Sydney - When a batsman throws his wicket away with a century in sight at the World Cup, he can now tell disgruntled team-mates he was blinded by science.
Researchers at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) have found that cricketers fall victim to the "nervous nineties", that spell in an innings when the doubts and caution creep in.
One-day cricket matches between 1971 and 2014 were analysed and researchers discovered that when batsmen neared major milestones they reduced their strike rate until they hit the magic number.
Then, once they reached their milestone, their strike rate increased by 45 percent and their rate of dismissal almost doubles, the study shows, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
"Obviously all the players share a common goal, which is winning the match, but batsmen have also personal rewards which has only limited impact on the team," said professor Lionel Page of the QUT's school of economics.
"Going from 99 to 100 is just one run for the team but it's huge for them."
"The psychological angle is very interesting - the stakes of being close to 100 makes you stressed," he added.
"Maybe it is the nervous nineties, maybe the batsmen stress when they are close to the milestone and that's why they decrease their risk-taking."