ODIs November 6, 2009

What's a reasonable winning score in ODIs?

I did an analysis on a winning target score in T20s and many subsequent matches showed how close the results of my analysis were
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I did an analysis on a winning target score in T20s and many subsequent matches showed how close the results of my analysis were. So I have embarked on doing a similar analysis for ODI matches. For ODIs there are a lot more matches available for analysis.

First some exclusions. For obvious reasons, I am going to exclude "Abandoned" matches, "No-result" matches (100 in all), matches which were decided on previous "revised score" rules (56 matches ), the more recent "Duckworth-Lewis" rules (101 matches) and a few incomplete innings. The reason is that the D/L and similar situations distort the scores quite a bit. If a team scores 300 and loses to another team which scores 150 in 20 overs, nothing can be inferred from the match. That leaves us 2659 matches for analysis.

I have taken the first innings scores, grouped these into run ranges and tabulated the results. Then I have derived some conclusions on winning target scores by inspecting and interpreting the results.

Let me say that this is a macro analysis. I would appreciate readers understanding this and avoid making comments such as target winning score depending on bowler quality, toss, day-night, team strength et al. All these have been considered in the past and will be considered in future. Let us give a break to these in this article.

The analysis has been done for the following sets of matches.

1. All matches.
2. Starting period matches.
3. Middle period matches.
4. Modern period matches.
5. Matches in Asian sub-continent.
6. Matches outside Asian sub-continent.

I tried analysing this for the countries, but did not get far since the number of matches played comes down and the number of matches in each run group becomes so small that it is impossible to derive any conclusions. In fact for a country such as New Zealand the % of wins for 240-249 is 81.2% and for 250-259 is 60.0%. Such inconsistencies make a country-level analysis a non-starter. Only for Australia, with 472 matches, could this be done with some level of confidence.

How does one define what is a winning score? I have worked on the basis that a score which gives the team a winning possibility of around 60% can be considered a winning target score. Anything lower will not give the team any edge in the long run and aiming for much higher than 60% might backfire on the team in that they might aim for 300 and end up with 220.

1. All matches

FBatScore  Matches   Wins  % wins AvgeWinMargin

Below 125 108 4 3.7 12.8 125 - 149 140 13 9.3 25.9 150 - 174 221 36 16.3 29.6 175 - 199 334 82 24.6 34.0 200 - 219 339 134 39.5 46.0 220 - 229 198 94 47.5 42.4 230 - 239 196 104 53.1 45.8 240 - 249 191 110 57.6 55.4 250 - 259 166 100 60.2 59.3 260 - 279 294 217 73.8 62.3 280 - 299 204 157 77.0 80.2 Above 300 268 243 90.7 101.5

Total 2659 1294 48.7 63.3

From a perusal of the above, it is a reasonable conclusion that a winning target score, based on the criteria already set, is around 250.

2. First period matches (1971-1989)

FBatScore  Matches   Wins  % wins AvgeWinMargin

Below 125 26 2 7.7 7.0 125 - 149 32 4 12.5 15.5 150 - 174 65 11 16.9 25.1 175 - 199 98 29 29.6 36.2 200 - 219 91 39 42.9 45.7 220 - 229 42 23 54.8 30.9 230 - 239 56 35 62.5 48.5 240 - 249 41 25 61.0 60.4 250 - 259 23 16 69.6 57.6 260 - 279 53 40 75.5 60.1 280 - 299 21 19 90.5 82.1 Above 300 16 16 100.0 122.7

Total 564 259 45.9 53.9

Things were tough for the batsmen during these early bowler-friendly times. Lower totals were defended more often than not. Hence the winning target score for this period was 235. Even this has been reached with the higher scores during late 1980s.

No team which scored 300+ runs finished on the losing side. The highest score successfully chased during this period was by New Zealand who overhauled England's score of 296 during 1983. India defended a total of 125 against Pakistan quite comfortably while Pakistan defended a total of 87 in 16 overs against India.

3. Middle period matches (1990-1999)

FBatScore  Matches   Wins  % wins AvgeWinMargin

Below 125 21 1 4.8 14.0 125 - 149 42 5 11.9 18.4 150 - 174 73 15 20.5 35.8 175 - 199 115 30 26.1 32.1 200 - 219 131 56 42.7 38.5 220 - 229 77 42 54.5 44.4 230 - 239 66 36 54.5 40.2 240 - 249 66 43 65.2 45.8 250 - 259 59 34 57.6 44.6 260 - 279 91 70 76.9 67.4 280 - 299 54 41 75.9 73.6 Above 300 61 57 93.4 91.6

Total 856 430 50.2 54.7

Things improved for batsmen during this period. Consequently the winning target score increased to around 240.

4 300+ totals were chased successfully. Australia defended a total of 101 in 30 overs against West Indies.

4. Modern period matches (2000-2009)

FBatScore  Matches   Wins  % wins AvgeWinMargin

Below 125 61 1 1.6 23.0 125 - 149 66 4 6.1 45.8 150 - 174 83 10 12.0 25.2 175 - 199 121 23 19.0 33.8 200 - 219 117 39 33.3 57.1 220 - 229 79 29 36.7 48.6 230 - 239 74 33 44.6 49.1 240 - 249 84 42 50.0 62.1 250 - 259 84 50 59.5 69.9 260 - 279 150 107 71.3 59.8 280 - 299 129 97 75.2 82.6 Above 300 191 170 89.0 102.8

Total 1239 605 48.8 73.5

In the modern times, many more high totals were chased successfully. This effect percolated down and the winning target score could be pegged at 260.

300+ chases were commonplace with South Africa's overtaking Australian score of 434 being the highlight. West Indies defended a total of 124 in 30 overs against Bangladesh.

5. Asian sub-continent matches

FBatScore  Matches   Wins  % wins AvgeWinMargin

Below 125 31 2 6.5 7.0 125 - 149 52 1 1.9 38.0 150 - 174 81 17 21.0 26.9 175 - 199 121 31 25.6 41.5 200 - 219 123 54 43.9 41.8 220 - 229 74 31 41.9 47.7 230 - 239 80 43 53.8 48.3 240 - 249 72 38 52.8 52.8 250 - 259 58 39 67.2 39.5 260 - 279 118 90 76.3 61.5 280 - 299 91 67 73.6 80.6 Above 300 104 95 91.3 94.1

Total 1005 508 50.5 61.1

The winning target score for the Asian sub-continent is around 255. It is not easy to defend low totals on these batting-friendly pitches.

6. Outside Asian sub-continent matches

FBatScore  Matches   Wins  % wins AvgeWinMargin

Below 125 77 2 2.6 18.5 125 - 149 88 12 13.6 24.9 150 - 174 140 19 13.6 31.9 175 - 199 213 51 23.9 29.5 200 - 219 216 80 37.0 48.9 220 - 229 124 63 50.8 39.8 230 - 239 116 61 52.6 44.1 240 - 249 119 72 60.5 56.7 250 - 259 108 61 56.5 72.0 260 - 279 176 127 72.2 62.9 280 - 299 113 90 79.6 79.9 Above 300 164 148 90.2 106.2

Total 1654 786 47.5 64.8

Surprisingly the winning target score is the same as for Asian sub-continent. This has been caused by the way the New Zealand and English pitches have eased in recent times. The winning target score is around 250. Quite a few sub-150 totals have been defended.

Finally it can be seen that, barring the first period, the winning target score is either side of 250.

I started this article before the Hyderabad ODI between India and Australia, and fibnished it after the match. One more 300+ total (oh! a 350+ total) almost bit the dust. No score is safe, it looks like. However this match does not change this article a bit.

As requested by Khalil, I have done an analysis of the period 2005-09 and presenbted the table here.

7. Recent matches (2005-2009)

FBatScore  Matches   Wins  % wins AvgeWinMargin

Below 125 27 0 0.0 0.0 125 - 149 33 2 6.1 49.0 150 - 174 39 6 15.4 27.3 175 - 199 52 10 19.2 33.8 200 - 219 62 20 32.3 62.3 220 - 229 34 9 26.5 49.9 230 - 239 48 22 45.8 47.9 240 - 249 40 17 42.5 69.1 250 - 259 42 24 57.1 67.0 260 - 279 67 45 67.2 54.2 280 - 299 62 46 74.2 84.2 ABove 300 125 111 88.8 103.2

Total 631 312 49.4 76.6

The winning par score could be pegged at 265, 5 runs above the 2000s value. Otherwise the numbers have stayed similar to the 2000s values.

Anantha Narayanan has written for ESPNcricinfo and CastrolCricket and worked with a number of companies on their cricket performance ratings-related systems

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Anirudh on November 16, 2009, 8:41 GMT

    Good job. When you do the analysis with "Indian Subcontinent pitches", I feel it will be quite interesting to take out SL - because the pitches there are nowhere close to your assumption of flat subcontinent pitches... I am pretty sure the dynamics will change dramatically.

  • Zeeshan Ahmed Siddiqui on November 11, 2009, 11:33 GMT

    This one is also great article.

    In my opinion, you may not agree with it is that it is not sole responsibility of Tendulkar to win the matches. He scored 175 runs means more than 50% runs of his team and what the rest of players did.

    Winning combination always depends upon all players, not one and two like in the era of Viv Richard, Marshall and Dujon were there with rest of team. It means three kings were there for batting, bowling and for keeping. Marshall and also Dujon could bat as well when situation insisted and Viv had ability to bowl as well and remaining players could also play according to situation.

    If Bevan had an ability to finish the match for his team, it is due to his placing order. He played almost 45% of his innings at no. 6 and more than 60% at no. 5 and at no. 6 when ball was not new and almost 30 to 40% score already did due to strongest team. Even if not so then again he knew that coming players had an ability to convert his innings into better form.

  • alex on November 11, 2009, 5:25 GMT

    Ananth - thanks for a great analysis.

    Will be possible for you to do a similar analysis in a run chase for the final X overs with (i) X=10, and (ii) X=20? Such analysis would be very useful to gauge the progress/decline of a particular national team in closing out matches while chasing a score. A database of such stats for a particular cricket ground would also be useful.

  • Al on November 11, 2009, 3:25 GMT

    Re. some comments about match winning innings an easier way to count the number of such innings would be to simply take the number of innings where a batsman has come in with say 200+ runs required to win…and has stayed at the crease till the end. This simple criterion can then be used in all situations: openers or middle/late order batsmen, Tests or ODIs etc.

  • Unni on November 8, 2009, 15:18 GMT

    Decent uncomplicated analysis. Nice to read!! Did you miss the counterpart of this or it is in pipeline? (What is the comfortable score to chase?). [[ Unni Trust you to come out with the unexpected. As I was writing up the article it struck me that I was looking only at the first innings and what about the second innings. I have pushed a note in my Evernote and kept it for a future look-in. Ananth: ]]

  • caspian on November 8, 2009, 14:12 GMT

    Nothing much to say here, just loved the analysis, that's all. Is there any chance of seeing something similar to this for test matches- victories based on how much the team scored in their first innings, and the like? That could be interesting. [[ Caspian An idea worth looking at. More complicated and probably more fun. Ananth: ]]

  • Vimalan on November 7, 2009, 23:43 GMT

    @Kartik

    It seems to be fashion to throw some statement about Sachin without providing anything concrete like the ones you have uttered here. Can you name one innings of Sachin apart from his 136 against Pak when he fell short and India lost in Test? You said 5. Similarly, Can you name more than 2-3 innings of Sachin where he fell short while chasing in ODIs ?

    To quote from cricinfo "Over these years, Tendulkar has been key to Indian fortunes - he averages almost 57 in matches that India win, but the slumps to 33 in games India lose. His 32 centuries in wins is more than any other batsman has scored in his entire career, which is a telling statistic of how far ahead of the pack Tendulkar is. "

    Out of the 32 centuries in wins, 14 came while chasing that includes the 2 different Sharjah cup finals in 98, CB Series finals..

    [[ Vimalan/Sreejith/Kartik, I suggest you all stop turning this into a contest involving verbal exchanges on Tendulkar. Please confine the comments to the article which is on what constitutes a winning par score in ODIs. Ananth: ]]

  • sreejith on November 7, 2009, 15:20 GMT

    "He has no innings like Miandad's last-ball six, Lara's 153* against Australia, Kapil's 175*, or VVS Laxman's 281." the knocks that the master played against the aussies in Sharjah,chasing stiff targets,and the 4th innings 100 against England chasing a mammoth total...all these...u can associate with sachin.But all the other guys have only 1 spectacular innings in their career (Leave Lara aside),for which they are remembered.But who can match the number of other spectacular inningses that the master has played?

  • Xolile on November 7, 2009, 12:47 GMT

    @Amit Very good comment. I would like to add batting tactics to your list.

    Back in the early days teams used to start off in 1st gear, then switch to 2nd after about 10 overs, then to 3rd after about 30 overs and then to 5th in the last 10 overs. They hardly ever altered their approach. Everyone followed exactly the same game plan.

    Nowadays teams start off in 4th gear. If they loose early wickets they gear down to 3rd. But if they don’t they will quickly gear up to 5th and stay there. That’s why we’ve seen scores north of 400 runs in recent years. It’s only a matter of time before an individual batsman gets to 200.

    Statistically modern tactics are far, far superior. It’s amazing it took the cricketing world so long to work it out. [[ Deon This last match was an eye-opener even for a seasoned follower of the game like me. India never entertained thoughts of losing the game until the 47th over. Then madness took over and the old failings returned. But that does not take away from the effort, orchestrated for 95% by the great maestro. Ananth: ]]

  • ted on November 7, 2009, 11:44 GMT

    thought there would of been a larger differnces in a defendable total considering anything over 200 always seemed defendable in the 80s &early 90s.interresting analysis

  • Anirudh on November 16, 2009, 8:41 GMT

    Good job. When you do the analysis with "Indian Subcontinent pitches", I feel it will be quite interesting to take out SL - because the pitches there are nowhere close to your assumption of flat subcontinent pitches... I am pretty sure the dynamics will change dramatically.

  • Zeeshan Ahmed Siddiqui on November 11, 2009, 11:33 GMT

    This one is also great article.

    In my opinion, you may not agree with it is that it is not sole responsibility of Tendulkar to win the matches. He scored 175 runs means more than 50% runs of his team and what the rest of players did.

    Winning combination always depends upon all players, not one and two like in the era of Viv Richard, Marshall and Dujon were there with rest of team. It means three kings were there for batting, bowling and for keeping. Marshall and also Dujon could bat as well when situation insisted and Viv had ability to bowl as well and remaining players could also play according to situation.

    If Bevan had an ability to finish the match for his team, it is due to his placing order. He played almost 45% of his innings at no. 6 and more than 60% at no. 5 and at no. 6 when ball was not new and almost 30 to 40% score already did due to strongest team. Even if not so then again he knew that coming players had an ability to convert his innings into better form.

  • alex on November 11, 2009, 5:25 GMT

    Ananth - thanks for a great analysis.

    Will be possible for you to do a similar analysis in a run chase for the final X overs with (i) X=10, and (ii) X=20? Such analysis would be very useful to gauge the progress/decline of a particular national team in closing out matches while chasing a score. A database of such stats for a particular cricket ground would also be useful.

  • Al on November 11, 2009, 3:25 GMT

    Re. some comments about match winning innings an easier way to count the number of such innings would be to simply take the number of innings where a batsman has come in with say 200+ runs required to win…and has stayed at the crease till the end. This simple criterion can then be used in all situations: openers or middle/late order batsmen, Tests or ODIs etc.

  • Unni on November 8, 2009, 15:18 GMT

    Decent uncomplicated analysis. Nice to read!! Did you miss the counterpart of this or it is in pipeline? (What is the comfortable score to chase?). [[ Unni Trust you to come out with the unexpected. As I was writing up the article it struck me that I was looking only at the first innings and what about the second innings. I have pushed a note in my Evernote and kept it for a future look-in. Ananth: ]]

  • caspian on November 8, 2009, 14:12 GMT

    Nothing much to say here, just loved the analysis, that's all. Is there any chance of seeing something similar to this for test matches- victories based on how much the team scored in their first innings, and the like? That could be interesting. [[ Caspian An idea worth looking at. More complicated and probably more fun. Ananth: ]]

  • Vimalan on November 7, 2009, 23:43 GMT

    @Kartik

    It seems to be fashion to throw some statement about Sachin without providing anything concrete like the ones you have uttered here. Can you name one innings of Sachin apart from his 136 against Pak when he fell short and India lost in Test? You said 5. Similarly, Can you name more than 2-3 innings of Sachin where he fell short while chasing in ODIs ?

    To quote from cricinfo "Over these years, Tendulkar has been key to Indian fortunes - he averages almost 57 in matches that India win, but the slumps to 33 in games India lose. His 32 centuries in wins is more than any other batsman has scored in his entire career, which is a telling statistic of how far ahead of the pack Tendulkar is. "

    Out of the 32 centuries in wins, 14 came while chasing that includes the 2 different Sharjah cup finals in 98, CB Series finals..

    [[ Vimalan/Sreejith/Kartik, I suggest you all stop turning this into a contest involving verbal exchanges on Tendulkar. Please confine the comments to the article which is on what constitutes a winning par score in ODIs. Ananth: ]]

  • sreejith on November 7, 2009, 15:20 GMT

    "He has no innings like Miandad's last-ball six, Lara's 153* against Australia, Kapil's 175*, or VVS Laxman's 281." the knocks that the master played against the aussies in Sharjah,chasing stiff targets,and the 4th innings 100 against England chasing a mammoth total...all these...u can associate with sachin.But all the other guys have only 1 spectacular innings in their career (Leave Lara aside),for which they are remembered.But who can match the number of other spectacular inningses that the master has played?

  • Xolile on November 7, 2009, 12:47 GMT

    @Amit Very good comment. I would like to add batting tactics to your list.

    Back in the early days teams used to start off in 1st gear, then switch to 2nd after about 10 overs, then to 3rd after about 30 overs and then to 5th in the last 10 overs. They hardly ever altered their approach. Everyone followed exactly the same game plan.

    Nowadays teams start off in 4th gear. If they loose early wickets they gear down to 3rd. But if they don’t they will quickly gear up to 5th and stay there. That’s why we’ve seen scores north of 400 runs in recent years. It’s only a matter of time before an individual batsman gets to 200.

    Statistically modern tactics are far, far superior. It’s amazing it took the cricketing world so long to work it out. [[ Deon This last match was an eye-opener even for a seasoned follower of the game like me. India never entertained thoughts of losing the game until the 47th over. Then madness took over and the old failings returned. But that does not take away from the effort, orchestrated for 95% by the great maestro. Ananth: ]]

  • ted on November 7, 2009, 11:44 GMT

    thought there would of been a larger differnces in a defendable total considering anything over 200 always seemed defendable in the 80s &early 90s.interresting analysis

  • Kartik on November 7, 2009, 10:39 GMT

    I am glad someone pointed out that until 1990, matches in England were 55 and 60 overs. 5 runs an over was a very big deal then.

    That is why the record 9th and 10th wicket partnerships between Kapil/Kirmani and Richards/Holding might never be broken (and have not been in 25+ years since then).

  • Kartik on November 7, 2009, 10:16 GMT

    Ananth wrote :

    As I was writing up the article it struck to me that I should look at close finishes.

    I believe this is the 3rd time that you and I were thinking the same thing at the same time.

  • Kartik on November 7, 2009, 10:14 GMT

    I agree - Tendulkar's near misses are the norm.

    Whether chasing in an ODI, or in the 4th innings of a Test, he usually falls short when just another 10 runs from him would alter the result. The only time he really saved a test of the brink of defeat was his very first Test century against England in 1990.

    I can think of at least 5 tests that India lost because Tendulkar fell short in the 4th innings, where 10 runs more would have gotten a better result for India.

    In ODIs, similar instances of either falling short (like the latest 175), or failing on the big occasion (being out for 4 in the WC'03 final) are the norm.

    He has no innings like Miandad's last-ball six, Lara's 153* against Australia, Kapil's 175*, or VVS Laxman's 281.

  • Abhi on November 7, 2009, 9:43 GMT

    Right thanks Ananth, Further to my earlier post, here’s an idea for perhaps another analysis(Im trying to be as smart as Unni and Xolile!!) for so called “match winning” batsmen , with its strictest definition as follows (for both Tests and ODIs): 1) For a middle order batsman, he must come in relative early or earlier than say half the opposition score (just a ballpark figure). NA for openers obviously. 2) Obviously for a batsman coming in later with not much to score and so “finishing” the match these criteria need to be modified. 3) All batsmen MUST be there till the very end. Even if the team wins, if the batsman in question is not there till the end of the match, the innings is NOT counted. 4)For the analysis concerned we only need to check for the Modern “Greats” : say Chappel,Viv, Sunny,Miandad,Border……down to Kallis,Ponting,Lara,Sanath,Tendulkar etc…Perhaps 20/25 batsmen. [[ Abhi With sharp readers like you I am acutely aware that I am always riding the tiger. Your ideas, as well as those of a few others, are way out. I promise that I will look into all these, but when, I am not sure. All these types of mails get moved into a "Great ideas" folder. Ananth: ]]

  • A.R.Prasanna on November 7, 2009, 9:31 GMT

    It was very amusing to read Mr Dhoni complainng that his bowlers failed him to win the 6th ODI!! For a long time we know that Indian team is supposed to be batsmen paradise. Pray, Mr Dhoni, when Sachin was hitting all those fours ,sixers and also running between wickets as a 17yr old, What were the other great guns doing? All of you together ,which includes MR Yuvaraj and MrGambhir, could not match the score of Sachin!! Again you complain of the tail enders! Why leave the gamt to them?? Kindly take a look at the shots you three great batsmen played in a crucial match!! Please don't make us laugh with such comments as you made the other day. If you can show in the next two games your prowess and win the series, that will be a tribute to Sachin Tendulkar and Indian Cricket.

  • Khalil Sawant on November 7, 2009, 9:08 GMT

    @Anant : Firsty, Thanks :) The number of 300+ scores have nearly doubled in the last five years, compared the previous five years (2000-04)

  • Abhi on November 7, 2009, 7:48 GMT

    If it seems that Tendulkar has played many "so near yet so far" innings...it is mainly for 3 reasons: 1) He has simply played so many innings that the number of such innings seem a lot. 2) For most of the first half of his career India had a relatively pathetic and spineless lineup and were mostly tagged as perennial losers anyway. 3)Other great batsmen have luckily managed to pull off one “match winning”innings relatively early in their careers and so are then forever associated as “match winning” batsmen- even though they may have flopped far, far more often than Tendulkar.

    Any great sportsman in any sport, provided he has played for long enough, will always have plenty of near misses. But with Tendulkar for some reason these innings always stand out. You will never ever hear this of any other batsman. Guys like Lara,Viv,Miandad,Waugh etc.actually had a lot less "match winning" innings, but just the brilliance of a couple of their innings which due to good fortune as much as skill resulted in a "win" -seem to blur the memory of the innumerable flops. No such luck for Sachin! If by “such innings” I assume it is meant ones in which the particular batsman stayed till the very end, then how many such innings have these aforementioned worthies played? One? Two? Actually barely the odd one comes to mind with the above definition.

    There are some guys on other blogs actually complaining about how if only Sachin would have done “x, y, z” India would not only have won the match but Sachin would have got a double hundred! With the inhuman expectations heaped on Sachin, the glass is always going to be half full. [[ Abhi Out of the 25 top losing innings in ODIs, Tendulkar has played 6 and the next one, Gayle, 2. I am saying this to emphasize the shortcomings of the batsmen who came after Tendulkar than of the great maestro. In every one of the matches, I would say categorically that Tendulkar had done more than his fair share of the task and it is the others who failed. Ananth: ]]

  • JK on November 7, 2009, 7:38 GMT

    Could you please do an analysis on results when the following players have put in virtually solo performances - Sachin, Lara, Steve Waugh etc....How many times have their teams won? How many times have they carried their team home? What was the contribution of other team mates in ensuring victory?...Want to explore the hypothesis that Sachin does not win enough matches for India on his own as compared to others..

  • Kartik on November 7, 2009, 4:49 GMT

    Perhaps the next analysis can be the following :

    Which team wins in the close ODIs? By close, I mean matches where the final margin was less than 10 runs, or with less than 6 balls and/or 2 wickets remaining.

    I get the feeling that in the last 25 years, India have lost three-fourths of their close matches. This includes a 0-2 scoreline among such matches in the last 10 days.

    At the other end of the spectrum, Pakistan in the Imran era was stupendous, and was always able to hit a six *exactly* it was needed most (whether Miandad, Malik, Qadir, Akram, Inzaman, or Moin Khan). I have never since seen a team that could magically produce a six when needed most. [[ Kartik As I was writing up the article it struck to me that I should look at close finishes. The one advantage is that this can really be looked across teams rather than across ages. Ananth: ]]

  • Anonymous on November 7, 2009, 4:39 GMT

    Followup on my previous post: just realised a flaw in my conclusion that bowlers have improved as much as batsman, if you take out free hits, power plays, smaller bounderies and bats on steroid. The target in the 70/80s was 235 in 60 overs as opposed to only 50 overs now - which probably implies batsman have improved a lot more. [[ Amit That is a valid point. The 230/235 should be looked at in that perspective. Ananth: ]]

  • amit on November 7, 2009, 4:19 GMT

    Ananth, yet another great analysis. Am a little surprised the difference between the first period and now is only about 30 runs. Do you have info to see how much is contributed by free-hits and power-plays (I can't recall when the 30 yard powerplay in 15 overs started in ODI). My guess would be about 15 runs. The rest could be contributed by smaller boundaries and hi-tech bats. And that makes me conclude that the invention of reverse sweeps and scoops and paddle sweeps by batsman are offset by improvement in bowling like yorkers (though I remember Garner bowled pretty good ones) and better slower balls and better fielding. [[ Amit A very perceptive comment. I myself was surprised. This means that in their own ways, basmen and bowers have kept pace despite the active bias exhibited by the authorities in favour of the batsmen. Most of the bowling innovations have been invented. Most of the batting moves have been provided on a platter. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on November 7, 2009, 1:48 GMT

    As per Khalil's request, a new table for the period 2005-09 has been prepared and posted. Ananth

  • Anand on November 6, 2009, 19:10 GMT

    Another point Ananth, Hope your analysis has avoided matches won due to reduced targets. I mean in the match between India and WI at Kuala Lumpur in 2006, India scored 309 in 50 overs and the match was reduced to 20 overs for WI. Yes there were in a good position, but one cant say anything when 30 more overs are left in an ODI gaine that too with WI being as unpredicatable as India or Pak. May be the criterion could be a difference of less than 20% in the overs each team faced ... [[ Anand If you read the article carefully you will see that all "no results", "revised target" matches and all "duckworth lewis" matches have been excluded. So the match in question has not been considered. Ananth: ]]

  • Anand on November 6, 2009, 19:08 GMT

    Excellent Analsysis once again, Ananth. As I have mentioned in my other posts earlier, I am a great fan of your analyses and love reading them. I have a concern with this one though. Sometime just taking the raw score may be insufficient. You gave an example in the 80's when India defended 125 against Pak and Pak defended 87 against India. But Pak's 87 was in 16 overs which is like defending an asking rate of 5+ while India defended it in 50 overs. Is there a way to adjust this difference, like find a winning target based on the number of overs (asking rate). Another possibility is keeping a minimum number of overs as a criterion. In the 87 world cup Aus defended 199 against NZ but that was a 30 over match. Similarly, England defended 121 in 15 overs against India in early 1985(an asking rate of 8 and even though it was a 15 over match, scoring 8 an over in the 80's was not common). May be you could split the analysis into winning score for < 20 overs, between 20-35 and more than 35. [[ Anand Let me clarify that the 125 defence was in a full match and has to be considered. The 87 for 9 was in a 16-over match and the only reason why it has been included is because it was a complete match. It does not in any way distort the results. Whether it was the 80s, 90s or 2000s let us not forget the abysmal batting performance by India in this match. The only reason I could exclude this match is because it is below even the 20 over mark. Ananth: ]]

  • Simrat Singh on November 6, 2009, 16:37 GMT

    Interesting analysis. I wonder how much of chasing high scores can be attributed to the mental set-up. I think most sides would give up defending 125 runs or lower, and chasing teams don't see 300+ as out of the world. I personally didn't think that India could chase 351, yet I was nearly proved wrong. Guess no score is safe these days! [[ Simrat You have made a valid point. At the half way stage of the match I put India's chances at 10-90, at the half way stage of the indian innings at 40-60 and at the end of the 47th over at 85-15. What is required is a lot of self-confidence and a once-in-lifetime innings. Unfortunately Tendulkar has played these so-near-yet-far innings too many times. He has certainly been let down by his team-mates. The look of despair on his face can never be forgotten by any who watched the post-match presentation. At Sharjah in 1984, there was Kapil Dev who never gave up and then came Gavaskar's amazing catching. Ananth: ]]

  • Khalil Sawant on November 6, 2009, 16:13 GMT

    How about a little analysis of last 5 years (after introduction of T-20). I am sure the statistics will differ from the 2000-2009 statistics [[ Khalil That is a good point. Since over 700 matches have been played during the period 2005-2009, I should be able to get some decent analysis. Will do that and post within 24 hours. Ananth: ]]

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  • Khalil Sawant on November 6, 2009, 16:13 GMT

    How about a little analysis of last 5 years (after introduction of T-20). I am sure the statistics will differ from the 2000-2009 statistics [[ Khalil That is a good point. Since over 700 matches have been played during the period 2005-2009, I should be able to get some decent analysis. Will do that and post within 24 hours. Ananth: ]]

  • Simrat Singh on November 6, 2009, 16:37 GMT

    Interesting analysis. I wonder how much of chasing high scores can be attributed to the mental set-up. I think most sides would give up defending 125 runs or lower, and chasing teams don't see 300+ as out of the world. I personally didn't think that India could chase 351, yet I was nearly proved wrong. Guess no score is safe these days! [[ Simrat You have made a valid point. At the half way stage of the match I put India's chances at 10-90, at the half way stage of the indian innings at 40-60 and at the end of the 47th over at 85-15. What is required is a lot of self-confidence and a once-in-lifetime innings. Unfortunately Tendulkar has played these so-near-yet-far innings too many times. He has certainly been let down by his team-mates. The look of despair on his face can never be forgotten by any who watched the post-match presentation. At Sharjah in 1984, there was Kapil Dev who never gave up and then came Gavaskar's amazing catching. Ananth: ]]

  • Anand on November 6, 2009, 19:08 GMT

    Excellent Analsysis once again, Ananth. As I have mentioned in my other posts earlier, I am a great fan of your analyses and love reading them. I have a concern with this one though. Sometime just taking the raw score may be insufficient. You gave an example in the 80's when India defended 125 against Pak and Pak defended 87 against India. But Pak's 87 was in 16 overs which is like defending an asking rate of 5+ while India defended it in 50 overs. Is there a way to adjust this difference, like find a winning target based on the number of overs (asking rate). Another possibility is keeping a minimum number of overs as a criterion. In the 87 world cup Aus defended 199 against NZ but that was a 30 over match. Similarly, England defended 121 in 15 overs against India in early 1985(an asking rate of 8 and even though it was a 15 over match, scoring 8 an over in the 80's was not common). May be you could split the analysis into winning score for < 20 overs, between 20-35 and more than 35. [[ Anand Let me clarify that the 125 defence was in a full match and has to be considered. The 87 for 9 was in a 16-over match and the only reason why it has been included is because it was a complete match. It does not in any way distort the results. Whether it was the 80s, 90s or 2000s let us not forget the abysmal batting performance by India in this match. The only reason I could exclude this match is because it is below even the 20 over mark. Ananth: ]]

  • Anand on November 6, 2009, 19:10 GMT

    Another point Ananth, Hope your analysis has avoided matches won due to reduced targets. I mean in the match between India and WI at Kuala Lumpur in 2006, India scored 309 in 50 overs and the match was reduced to 20 overs for WI. Yes there were in a good position, but one cant say anything when 30 more overs are left in an ODI gaine that too with WI being as unpredicatable as India or Pak. May be the criterion could be a difference of less than 20% in the overs each team faced ... [[ Anand If you read the article carefully you will see that all "no results", "revised target" matches and all "duckworth lewis" matches have been excluded. So the match in question has not been considered. Ananth: ]]

  • Ananth on November 7, 2009, 1:48 GMT

    As per Khalil's request, a new table for the period 2005-09 has been prepared and posted. Ananth

  • amit on November 7, 2009, 4:19 GMT

    Ananth, yet another great analysis. Am a little surprised the difference between the first period and now is only about 30 runs. Do you have info to see how much is contributed by free-hits and power-plays (I can't recall when the 30 yard powerplay in 15 overs started in ODI). My guess would be about 15 runs. The rest could be contributed by smaller boundaries and hi-tech bats. And that makes me conclude that the invention of reverse sweeps and scoops and paddle sweeps by batsman are offset by improvement in bowling like yorkers (though I remember Garner bowled pretty good ones) and better slower balls and better fielding. [[ Amit A very perceptive comment. I myself was surprised. This means that in their own ways, basmen and bowers have kept pace despite the active bias exhibited by the authorities in favour of the batsmen. Most of the bowling innovations have been invented. Most of the batting moves have been provided on a platter. Ananth: ]]

  • Anonymous on November 7, 2009, 4:39 GMT

    Followup on my previous post: just realised a flaw in my conclusion that bowlers have improved as much as batsman, if you take out free hits, power plays, smaller bounderies and bats on steroid. The target in the 70/80s was 235 in 60 overs as opposed to only 50 overs now - which probably implies batsman have improved a lot more. [[ Amit That is a valid point. The 230/235 should be looked at in that perspective. Ananth: ]]

  • Kartik on November 7, 2009, 4:49 GMT

    Perhaps the next analysis can be the following :

    Which team wins in the close ODIs? By close, I mean matches where the final margin was less than 10 runs, or with less than 6 balls and/or 2 wickets remaining.

    I get the feeling that in the last 25 years, India have lost three-fourths of their close matches. This includes a 0-2 scoreline among such matches in the last 10 days.

    At the other end of the spectrum, Pakistan in the Imran era was stupendous, and was always able to hit a six *exactly* it was needed most (whether Miandad, Malik, Qadir, Akram, Inzaman, or Moin Khan). I have never since seen a team that could magically produce a six when needed most. [[ Kartik As I was writing up the article it struck to me that I should look at close finishes. The one advantage is that this can really be looked across teams rather than across ages. Ananth: ]]

  • JK on November 7, 2009, 7:38 GMT

    Could you please do an analysis on results when the following players have put in virtually solo performances - Sachin, Lara, Steve Waugh etc....How many times have their teams won? How many times have they carried their team home? What was the contribution of other team mates in ensuring victory?...Want to explore the hypothesis that Sachin does not win enough matches for India on his own as compared to others..

  • Abhi on November 7, 2009, 7:48 GMT

    If it seems that Tendulkar has played many "so near yet so far" innings...it is mainly for 3 reasons: 1) He has simply played so many innings that the number of such innings seem a lot. 2) For most of the first half of his career India had a relatively pathetic and spineless lineup and were mostly tagged as perennial losers anyway. 3)Other great batsmen have luckily managed to pull off one “match winning”innings relatively early in their careers and so are then forever associated as “match winning” batsmen- even though they may have flopped far, far more often than Tendulkar.

    Any great sportsman in any sport, provided he has played for long enough, will always have plenty of near misses. But with Tendulkar for some reason these innings always stand out. You will never ever hear this of any other batsman. Guys like Lara,Viv,Miandad,Waugh etc.actually had a lot less "match winning" innings, but just the brilliance of a couple of their innings which due to good fortune as much as skill resulted in a "win" -seem to blur the memory of the innumerable flops. No such luck for Sachin! If by “such innings” I assume it is meant ones in which the particular batsman stayed till the very end, then how many such innings have these aforementioned worthies played? One? Two? Actually barely the odd one comes to mind with the above definition.

    There are some guys on other blogs actually complaining about how if only Sachin would have done “x, y, z” India would not only have won the match but Sachin would have got a double hundred! With the inhuman expectations heaped on Sachin, the glass is always going to be half full. [[ Abhi Out of the 25 top losing innings in ODIs, Tendulkar has played 6 and the next one, Gayle, 2. I am saying this to emphasize the shortcomings of the batsmen who came after Tendulkar than of the great maestro. In every one of the matches, I would say categorically that Tendulkar had done more than his fair share of the task and it is the others who failed. Ananth: ]]