In one eventful week, though, the 50-over game has presented several compelling arguments about its enduring appeal.
Pakistan and Proteas' compelling matches aid ODI appeal
DUBAI // There has been a growing debate in recent times about the one-day international (ODI) and its place in world cricket. Calls for change have grown louder and Australia are experimenting with a split-innings format in their domestic competition to make the format more appealing.
In one eventful week, though, the 50-over game has presented several compelling arguments about its enduring appeal. After Abdul Razzaq's memorable century in Abu Dhabi last Sunday, Pakistan and South Africa produced another nail-biting finish in Dubai on Tuesday.
The next day, Angelo Mathews and Lasith Malinga gave the game a further fillip by sharing in a 132-run alliance for the ninth wicket to claim a win for Sri Lanka against Australia in Melbourne.
The game had another riposte for its critics on Friday night when Pakistan scampered to a tense, one-wicket win over South Africa, off the penultimate ball, in front of a record crowd at Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
"I think [these matches] have been very exciting," Graeme Smith, the South Africa captain, said. "The four teams playing one-day cricket at the moment are doing a good job of keeping people on the edge of their seats. That's a good thing."
Waqar Younis, the Pakistan coach, said: "It was just [a great] game of cricket. The best thing about this game is, when you talk about the Pakistan batting, we didn't let them get on top of us.
"We just made sure we kept the momentum going and ensure that the run-rate should not climb on us. That, I think, is the major part where we managed to get home. We have given away games in the last six or eight months, when it comes to the crunch time. "
The fifth and final ODI takes place tomorrow in Dubai.