Friday, 13 January 2012


Fantasy Bob feels a heady sense of déjà vu.

Fantasy Bob feels a heady sense of déjà vu.

Now his worldwide readership does too. Old jokes never die.

Sri Lanka were all out for 43 in the first ODI against South Africa this week. Last November South Africa bowled Australia out for 47.  Among the world-shattering consequences of that event was this simpering post from FB on the incidence of prime numbers in cricket. 

FB could well eulogise about prime numbers again, their fascination is endless; but he suspects his worldwide readership of 3 (a prime of course) might find better things to do with their time. So he will confine his comment to recording that 43 is actually the lowest total in ODI cricket that is also a prime number, but Pakistan got there first in 1993 (a prime of course) when they were demolished by South Africa in Cape Town. 

But FB thinks it is time to talk of something else.

S Africa’s victory margin of 258 was the third highest run margin in ODI history. The highest ODI victory margin – 290 - was achieved in Scotland. In terms of achievement, not up with the invention of TV or logarithms or the steam engine perhaps, but significant enough.

Remarkably, Scotland itself was not involved in this match. New Zealand beat Ireland on 1 July 2008 at Mannofield in Aberdeen in the first match in a tri-series.
Aberdeen 100
on his way to his Aberdeen 100

NZ slammed their way to 402 with a stand of 247 for the first wicket between Brendon McCullum (his first ODI ton – his 166 contained 10 sixes) and James Marshall, before bowling Ireland out for 112. 

 The next day Scotland beat Ireland by 5 wickets on the back of a peerless century by Gavin Hamilton, also his first ODI ton, and Dewald Nel’s 4 for 25. 

But the pipes did not skirl for long and any feeling of smugness on the part of the Scots was obliterated in the final match of the series when New Zealand dumped them by 8 wickets. The Scots could only muster 101 in their innings, a total NZ overtook in the 15th over. 

Just to pile on the Scottish masochism, because after all that’s what we do best, Scotland’s lowest ODI total is a respectable 68 – imposed by West Indies at Leicester in the 1999 World Cup. Scotland’s heaviest runs defeat was also in the World Cup when Australia demolished them by 203 at St Kitts in 2007. 203 is not a prime number – but is the product of 2 prime numbers.

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