ODIs February 12, 2010

A team-wise analysis of ODI opening partnerships

An analysis of first-wicket stands - the teams for which these are most prolific, quickest, and more

This is an analysis of ODI opening partnerships - by team. Normally strike rates are not incorporated in such analysis. In order to be absolutely certain of the conclusions, I have only included matches for which I have certain information of balls at which the wickets fell. A total of 1636 matches (55%) qualify. For the other matches I have also done such analysis using extrapolation. However I have not included these matches to avoid comments which will miss the main point and highlight the subjective or extrapolative methods.

I have also done a Runs per partnerships measure rather than the Average, in other words ignoring the unbroken partnerships. This does not really matter since very few opening partnerships remain unbroken. The analysis is current upto match # 2948, the fifth ODI between Australia and Pakistan.

1. Opening partnerships - by Runs per Partnership (RpP)

Team          OpP   Runs   RpP

Australia 340 14725 43.31 India 389 15950 41.00 South Africa 298 11253 37.76 Sri Lanka 328 11292 34.43 England 244 8394 34.40 Pakistan 318 10596 33.32 West Indies 258 8289 32.13 New Zealand 274 8362 30.52 Zimbabwe 262 7387 28.19 Bangladesh 187 4620 24.71 Kenya 94 2136 22.72

Considering all partnerships, irrespective of size, Australia leads with an average RpP of 43.21. India follows with 41.00, some way behind. South Africa follows with 37.76, leaving quite some daylight after India.

In all these tables, the last three positions are held by Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and Kenya. Leaving these teams aside, the fourth from last position should be the one to interest us. In this table New Zealand occupies that position, with an average RpP of 30.52, nearly 40% behind Australia.

2. Opening partnerships - by Partnership Strike rate

Team          OpP   Runs  Balls    S/R

Australia 340 14725 16414 89.7 Sri Lanka 328 11292 12850 87.9 India 389 15950 18379 86.8 New Zealand 274 8362 10204 81.9 Pakistan 318 10596 12947 81.8 South Africa 298 11253 13832 81.4 England 244 8394 10452 80.3 West Indies 258 8289 11003 75.3 Zimbabwe 262 7387 10546 70.0 Bangladesh 187 4620 6907 66.9 Kenya 94 2136 3354 63.7

Australia's strike rate for all these partnerships is 89.7, no doubt due to the presence of Gilchrist and Hayden. Sri Lanka, led by Jayasuriya and Dilshan, come in next with 87.9. India, aided by Tendulkar and Sehwag, follows closely with 86.8. New Zealand, despite the lower RpP value, have scored these runs at a decent rate of 81.9.

The strike rate of West Indies, despite the presence of Gayle, has been only 75.3.

Now I have done a special analysis of partnerships, only those of 50 runs and above. These partnerships lay the foundation for good scores. Both the size and rate of scoring matter. I have used 50 instead of 100 since these are limited over matches and scoring 50 normally means that the opening spells, of around 10 overs, have been tackled, as also the first PowerPlay. Also it allows us to have decent number of partnerships for consideration (717, about 25%)

3. Opening partnerships ( >= 50 ) - by Runs per Partnership

Team          OpP    %     Runs   RpP

India 111 28.5% 10898 98.18 New Zealand 56 20.4% 5246 93.68 South Africa 80 26.8% 7457 93.21 Sri Lanka 79 24.1% 7129 90.24 Australia 118 34.7% 10534 89.27 Pakistan 69 21.7% 6139 88.97 West Indies 58 22.4% 5156 88.90 England 57 23.4% 4983 87.42 Bangladesh 25 13.4% 2070 82.80 Zimbabwe 50 19.1% 4074 81.48 Kenya 14 14.9% 1063 75.93

When they cross 50, India has been the most prolific with an RpP value of 98.18. This is a great conversion rate, approaching 100. They are nearly 5% ahead of New Zealand who are adept at conversion of these partnerships. Australia stays only around the middle with a less than 90 run average.

The next 4/5 teams are bunched together, with England propping up the teams.

In terms of % of total, Australia is the best with 34.7% while Pakistan, with their opening batsman woes, is quite low at 21.7%. New Zealand is the lowest at 20.4%.

4. Opening partnerships ( >= 50 ) - by Partnership Strike rate

Team          OpP   Runs  Balls    S/R

Sri Lanka 79 7129 7118 100.2 India 111 10898 11187 97.4 Australia 118 10534 10921 96.5 South Africa 80 7457 8038 92.8 New Zealand 56 5246 5666 92.6 England 57 4983 5444 91.5 Pakistan 69 6139 6757 90.9 West Indies 58 5156 5951 86.6 Zimbabwe 50 4074 5144 79.2 Bangladesh 25 2070 2668 77.6 Kenya 14 1063 1458 72.9

Now for the strike rates of these meaningful 50+ partnerships. Seri Lanka, again due to Jayasuriya, have an outstanding strike rate of over 100. This is truly mind-boggling. India and Australia follow with near-100 strike rates.

West Indies have a low strike rate of 86.6.

This indicates that the opening batsmen, once they cross 50, improve the strike rates and generally end with strike rates nearing 100.0.

What about the specific opening batsmen combinations. That is for a later article.

A reader had asked ablout the non-Test countries. Their summary table is shown below. Netherland leads in RpP value while Canada scores faster.

Team       OpP Runs  RpP  Balls  S/R 50+ Runs  RpP Balls  S/R

Netherlands 33 1036 31.39 1304 79.4 8 654 81.75 685 95.5 Scotland 37 1005 27.16 1476 68.1 6 582 97.00 706 82.4 Ireland 38 977 25.71 1465 66.7 5 404 80.80 562 71.9 Canada 40 1015 25.38 1124 90.3 7 485 69.29 443 109.5 Bermuda 30 460 15.33 811 56.7 3 215 71.67 335 64.2

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

  • testli5504537 on March 31, 2010, 23:51 GMT

    Not sure where to post this but I wanted to ask if anyone has heard of National Clicks?

    Can someone help me find it?

    Overheard some co-workers talking about it all week but didn't have time to ask so I thought I would post it here to see if someone could help me out.

    Seems to be getting alot of buzz right now.


  • testli5504537 on March 3, 2010, 16:36 GMT

    This I presume includes all ODI`s ever played? Will that not skew the data since Aus started firsyt and all other teams took to it very slowly? It also includes era`s from say Boon - Marsh, to Sachin - Saurav to now Smith & Gibbs....So can you split this by decades or time lines?

  • testli5504537 on February 20, 2010, 2:48 GMT

    Off topic but interesting :

    It just occurred to me that the recent South Africa Test series was the first time that Sachin Tendulkar was the oldest member of the Indian team (because Dravid was absent).

    Note that Dravid, and previously Ganguly and Kumble, were always older than Tendulkar.

    I am sure it is a record that someone can play for 20 years and 164 Tests without ever being the oldest member of the XI, but the injury to Dravid, and the series scheduled impromptu, finally had Tendulkar be the oldest member of the XI. The oldest member, no doubt. But the fire which burns in his eyes is testament to how much he loves the game. Thoise who make negative comments on Lara should realize the contrasting way in which the team-mates have supported Tendulkar. Lara had to battle cliques right through his captaincy. Ananth

  • testli5504537 on February 19, 2010, 5:33 GMT

    Hi Ananth, what about an article on finding the best batting partner who has been involved in good partnerships that have won test matches or saved? The best partner may not necessarily be the best batsman but someone who scored himself but more imprtantly held his wicket to support more than one other batsmen in the team to continue scoring. Also he must be someone who has scored a good number of century partnerships, double century partnerships and triple century partnerships. I tried to find the answers in cricinfo statsguru batting partnership section but couldn't figure out.

    Also another data I was trying to find was who has made the highest runs in an innings the most number of of times. And what about the highest run in the match most number of times?

    I also couldn't figure out your email address so that instead of this post I could send you this question directly. Ashik Will add to the list of interesting things to do. The advantage with posting here is that all the interested readers could view and add their comments. Sorry for the delay since I was travelling. Went to Amritsar and Wagga border. It is so unfortunate that man-made borders have separated people who were living in harmony just over half a century back. Ananth

  • testli5504537 on February 17, 2010, 11:05 GMT

    Ananth - it would be good to see your tables split into 2: (i) batting first and (ii) batting second. Also, it would be nice to see a tables containing the following 4 columns:

    - runs scored in 1st 15 overs - runs scored in 1st 15 overs by opposition team - likewise for the last 10-15 overs.

    May make sense to split the tables for 2 cases: (i) batting first, and (ii) batting second. Since I am travelling I can only c onfirm that I have seen the comments. the responses will be sent on my retutrn next week. Ananth

  • testli5504537 on February 17, 2010, 6:16 GMT

    Ananth - 3 more columns would be interesting: (i) variance, (ii) IPF, and (iii) freq with which the opening partnership scored > 60 runs.

  • testli5504537 on February 17, 2010, 6:04 GMT

    I'd imagine that Kaluwitharana would have had a major impact on Sri Lanka's overall SR. He was an absolute dynamo.

    The other week my brother was saying that Australia should drop Shaun Marsh down the order and put in Brad Haddin with Watson, so you could have two openers going out with both barrels blazing instead of one agressor and an anchor. I've always felt that having an anchor is a good policy to promote more stability in the top order. Can I suggest an analysis of both kinds of partnerships in your next article? You could use both players' SR as the basis of determination- eg. if there is a >10% difference between SRs it's a "split" partnership. This sort of measure would hold true across eras, rather than just using bare SRs which would distort the effect of the more recent partnerships. That seems to be an excellent idea. Ananth

  • testli5504537 on February 15, 2010, 11:11 GMT

    Ananth, It would be interesting to also look at the opening partnerships of the opposition to see which teams have been the most successful at preventing the opposition from building big opening partnerships. I suspect Australia (and perhaps South Africa) will be the clear leader in this category. [[ X Yes. "Average against" is a concept which has not been explored fully. Will look at it. These recent suggestions are gems in that these provide me with the ideas to come out with at least two light-weight posts a month. I am looking at what I am doing for CastrolCricket. Articles of less than 1000 words. Ananth: ]]

  • testli5504537 on February 14, 2010, 7:20 GMT


    Some more suggestions in ODI analysis to add to your overflowing plate(s).

    1. Totals reached given good & bad starts. 2. Influence of starts while chasing 3. Middle over run rates given good & bad starts 4. Influence of power play 3(may not have enough data) 5. Influence of change of ball 6. Influence of utility(irregular) bowlers & pinch hitters

    The idea is to get some cricket sense with the suport of the data though all of us have some presumptions on these points. Given your rigour, some of the points may not be possible to analyse with non availability of data. Anyway you have spoilt us with many interesting analysis and hence some more requests. [[ Ramesh Almost all of these make sense. As you yourself have observed the absence of data is the problem. The other problem also is that even in the base text scorecard files there is no complete uniformity. Since I handle everything through text-parsing programs, the absence of a 100% dependable text file is a stumbling block. But will try. Ananth: ]]

  • testli5504537 on February 13, 2010, 15:52 GMT

    Good stats. It woudl worthwhile to see the same stats innings wise ie 1st and 2nd innings and how they fared. I guess Australia would still lead te way while India would go down the list in the 2nd innings. Thats the gut feel. Also try including the Win %. Thanks for the stats.. was good reading.

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