Friday Fights | The Big ODI Fight - Sourav Ganguly vs Matthew Hayden

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Ganguly or Hayden - who will win?


Friday Fights | The Big ODI Fight - Sourav Ganguly vs Matthew Hayden

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Bastab K Parida


One of the great romances of following cricket in the early 2000s was about seeing behemoths taking the world by fire and sticking to it for eternity. Sourav Ganguly and Matthew Hayden are two such giants that the world could never really have enough of. So why not put them together in our ring?

Two modern-day giants and two super openers who are known to have a big start. For them freshness of the pitch and the ball are all that matters. Hence it would be only prudent that we don’t relegate them any further by having a long ado. Tighten your seat belt and get ready to witness the rumble. 

ROUND 1 -> CAREER AVERAGE: Hayden draws the first blood!

In the stories of India-Aussie cricket rivalry, we have had moments of utter belligerence and some jaw-dropping knacker but hey, what a stoic man Hayden has always been. Ganguly is not bad either, replies the punch with one of his own that reads 41.02, but this is a perfect beginning for Haydos, whose career average tells me 43.8. 

Ganguly - 9   Hayden - 10


This is shambles! Ganguly, after closing on in the first round, fails to muster any sort of courage as the burly man takes the honours. Hayden’s average of 43.12 is nominally better than Ganguly’s 36.89, leaving a three-point difference between the two in our second round of fight. The Indian needs to get his act together sooner than later.

Ganguly - 7  Hayden - 10

ROUND 3 -> AVERAGE IN HOME CONDITIONS:  Ganguly is back and how!!

There you go! This is the contest we are awaiting for. The fighting and never-say-die attitude that defines Ganguly and his body of work over a period of 311 ODI matches comes to the fore as he takes the bull by its horns. With a home average of 44.42, the current BCCI president challenges Hayden and makes the game 2-1.

Ganguly - 10  Hayden - 8

ROUND 4-> STRIKE RATE : Dada shines on yet Hayden takes the cake

Here are the two of the most aggressive openers of our time, two fine practitioners of the craft. You know, Strike rate shouldn’t be the parameter that separates them. So it is imperative that Ganguly gets up just in time and closes in on the gap like a true fighter would. An SR of 73.7 is not a bad place to be during the early 2000s yet the Queensland boy, a Gilly inspired guy, scores at 78.96 to ensure he holds the perfect 10. 

Ganguly - 9  Hayden - 10


Winning was a habit for the Australians of the yore and the Indian embodied the very spirit as well. In winning causes, Ganguly has his own moment when India win games as he strikes at 76.08. But Hayden manages a slightly better 77.86 to have the upper hand yet again. Will these small margins be the eventual difference? We’ll soon find out.

Ganguly -  9 Hayden - 10


When you compare 311 matches to 161 matches, it is correct that the pure numbers without percentile arguments will give a very fake impression but there is a reason why I haven’t gone for this controversial statistic. Because the percentages in 50+ plus scores can’t keep a balance is central to the idea. The number says 31 fifty-plus scores as compared to 14 in successful chases and thus Ganguly takes the round quite convincingly.

Ganguly -  10 Hayden - 6

ROUND 7-> 50 to 100 conversions (in %) : Two in two for Dada

This is yet another round where Ganguly finds his mojo back to flatten the opponent. I mean look at it. His 50 to 100 conversion rate is a fantastic 30.55 whereas the burly Aussie does it at 21.73. This is some comeback but is it enough, looking at the larger picture?

Ganguly -  10 Hayden - 8

ROUND 8-> Average in ICC Tournaments : Ganguly chokes Hayden with an arm punch!

Turns out both the legends are behemoths in the major events and that is encapsulated by the fact that Hayden, who stays behind Dada by a huge 10 runs average, still has an average a shade over 49. You can figure out how impregnable their prowess were. Damn, this was one hell of a fight. Very little to differentiate each other even though in the middle, it seemed like a cake walk for the man from Brisbane.

Ganguly -  10  Hayden - 7


The joy is short-lived as the Prince of Kolkata falters to continue the momentum with Haydos landing a punch down his throat. SG’s average of 42.34 is pale in comparison to Hayden’s 52.24 and that means we have our first knock down. This will hurt Ganguly badly but the question is can he get up again and take down the Aussie in his own sweet and inimitable way.

Ganguly - 6  Hayden - 10

ROUND- 10 -> 50s in winning causes (in %) IT’S OVER!

IT’S OVER! HAYDOS HAS KNOCKED DADA OUT! This was coming. It was always going to be tough for Ganguly after the knockdown in the previous round and well, the inevitable happens this round, as he’s KNOCKED OUT! Ganguly striking 56.94% of his fifties in winning causes is decent, but it is no match to Hayden, whose equivalent number of 75% punches the ex-Indian skipper into oblivion. And the toll inflicted by the punch is too much for Ganguly, who collapses to the ground and is knocked out. WE HAVE A WINNER!

WINNER BY KNOCKOUT - Matthew Lawrence Hayden


What a crazy fight we just had! Two absolute superstars with the bat, whose batting was always a sideshow as compared to the larger than life character they exhibit on the field, only separated by one absolute madlad going on a rampage. What’s important is that we have a winner, and so it is the time to bask in the afterglow of this fantastic duel. Till we have another cracker next week, hope you stay safe and have a good time!

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