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November 6, 2009

ODIs

What's a reasonable winning score in ODIs?

Anantha Narayanan
Sachin Tendulkar jumps to cut, India v Australia, 5th ODI, Hyderabad, November 5, 2009
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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

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Posted by 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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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: ]]

Posted by 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: ]]

Posted by 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: ]]

Posted by 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?

Posted by 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: ]]

Posted by 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

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anantha Narayanan
Anantha spent the first half of his four-decade working career with corporates like IBM, Shaw Wallace, NCR, Sime Darby and the Spinneys group in IT-related positions. In the second half, he has worked on cricket simulation, ratings, data mining, analysis and writing, amongst other things. He was the creator of the Wisden 100 lists, released in 2001. He has written for ESPNcricinfo and CastrolCricket, and worked extensively with Maruti Motors, Idea Cellular and Castrol on their performance ratings-related systems. He is an armchair connoisseur of most sports. His other passion is tennis, and he thinks Roger Federer is the greatest sportsman to have walked on earth.

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