By The Numbers: As The World Cup Teams Of Fee - Powerplay > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more
Cricket news - In numbers: How the World Cup teams fare - The Powerplay
With the World Cup in the horizon, Cricbuzz - in a three-part series - investigates how the teams have fared at various stages of an ODI match in the current World Cup cycle (since April 2015), namely Powerplay, middle overs (11-40), and death overs (41-50).
First up, the Powerplay.
In the last four years, the two sides that have dominated 50-over cricket are England and India. However, the approach or methods from both sides to the top of the tree couldn't be contrasting. Post their group-stage exit in the 2015 edition of the World Cup, England has abandoned the conservative approach and has gone on to redefine batting in 50-over cricket.
Take the case of the Powerplays. England have been the fastest scoring team in the first ten overs, scoring at 5.79 per over - a far cry from the global scoring-rate of 4.93 in this phase.
They backed their batsmen to maximize the fielding restrictions by hitting the ground running and attacking right from the onset. They have minimized the dot-ball consumption and maximized boundary-scoring when the field is up. The fact that they lose a wicket every 44 balls, nearly on par with the global average hasn't deterred them from giving up aggressive stroke-play in the Powerplay overs.
India, on the other hand, has been steadfastly conservative in the first ten. Their scoring-rate is below the global average as they try to keep wickets in hand as part of their strategy where the top three get to face the maximum balls to set up a platform. Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma, who opened for India mostly in the last four years, have used up lots of dot balls upfront, often relying on boundaries to keep the scoreboard ticking in the initial overs.
Teams batting in overs 1-10
South Africa has found a middle ground between that of England and India. They have mixed caution with aggression, and they lose wickets in Powerplay less frequently than all other sides, and despite this, they have managed to score at a healthy rate of 5.30 runs per over. A large part of South Africa's success in the Powerplay should be attributed to de Kock - the best batsman in this phase of the game on several parameters.
De Kock is the mainstay of South Africa's batting line-up in the upcoming World Cup in the absence of AB de Villiers, and with Hashim Amla, an ODI colossus, being a pale shadow of his former self. It is in the Powerplay overs that de Kock sets the tempo of his innings. He scores at half-a-run better than the global average, has a very low dismissal rate (balls per dismissal) as well as dot-ball percentage and hits boundaries regularly. Only England's Jason Roy has scored more runs in the first ten overs than de Kock since April 2015.
Roy scored 1481 runs in the first ten scoring at nearly a run a ball, way more than the par strike-rate in this phase. However, his approach is fraught with risk as testified by his relatively high dismissal rate. In more than half of the innings when he opened the batting, he hasn't survived past the Powerplay. However, the arrival of Jonny Bairstow post the Champions Trophy has put even Roy's numbers in the shade. Bairstow has scored 818 runs in the Powerplay at an average of 62.92 and a dismissal-rate of 59 balls. His scoring-rate reads 6.47 runs per over, more than the global average by a run-and-a-half. He is a frequent boundary-hitter, clearing the boundary every 5.75 deliveries.
Leading run-getters in overs 1 - 10
India, despite being a very successful batting team, has taken a safer route in the Powerplay. Their scoring rate is only the sixth-best among the sides participating in the World Cup. Dhawan and Rohit are the most successful opening pair in the last four years and their roles at the start of the innings have been well-defined. Dhawan has been the aggressor among the two while Rohit drops anchor to play for the long haul.
Rohit's Powerplay numbers are well below par, getting dismissed inside the Powerplay in more than half the number of innings he has opened. However, the catch is that if he survives the first ten overs, he often converts it into a big knock. In the 35 (out of 71 innings) that he made it past the Powerplay, Rohit has managed to score 15 centuries and 16 other scores in excess of fifty at a Bradman-esque average of 98.85.
The team at the opposite end of the spectrum is Pakistan. They have neither been quick scorers like England nor do they possess the middle-order muscle like India to play out the Powerplay cautiously. Pakistan's run-rate of 4.69 in the first ten is only ahead of that of Afghanistan (4.15) among the sides featuring in World Cup 2019. Fakhar Zaman's numbers are just above par, despite it being bolstered by a series against a second-string Zimbabwe side last year. Imam-ul-Haq (62.39) and Babar Azam (65.12), the two mainstays at the top of the order for them, have both been scoring well below a strike-rate of 70 as did their predecessors Ahmed Shehzad (67.68), Azhar Ali (70.18) and Mohammad Hafeez (59.51).
The graphic represents propensity to score plotted against the frequency of dismissal. The top-right are fast-scorers with relatively better rate of dismissal compared to the norm. The bottom-right are fast scorers who are prone to frequent dismissals. The top-left part consists of anchors - lower scoring rate but don't get out as often.
Tamim Iqbal has an approach very similar to that of the Pakistan duo of Imam and Babar. Their innings usually follow a pattern of Tamim batting through the innings with stroke players like Shakib-al-Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim playing around him. Tamim averages 77.43 runs per partnership with Rahim and 73.29 with Shakib, at scoring rates well ahead of the norm.
Sri Lanka have lost most wickets in the first ten, although this hasn't deterred them from scoring runs at a fast pace - only England and New Zealand have scored faster in the first ten. The stats of Niroshan Dickwella (who isn't a part of Sri Lanka's World Cup team), one of the top run-getters for them in the last four years encapsulates this approach - a strike-rate of 100 but gets dismissed once every 33 balls.
While it was England and India hogging the limelight in the batting Powerplay, the leader of the pack in bowling Powerplay has been without a shadow of a doubt, New Zealand. They have not only taken most wickets at this stage but have done so at a better average and economy rate than the global average for the corresponding parameters.
Teams bowling in overs 1-10
Trent Boult has been the leader of the pack for New Zealand, taking 44 wickets in the first ten overs at 23.32 and a strike every 5.2 overs. Boult, and his partners-in-crime Matt Henry and Tim Southee, have been very economical, all conceding at less than 4.50 per over. Henry has been among wickets as well, taking 26 wickets at 21.85 and a strike rate of 29.5.
The New Zealand seamers have been very effective when there's lateral movement in the air or seam movement off the track. Their bowling average of 25.34 in New Zealand shoots up to 37.37 away from home and they take 14 balls more for every wicket (32 balls every wicket at home to 46 away). The tracks in England have been flat of late and the New Zealand speedsters might get found out on such surfaces which offer them little help.
While it was the seamers doing the job up front in the Powerplay for New Zealand, Afghanistan has relied on spinners to get the job done with the new ball. 42% of the Powerplay overs by Afghanistan is by spinners which is easily the highest among all teams.
Mujeeb-ur-Rahman made his debut in early 2018 and has ever since been his side's first-choice to take the new ball. In the 130-plus overs he has bowled in the Powerplay, the teenage Afghan sensation has picked 29 wickets - most among spinners - at a scarcely believable average of 16.34 and an economy rate of 3.54. In the seven matches against other World Cup qualifying sides, Mujeeb has bowled five overs from one end in Powerplay in each game, conceding at just 3.65 per over, taking six wickets at 21.33 in the process.
Leading wicket takers in overs 1 - 10
South Africa and India have been more steady than spectacular in the Powerplay. Kagiso Rabada has been among the top pacers in the world for a while now, but it was Lungi Ngidi, who made his debut a couple of seasons ago, the pick of their pace battery with the new ball. Ngidi has 16 wickets in the Powerplay at an average of 20.69 and a wicket every 4.3 overs.
The Indian pace trio of Bhuvneshwar Kumar (ER 4.43), Jasprit Bumrah (4.19) and Mohammed Shami (4.13) all have been economical with the new ball chipping in with the odd wicket and keeping it tight before the introduction of the wrist spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. Lack of runs upfront against the seamers makes the opposition batsmen take undue risks against the spin twins thereby playing to their hands.
Australia and West Indies have struggled to take wickets upfront while England and Sri Lanka have leaked runs. With skipper Jason Holder and Kemar Roach struggling to dent the opposition with early wickets, the addition of Shannon Gabriel must prove a shot in the arm for the men from the Caribbean. In the limited ODI appearances for Gabriel in this period, he has taken 13 wickets from 60-odd overs at an average of 23 and a wicket every 4.2 overs.
Of the 11 Australian seamers to bowl at least 20 overs in the Powerplay, only Pat Cummins has a sub-30 average (25.60). Mitchell Starc, Player of the Tournament in the previous edition of the World Cup has struggled to strike early in the exchange with the white Kookaburra in his sporadic appearances for Australia, averaging 36.65 for his 17 Powerplay wickets.
The bottom-left quadrant of the above graph indicates bowlers whose strike-rate is better compared to the global average combined with an excellent economy. Mujeeb, in part, helped by the weak opponents he played against, has been a clear standout. Bumrah and Boult have been among wickets while also being tight in leaking runs. Chris Woakes is a surprise there considering England have been on the expensive side often, but his 35 wickets in this phase have come at an average of just 25.49 and an economy rate of 4.64.
Bhuvneshwar, Holder, Roach, Behrendorff and Southee all have been very economical with the new ball but has struggled for wickets upfront. Akila Dananjaya, who has been left out of Sri Lanka's World Cup 15, is the second highest wicket taker among spinners in the Powerplay (11 wickets) takes a wicket every 4.1 overs, though has been expensive conceding at 6.36 per over.
(Part two of this series will explore how teams go about their business in the middle overs and how strategies vary for different teams)
** All stats updated till 30 April 2019
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