You have been bowled out for a frankly humiliating score.
All the opposition need to do is knock off the runs, doff their caps and shake hands while holding back a snigger.
In the changeover of innings the team atmosphere says it all. Everyone is wondering how to get out of the mess.
But it is possible.
Bowl them out
All you need to do is take 10 wickets.
Unlike some situations, winning a low scoring game will always go down to whether you can bowl them out. If you can't the runs are so easy to get you have no backup plan; no chance of a draw. If you can, you are going to win no matter how low a score you got.
Attack as a form of defence
Because you have to take wickets to win there is no point in setting your field back. They will just knock off the runs.
You might as well attack.
There's no law against having slips.
How much you attack will depend on the exact situation.
If you think your bowling is good enough to win in the conditions then get the star bowlers on as early as possible and set attacking fields with plenty of close catchers. If your judgement is correct wickets will tumble.
If you think the opposition have the batting to win easily you need to be a little cannier.
Logically you would assume the best tactic is to "squeeze" with limited over fields and get the team behind the rate. But playing this way forces the batting side to think they need a certain number of runs an over and actively look for quick singles to keep the score ticking over.
A sneakier way is take the approach of the tortoise from the 'tortoise and the hare' fable.
In that story the hare raced off, went to sleep thinking he had plenty of time while the tortoise plodded quietly to victory.
In your game it's amazing how a warm afternoon, a couple of slips and a gettable total can lull batting teams into thinking they have plenty of time too.
Keep three close catchers until desperation sets in. The rest of the field can be set to cut off the batter's favourite shots and the bowler's aim is to keep the maidens coming (the wickets will look after themselves).
Stay focused on the basics
For these tactics to work the team needs to be disciplined. One bad over can mean curtains for the match.
So everyone in the team needs to take responsibility for:
- Bowling a tight line and length, giving nothing away and forgetting about the magic ball or spell.
- Anticipating how a batsman is playing and fielding accordingly.
- Making sure you field where you are put by the captain and stop others wandering from position.
- Keeping an eye on the captain the whole game in case he needs to make quick adjustments.
- Being confident that it is possible to win, even from a dire situation.
In situations like this it only needs one thing to go wrong.
Of course, that mean sometimes there will be nothing you can do. Even if you bowl well and field like demons a pair might do enough to get set and get the runs without much effort.
But as long as you have used every bowler, not given an inch in the field and kept your lines tight you can stand tall afterwards. You won't die wondering.