You read/hear a lot about how teams deep data to figure out appropriate match-ups and strategies. What you don’t hear — and what is actually quite risible — is that most teams (and broadcasters) source their data from the same two or three sources. This is an attempt to give you an idea of what a standard data pack, of the kind used by team think-tanks, looks like. The case in point is the quarterfinal, tomorrow, between India and New Zealand. (PS: I am not extrapolating from all of this, or even suggesting some or all of it will have a bearing — think of this merely as a taster menu of the sort of statistical inputs teams rely on).

#1. India has won five of the six knockout games they have played in ICC tournaments in England, the sole defeat being the 2017 Champions’ Trophy loss.

Win % in Knockouts at England – ICC ODIs

 

Teams Mts Won Lost Win %
India 6 5 1 83
England 9 3 6 33
Australia 4 1 2 25
New Zealand 2 0 2 0

#2. The opening partnership is India’s biggest weapon in this World Cup. And KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma are by far the best opening combination of the ten teams, having put on three hundred-plus partnerships in six games.

Best average for opening partnerships in CWC 2019

Partnership Inns Runs Avg Run Rate 50s/100s
Rohit Sharma – KL Rahul 6 549 91.5 5.7 0/3
Jonny Bairstow – Jason Roy 5 424 84.8 6.8 0/3
Aaron Finch – David Warner 9 662 73.6 5.5 3/3
Dimuth Karunaratne – Kusal Perera 6 320 53.3 6.4 2/1
Quinton de Kock – Aiden Markram 3 150 50.0 5.2 1/0

India has four 50+ opening stands in the eight games played in the league phase — and each time, they have converted the 50+ into 100+ which is to say, if they get in they stay in. Related, KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma Sharma are the only pair to post 150+ runs as an opening pair twice in this World Cup.

#3. This plays into a larger pattern in the World Cup. Whenever an opening partnership, of any team, crosses 50, the team ends up winning 88% of the time.  For India, it is even better — the side has not lost a single game where the opening stand was worth over 50.

When the openers put on 50 or more runs for the opening wicket

  Mat Won Lost Win%
Overall 25 22 3 88
India 4 4 0 100

#4. The opening partnership has been particularly critical when batting first — India scores 300 or more when the openers put up a partnership worth over 50. On the two occasions the side didn’t score 300 batting first, the opening partnership were just 7 and 29.

India while batting first in CWC 2019

Match Opening partnership Final score Result Venue
Aus Vs Ind, 09/06/2019 127 352/5 Won Kennington Oval
Ind Vs Pak, 16/06/2019 136 336/5 Won Old Trafford
Afg Vs Ind, 22/06/2019 7 224/8 Won The Rose Bowl
Ind Vs WI, 27/06/2019 29 268/7 Won Old Trafford
Ban Vs Ind, 02/07/2019 180 314/9 Won Edgbaston

#5. When Rohit and Dhawan bat together, Dhawan is the aggressor while Rohit takes time to get into his innings. It is completely different now, with Rohit going after the bowling while Rahul takes time to build his innings.

Rohit Sharma while batting with his opening partner in CWC 2019

Rohit Inns Runs Avg SR
With Rahul 6 309 77.3 107
With Dhawan 2 62 62 70

#6. In this World Cup, Rohit averages 70 against pace, and over 230 against spin — the highest average of any batsman from the competing teams against spinners (and this is at a healthy 107 strike rate).

Rohit Sharma in CWC 2019

Pace/Spin Inns Runs Wkts Avg SR
Pace 7 415 6 69.2 95
Spin 7 232 1 232 107

 

Best average against spinners in CWC 2019

Player Inns Runs Dis Avg SR
Rohit Sharma 7 232 1 232 107
Jonny Bairstow 7 185 1 185 108
Aaron Finch 7 182 1 182 136
Mushfiqur Rahim 7 170 1 170 104
Joe Root 8 169 1 169 104

#7. Rohit was prone to struggle against left-arm pace — and he will come up against one of the best in class tomorrow in Trent Boult. But he has overcome that weakness — in 2019, he has been dismissed just once by a left arm quick inside the first 10 overs, and averages over 76 against the breed.

Rohit Sharma vs LAP in overs 1-10 in ODIs post CWC 2015

Period Inn Runs Dismissals Avg SR Dot%
Till 2019 29 202 7 28.9 78 65.5%
In 2019 13 102 1 102.0 58 71.7%

Despite that, the Boult-Rohit match-up can be interesting, given their record against each other. In India’s tour to NZ earlier this year, Rohit was dismissed just once by Boult but found it hard to score off him; Boult, incidentally, was the one who dismissed Rohit in the pre-Cup warm-up game.

Rohit vs Trent Boult in ODIs

  Inns Runs Dism Avg SR
Overall 12 88 4 22 64
India in NZ, 2019 5 32 1 32 49

#7: Rohit Sharma is 26 runs short of becoming the batsman with the highest run tally in a single World Cup.

Most runs in a single World Cup season

Player Year Inn Runs Avg SR 50s/100s
Sachin Tendulkar 2003 11 673 61.18 89.3 6/1
Matthew Hayden 2007 10 659 73.22 101.1 1/3
Rohit Sharma 2019 8 647 92.43 98.8 1/5

Rohit Sharma scored 977 runs in World Cups in 16 innings; if he manages to score 23 more runs, he will become the fastest to 1000 runs in World Cups, beating the record currently held by both AB de Villiers and Sachin Tendulkar.

Fastest to 1000 World Cup runs

Player Inns
Sachin Tendulkar 20
AB de Villiers 20
Mark Waugh 21
Sourav Ganguly 21
Viv Richards 21

#8. Rohit Sharma has a great record in ICC knockouts where he averages 67.2 overall; it goes up to 85.5 in World Cups.

Rohit Sharma in knockouts

Tournament Inn Runs Avg SR 50s/100s
ICC events 6 336 67.2 91 0/2
CWC 2 171 85.5 98 0/1

However, 260 of his 336 runs have come against Bangladesh, against whom he averages 266, while it is just 19 against other teams.

Rohit Sharma in ICC knockouts

Opponent Inn Runs Balls Avg SR 50s/100s
Bangladesh 2 260 255 260 102 0/2
Others 4 76 115 19 66 0/0

#9. KL Rahul, has been getting off to good starts on a consistent basis and hardly ever gets out inside the first 10 overs. He sees off the new ball, gets a start and then throws his wicket away — a pattern he finally broke in India’s last league game with a century.

KL Rahul – phase-wise in CWC 2019

Phase Inns Runs Balls Dismissals Avg SR
1 to 10 6 109 178 1 109.0 61
11 to 40 6 231 274 5 46.2 84
41 to 50 2 20 7 1 20.0 286

Among openers of all teams, only Jason Roy has a better average than Rahul inside the first 10 overs.

Best average for an opener in overs 1-10 in CWC 2019

Player Inn Runs Avg
Jason Roy 5 120 120
KL Rahul 6 109 109
David Warner 9 169 84.5
Rohit Sharma 8 168 84
Kusal Perera 6 153 76.5

However, the scoring rate has been a concern for Rahul, as he strikes at just over 60 inside overs 1-10, the worst for any opener in the tournament. He usually hits the run-a-ball mark as his score approaches 50.

Worst SR for an opener in overs 1-10 in CWC 2019 (min 3 inns)

Player Inn Runs SR
KL Rahul 6 109 61
Noor Ali Zadran 3 46 63
Tamim Iqbal 8 146 65
Evin Lewis 4 45 68
Hashim Amla 7 81 69

#10. MS Dhoni has been getting flak for the rate at which he scores his runs in the middle overs.

MS Dhoni – phase-wise in CWC 2019

Phase Inns Runs Dismissals Avg SR
11 to 40 5 58 0 57
41 to 50 7 165 5 33 120

Among all batsmen in this Cup, only Mohammad Nabi has a worse SR than MS Dhoni in the middle overs; what he has going for him is that unlike the others in his list, Dhoni doesn’t get dismissed as often in this phase.

Lowest SR for a batsman in middle-overs in CWC 2019

Player Inns Runs Balls Dismissals Avg SR
Mohammad Nabi 8 70 131 6 11.7 53
MS Dhoni 5 58 102 0  – 57
Hashmatullah Shahidi 7 174 304 5 34.8 57
Ikram Ali Khil 5 110 186 4 27.5 59
Dhananjaya de Silva 6 62 104 3 20.7 60

Dhoni averages 44 against pace and spin alike; the difference lies in the strike rate: Dhoni goes at 127 SR against pace, but just 47 against spin. One caveat is that spin is usually used in the middle overs where Dhoni is in any case slow.

MS Dhoni vs spin/pace in CWC 2019

Pace/Spin Inns Runs Wkts Avg SR Dot% Bdry%
Pace 7 179 4 44.75 123 36.55% 53.63%
Spin 5 44 1 44 47 59.57% 9.09%

And finally, MS Dhoni has the worst strike rate among all batsmen who have faced more than 50 balls in the tournament.

Lowest SR against spinners in CWC 2019 (min 50 balls)

Player Inns Runs Dismissals Avg SR
MS Dhoni 5 44 1 44 47
Hashim Amla 5 49 1 49 58
Gulbadin Naib 7 48 2 24 58
Tamim Iqbal 3 42 1 42 60
Fakhar Zaman 5 42 4 10.5 61

It will be interesting if Dhoni walks out when Mitchell Santner is bowling — while MS averages 50 against Santner, his strike rate against the Kiwi is just 57.

#11. India’s think tank will be puzzling over which spinner to pick for the semis, with indications being that Jadeja will play as the spinning all-rounder. The data points the think tank will be poring through:

Indian Spinners in 2019 CWC

Bowler Inns Runs Wkts BBI Avg Econ SR
Kuldeep Yadav 7 337 6 2/32 56.2 5 67
Yuzvendra Chahal 7 379 11 4/51 34.5 5.9 34.9
Ravindra Jadeja 1 40 1 1/40 40 4 60

Chahal ranks third in the list of wicket taking spin bowlers in this tourrnament.

Most Wickets by a spinner in 2019 CWC

Bowler Inns Runs Wkts Avg Econ SR
Imran Tahir 8 374 11 34 4.9 41.5
Shakib Al Hasan 8 399 11 36.3 5.4 40.4
Yuzvendra Chahal 7 379 11 34.5 5.9 34.9
Mohammad Nabi 9 335 10 33.5 4.6 43.6
Shadab Khan 6 320 9 35.6 5.5 38.7

Additionally, Chahal does well against New Zealand.

Most wickets for Chahal against Opponents in 2019

Opponent Inns Runs Wkts Avg Econ SR
South Africa 7 313 20 15.7 5 18.7
Australia 7 356 15 23.7 5.7 25.2
New Zealand 8 353 13 27.2 5.1 31.8
Sri Lanka 6 294 11 26.7 4.9 32.7
West Indies 4 199 7 28.4 5.4 31.7

So it should be Chahal ahead of Kuldeep, right? Kuldeep has not had a great World Cup so far, with just six wickets in seven innings at an average of 56.2.

Worst Avg for a spinner in 2019 CWC [min 250 balls]

Bowler Inns Runs Wkts Avg Econ SR
Mitchell Santner 7 278 4 69.5 5.1 81
Rashid Khan 8 416 6 69.3 5.8 71.8
Mehidy Hasan 7 341 6 56.8 5.1 67
Kuldeep Yadav 7 337 6 56.2 5 67
Adil Rashid 9 433 8 54.1 5.9 55.5

Except, Kuldeep has a great record against the current New Zealand batsmen, particularly Kane Williamson.

Kuldeep Yadav against 2019 CWC NZ batsmen in ODIs

Batsman Inns Runs Wkts Avg Econ SR
Kane Williamson 3 18 2 9 4.3 12.5
Tom Latham 4 59 1 59 6 59
Lockie Ferguson 2 8 1 8 3.4 14
Colin de Grandhomme 1 3 1 3 2.3 8
Henry Nicholls 3 11 1 11 3 22
Martin Guptill 1 7 0 0 5.3 0
Ross Taylor 3 42 0 0 5.4 0

Actually, all Indian spinners do well against Williamson in ODIs:

 

Bowler Inns Runs Dismissals Avg SR
Ravindra Jadeja 5 92 2 46 77
Kedar Jadhav 6 64 2 32 79
Yuzvendra Chahal 4 53 2 26.5 77
Kuldeep Yadav 3 18 2 9 72

#12: In contrast to India’s opening pair, New Zealand’s openers have been ordinary, averaging just over 31 as a pair and getting out on average every 4.2 deliveries — in the latter metric, only the West Indies have been worse.

Only WI openers have a worse average stay at the crease than NZ.

Team Inns Runs Avg Avg Stay at Crease
India 8 689 86.1 15.3
Australia 9 662 73.6 13.3
England 9 564 62.7 9.4
Sri Lanka 7 324 46.3 7.1
South Africa 9 312 39 6.5
Bangladesh 8 276 34.5 6.3
Afghanistan 9 244 27.1 5.3
Pakistan 8 237 29.6 6.1
New Zealand 8 220 31.4 4.2
West Indies 8 99 12.4 3.3

It’s not just the lack of partnerships — the two openers haven’t done well individuals either. New Zealand’s openers have scored only 299 runs in eight innings, the lowest in this tournament. They have contributed only 17.8% of the team’s runs, which again is the lowest for any team.

Least runs contribution by openers in 2019 CWC

Team Inns Runs Wkts SR Avg Runs/Wkt Contribution %
New Zealand 8 299 12 83 19.3 17.8
Bangladesh 8 414 9 79 32.9 18.1
West Indies 8 421 9 80 26.9 21.3
Afghanistan 9 418 8 80 37.8 22.8
Pakistan 8 491 7 90 53.7 24.2
Sri Lanka 7 470 7 77 42.6 28.9
South Africa 9 587 7 77 37.6 30.3
England 9 943 6 94 44.5 34.7
Australia 9 1145 5 77 70 42.7
India 8 1095 4 74 78 47.7

Their average runs per wicket is 21. 4, which is the lowest in the tournament. New Zealand’ openers have lasted only 24 balls per wicket, which is the lowest amongst all the 10 teams. In the first powerplay, New Zealand has lost 12 wickets, the most of any team in this Cup.

Most wickets lost by openers in overs 1 to 10 in 2019 CWC

Team Inns Runs Wkts SR Avg Runs/Wkt
New Zealand 8 231 12 83 19.3
Afghanistan 9 296 9 79 32.9
West Indies 8 242 9 80 26.9
Bangladesh 8 302 8 80 37.8
England 9 376 7 90 53.7
South Africa 9 298 7 77 42.6
Pakistan 8 263 7 77 37.6
Sri Lanka 7 267 6 94 44.5
Australia 9 350 5 77 70
India 8 312 4 74 78

New Zealand’s Munro and Guptill started off their 2019 WC campaign registering fifties in their tournament opener against SL. Since then, they have had a rough patch. Munro owing to his poor form has been replaced by Nicholls and his scores read 8, 0 in the two innings he opened.

New Zealand openers in 2019 CWC

Player Inn Runs Dismissals Avg SR Ducks
Martin Guptill 8 166 7 23.7 88 2
Colin Munro 6 125 5 25.0 98 1
Henry Nicholls 2 8 2 4.0 38 1

The Kiwis also have the record for the most first ball ducks in this World Cup:

Team Wkts
2019 New Zealand 4
2011 Ireland 2
2019 England 2
1996 Sri Lanka 2
2015 Sri Lanka 2

Ummm, there is a lot more where these came from — the average data pack sent to teams (and broadcasters, and media houses) weighs in at about 122 pages, and covers every single statistic you could think of (how each particular batsman fares against right arm quicks, left arm quicks, off spinners, leg spinners, their most frequent modes of dismissals, you name it).

So now you know why commentators sound so sharp when they talk of which bowler to use against which batsman, and discuss permutations and combinations — they have this kind of material to work with.

Question, which you can answer in comments, if you feel like it: As viewers/readers of cricket, just how much of statistics is too much? Or put differently, what kind of statistics would you look for in a report you read?

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