02 runs coming off it.

Number of 300+ scores343
Number of 300+ chases39
Highest ODI score36810
Highest run chase3344
Runs per wicket30.297
Run rate per over5.025
Total Points38


#5 Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe - Rating the toughest countries for batsmen in ODIs since 2000Batting has always been difficult in the slow surfaces of Harare and Bulawayo. The early morning moisture dampens the turf, making the pitch tacky with ball holding on to the surface, making run-making a horrendous experience. But as the day progresses, the sun beats down baking the track, hence making it flat and conducive for batting.21 times 300 plus scores have been scored in Zimbabwe which is comparatively low considering the fact that visiting teams have to be contend with a below par bowling attack of Zimbabwe. A score in excess of 300 has been chased down thrice successfully with the highest chase being 329. 397 is the highest score recorded on the soil of the African nation.Runs in Zimbabwe come at 31.16 per wicket with the average run rate being 4.88.

Number of 300+ scores219
Number of 300+ chases39
Highest ODI score3974
Highest run chase3296
Runs per wicket31.164
Run rate per over4.887
Total Points39


#4 West Indies

West Indies - Rating the toughest countries for batsmen in ODIs since 2000The Calypso land is 4th on the list, much due to the old un-relaid tracks that have increasingly become slower over the years. The Caribbean tracks which were once known for their venomous pace and carry, have slowed down so much that they are now commensurate to sub-continental turfs.Although 4th on the list, 300 plus scores have been no scarcity in the archipelago with 30 scores in excess of 300 being recorded since 2000. However, only thrice a score in excess of 300 has been chased down successfully.The highest ODI score in West Indies is 413, which came in the 2007 World Cup when the Indian batting line-up shredded the bowling line up of Bermuda. West Indies is also one of the four countries in which a score in excess of 400 has been scored.

In contrast, chasing has constantly been an arduous task with the highest chase in the Windies being only 313. The average runs per wicket in the Caribbean land is under 30 and only three other countries share that feat. The average of 29.4 per wicket is the fourth least in the catalogue.

The mean run rate in the calypso land is 4.83 which is a tad faster than that of UAE.

Number of 300+ scores304
Number of 300+ chases39
Highest ODI score4133
Highest run chase3138
Runs per wicket29.48
Run rate per over4.838
Total Points40


#3 Bangladesh

Bangladesh - Rating the toughest countries for batsmen in ODIs since 2000Another Asian country makes another surprise entry into the toughest places for batsmen.Just like the wickets in Sri Lanka, Bangladeshi wickets are also slow low bouncy tracks that make stroke-making a hell of a task. The pitch in Dhaka is known for its nonpartisan nature and the turf in Chittagong that is graced by the wind from the Bay of Bengal is a spinner’s paradise.Since 2000, there have been only 14 300 plus scores which is the second least in the list. When a score in excess of 300 was put on the board, only three times have they been successfully chased.

The highest score ever achieved in the Bengal nation is 370 which is the third least. The highest run-chase is 330 and only in Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa has a score higher than this been chased.

The delta nation has the second least average runs per wicket with each wicket falling after scoring 28.59 runs. Bangladesh also has the least run rate among all countries which shows how onerous batting is in the South Asian country.

Number of 300+ scores1410
Number of 300+ chases39
Highest ODI score3709
Highest run chase3305
Runs per wicket28.5910
Run rate per over4.7111
Total Points54


#2 Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka - Rating the toughest countries for batsmen in ODIs since 2000

The emerald isle in the middle of the Indian Ocean which is known for its languid, happy-go-lucky lifestyle does not fail to consign the same to the bowlers. As it is the case with UAE, even though Sri Lankan pitches are generally misconstrued to be flat, the numbers extracted paint a different picture.

In contrast to the popular belief, Sri Lankan tracks often are treacherous for batting sides. The pitches in the island nation are slow low turners that make run making an uphill task. The grounds are also gargantuan in size with the ground in Hambantota covering an area of 2.5 acres.

Rain throughout the year sometimes leaves the turf damp, making stroke-making, a task of swimming against the tide.

There have been 23 instances of a score in excess of 300 in Sri Lanka, which is the 5th highest together with New Zealand. Out of the 183 matches played, chasing 300 has always been a dead loss.

The highest score ever achieved in Sri Lanka is 385 which is the 7th in the lowest. Sri Lanka has been the least favorable venue for run-chasing, with 289 being the highest run-chase ever attained. This tops the list with only UAE being the only other  land where chasing 300 has been a gruesome task.

Sri Lanka has the least average among all countries with runs coming at the rate of 27.84 per wicket. As far as run-rate is concerned, Sri Lanka has the second least runs per six balls, 4.72 which is slightly faster than Bangladesh’s 4.71.

Number of 300+ scores235
Number of 300+ chases011
Highest ODI score3857
Highest run chase28911
Runs per wicket27.8411
Run rate per over4.7110
Total Points55


#1 UAE

UAE - Rating the toughest countries for batsmen in ODIs since 2000UAE, shockingly has become a heaven for the bowlers, even though it possesses Sharjah, a ground that is renowned for the plethora of runs that are spawned off the bats. For all those who still dwell in the memory of the domain of Sachin’s regal onslaught in the Arabian country, UAE would forever be a country of some fragrant recounting.Despite the uninhibited flood of runs, UAE sits top in the list of countries that are pro-bowlers. Since 2009, the country caressing the Persian gulf has been the home for Pakistan and has hosted an aggregate of 103 matches which is higher than Pakistan’s 80.Though it is an apocrypha that the turfs in UAE are flat, there is no denying the fact that the pitch offers assistance to the seamers in the early part of an innings. The mega size of the grounds clubbed with the slowness associated with the itches have contributed to comparatively lower scores. UAE offers good sporting tracks where good bowlers get adequate blood to slurp while batsmen of supreme quality feast unabashedly.

Out of the 103 matches played since 2000, there have been only 5 instances of a 300 plus score, which is ridiculously tiny in comparison to some of the heart-shattering returns in the other countries. Along with Sri Lanka, no team has ever managed to humble down an opposition after conceding a score in excess of 300.

The highest score ever recorded in UAE is 326 which is the least in the list. The highest successful chase here is 295, which is second only to Sri Lanka’s 289.

The oil-rich country has the third least runs per wicket, with each wicket falling at a cost of 28.97 runs. The run rate of 4.77 is only below Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Number of 300+ scores511
Number of 300+ chases011
Highest ODI score32611
Highest run chase29510
Runs per wicket28.979
Run rate per over4.779
Total Points61

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