Teams crave for home turfs to sneak past their opposition. Spin-heavy attacks desire for spitting cobras, a potential highway is dreamt of by batsmen and pacers would possibly want live green grass all over the turf to question the dancing skills of batsmen.
Overpowering an opposition at home is pretty much expected of all major cricketing nations. The challenge lies elsewhere. Matches hosted by neutral venues are very few, but those matches throw light on every aspect of the teams - their ability to play in unfavourable conditions, their level of flexibility as per the nature of the pitch.
Neutral venues equalise the winning percentages of both the competing sides and unlike home conditions, don’t shift the odds in favour of the host nation. Pakistan has a reason to be respected. In spite of playing on neutral venues, they attained the number 1 spot in Tests just a few months ago.
Stats don’t give the full picture, but digging into them will throw light on some insights of the adaptableness of the teams and its players at neutral venues. The following is a small piece of statistics of how teams fare on neutral wickets.
Australia have stamped its authority on all three formats at neutral venues. They have taken a liking to most oppositions through some gritty piece of cricket and they haven’t been a disappointment by any stretch of the imagination.
In the Test format, they have beaten the likes of South Africa and Pakistan - two powerhouses of world cricket. In ODIs, they have been even more glittering. With win percentages between 80 and 100, Australia has rolled over four oppositions namely Bangladesh, New Zealand, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka. Nevertheless, it wasn’t a stroll in the park against India, Pakistan and West Indies.
Apart from Pakistan, their T20 endeavours have seen a smooth ride. Their loss versus Zimbabwe in Durban during the 2007 World T20, stills remains to be the lowest point of Australia in T20’s.
One Day Internationals
Bangladesh have won a handful of matches, but they have recently shown that on their day, they can send any team packing. They have won 5 of the 6 ODI wins in neutral venues, with 4 of them coming in World Cups. The tri-series match versus Australia at Cardiff in 2004 will be etched in memory as one of their remarkable ODI wins at neutral venues.
In the 2007 Caribbean World Cup, they showed the door to the Indian cricket team and in 2015, they humiliated England and reached the quarterfinals.
Pakistan fell to Bangladesh during the 1999 World Cup, when the World Cup debutants rolled over the favourites by a comprehensive margin. In T20’s they have had very little success. The victory against West Indies in the 2007 World T20 remains to be their only triumph at neutral venues.
One Day Internationals