Chasing down big totals.
Chasing down big totals.
The latest edition of All Out Cricket (June 2016) is a Performance Special with tips from some of the best in the business including this article from Jason Roy on chasing down big totals, something he's shown he is a master of recently!
Since Twenty20 came along scores that were once seen as impossible to chase down are now being made to look like a walk in the park. At the World T20 earlier this year, England hauled in South Africa’s 229-4 with almost an over to spare. Surrey opener Jason Roy kicked off England’s reply that day, and here he explains how you go about winning a match when right from the off you require upwards of 10 an over.
1. KEEP IT SIMPLE
When you’ve got a big chase on – like we had against South Africa in the World T20 – you need to make sure you watch the ball. It sounds obvious but it’s key, especially when you might be tempted to be too aggressive too early.
When you’re chasing such a big total, you can afford a couple of dot balls, but your boundary rate needs to be high so you are playing stronger shots and you are looking to play through the line. You will need an element of luck as well.
2. DON'T NEGLECT THE SINGLES
What you can’t afford to forget is singles. You will be thinking boundaries, but if you get a ball that you can’t hit for four or six, and you are able to get a one, that’s a huge thing. It boosts your strike-rate and it gets the other fella on strike who might have an answer to that ball. A good ball to you might be a bad ball to your mate at the other end. It’s natural to be focused on fours and sixes, but you can’t focus on simply slogging it out of the ground. You need to rotate the strike.
3. BE SMART
A bit of thinking ahead of your innings can help. You know you need to think about your boundary options, you know you need to think about where you can pick up your ones and twos, but even something like changing your guard can help in a big chase. If there’s a really big boundary on one side and a small one on the other, maybe you’ll bat on off stump to favour the leg-side as opposed to batting on leg stump to favour the off-side. It’s about being smart – it’s not just about going out there and throwing your hands at everything. You’ve got to play proper shots and hit those gaps.
4. KNOW YOUR AREAS
Have a look at the field and assess your options. If you hit the ball straight and it goes past the bowler, most of the time – even if the fielder’s on the ring – you’ll be able to sprint a one. If he bowls a good-length ball outside off stump you know that you can run it down to third-man, and that will be a single. And if you drop it at your toes, assuming your mate at the other end is ready to run, there’s another single. There really are single options all round the ground, especially when the opposition know that you need to go at eight or 10 an over.
5. REMEMBER YOUR TRAINING
Your training becomes so important in situations like this. When you’re in the nets, try and get your coach to employ different scenarios so that when you’re out in the middle it’s not a new situation. It might be a case of him saying: ‘Third-man’s up and point’s up, that’s a boundary option.’ If you’ve done that and practised it enough, it’s almost like a muscle-memory thing when you actually find yourself in that situation in the middle. You’ll know where you’re able to hit it.
6. SHAPE THE GAME
Ideally you need to be able to manipulate the field so that the areas on offer are more in your favour. It makes the opposition captain think. If you start a one-day or T20 game by going over the top against the seamer, he might then be forced to bring up his square-leg. That means if the bowler then drops short, you can flick him over square-leg.
While there are a number of things you can do to manipulate the field, it can be tempting to be too funky early on. Make sure you get the balance right. Don’t try and hit into an unnatural area in the hope of moving a fielder. I try to stick to my strengths early on.