Numbers don’t lie, they only underline the truth

PALINI R. SWAMY writes from Bangalore: Karnataka’s 6-run loss to Bombay in the finals of the Ranji Trophy at the Gangotri Glades in Mysore has now been firmly written into the records. But the ultra-thin margin hides two key facts.

One, the hosts, although deserving winners six times in the past, were up against a side that had won the Trophy six times more than them before they lifted it a 39th time on Thursday afternoon.

And two, the Karnataka comeback was riding on extremely young shoulders. A bit of number-crunching using Cricinfo puts some perspective on the significance of the home team’s effort.

# The average age of the Karnataka playing XI was 24 years; for Bombay, it was 27 years.

# Ten of the playing XI of Karnataka was 25 or under; only one (Sunil Joshi) was above 30. For Bombay, only four of the playing XI was under 25,three were under 30, and four (Wasim Jaffer, Vinayak Samant, Ajit Agarkar, Romesh Powar) were over 30.

# The finals included, the Karnataka playing XI all put together have played 373 first-class matches in all; six of them have played under 20 matches. The Bombay side have played 692,  only two under 20 matches. The difference in match-experience between the two sides was a mammoth 319 matches.

# Karnataka’s star of the match, Manish Pandey, was only playing his 14th first-class match and its bowling star, Abhimanyu Mithun, his 9th. For Bombay’s batting stars Vinayak Samant and Dhawal Kulkarni, it was their 96th and 24th match respectively. Avishkar Salvi was playing his 49th match, Ajit Agarkar his 95th.

# After the end of the finals, the Karnataka playing XI have an aggregate of 14,727 runs. The Bombay playing XI have 32,056 runs. The difference between the two sides is 17,329 runs, more than the aggregate runs scored by the home-team.

# The Karnataka playing XI now have 29 hundreds and 66 half-centuries behind them. The visitors have 70 hundreds and 156 half-centuries.

#  Where the two sides differeing in age and experience achieved some parity is in the bowling. The Karnataka side have 881 wickets in all from their 373 matches. Bombay despite have played 319 matches more have 891 wickets, a difference of a mere ten wickets despite having bowled 1,112 overs more than the hosts.

# Except for Sunil Joshi (543) and R. Vinay Kumar (195), all the Karnataka bowlers have under 50 wickets in their career. On the other hand, all the Bombay bowlers seen in action had 50 wickets or more, three of them well in excess of 100 (Ajit Agarkar 271, Romesh Powar 375 and Avishkar Salvi 148).

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