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

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