World Twenty20 2012 September 17, 2012

Hard to pick a favourite

The mixed success of teams in the last two years and the fickle nature of the format make it almost impossible to predict results ahead of the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka

There is an element of unpredictability surrounding this World Twenty20. Since the inaugural World Twenty20 in 2007, despite an increase in the number of T20 matches, there has been no pattern of dominance emerging. India, who won the first tournament, failed to reach the semi-final stage of the subsequent two tournaments while Australia, the top team in Tests and ODIs for much of the 2000s, have struggled to conquer the T20 format. Ironically, Pakistan, notorious for their inconsistency, have been the best side in the tournament's brief history, making two finals (winning in 2009) and the semi-final in 2010. The presence of top T20 stars like Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard, who have performed superbly in various T20 leagues, also makes West Indies a highly potent force.

South Africa, who have flattered to deceive on more than one occasion in global tournaments, have the best win-loss ratio among top teams since the World Twenty20 in 2010. In this period, they have won 11 and lost just four matches (win-loss ratio 2.75). This is a significant improvement over their record in T20 matches till the end of the World T20 2010 (w/l ratio 1.58). After faltering for years at the final hurdle, England finally won a major trophy when they beat Australia in the final in 2010. Since then, however, their record has not been impressive (w/l ratio of 1.00). While India and Sri Lanka have more or less performed similarly in both periods, Pakistan's level has dropped after a great start. In 36 matches played till 2010 (end of the World T20), they won 24 and lost just 11 (w/l ratio of 2.18). However, between 2010 and 2012, their win-loss ratio has dropped to just 0.90. Perhaps the worst run in recent games has been that of Australia. After the World T20 2010, when they finished runners-up, their win-loss ratio has dropped to just 0.50, the worst among all top teams in the same period.

*Matches till 2010 includes all games played till the end of the 2010 World Twenty20 and 2010-2012 includes all matches played after the 2010 World Twenty20

Record of top teams in Twenty20 internationals (exclude Bangladesh and Zimbabwe)*
Team 2010-2012 (matches, wins/losses) 2010-2012 (w-l ratio) Till 2010 (matches, wins/losses) Till 2010 (w-l ratio)
South Africa 16, 11/4 2.75 31, 19/12 1.58
England 16, 10/5 2.00 32, 15/15 1.00
New Zealand 15, 9/6 1.50 38, 16/19 0.84
Sri Lanka 10, 6/4 1.50 31, 18/13 1.38
India 11, 6/5 1.20 25, 12/11 1.09
Pakistan 22, 10/11 0.90 36, 24/11 2.18
West Indies 12, 5/7 0.71 26, 11/13 0.84
Australia 16, 5/10 0.50 36, 21/13 1.61

Not surprisingly, South Africa, who have the best win-loss ratio in recent T20 matches (since the 2010 World T20), also have a high average difference and run-rate difference (difference between batting and bowling averages and run-rates). By virtue of fielding a quality bowling attack and playing in bowler-friendly conditions, England have a very good bowling average and economy rate. The hosts, Sri Lanka, who have won three and lost two of their five home matches in the period, have a low batting average and run-rate but have been excellent on the bowling front. While India have the highest average difference (5.27), Australia have the lowest (-2.74). In terms of the run-rate difference, Pakistan and Australia lie at the bottom of the table with figures of -0.06 and -0.04.

*The stats in the last three tables are for top teams only and exclude Bangladesh and Zimbabwe

Batting/bowling stats of teams since the World Twenty20 2010 *
Team Bat avg/run rate Bowl avg/econ rate avg diff run rate diff
South Africa 26.69/8.00 22.27/7.51 4.42 0.49
England 23.16/7.29 20.37/6.89 2.79 0.40
Sri Lanka 19.53/6.93 17.28/6.65 2.25 0.28
West Indies 22.16/7.41 21.15/7.27 1.01 0.14
India 28.96/7.66 23.69/7.57 5.27 0.09
New Zealand 25.07/8.02 25.49/8.05 -0.42 -0.03
Australia 19.72/7.44 22.46/7.48 -2.74 -0.04
Pakistan 18.17/6.83 17.47/6.89 0.70 -0.06

In matches played in Sri Lanka since the 2010 World T20, the average and run-rate in the first six-over period have fallen drastically. In the period till the end of the 2010 tournament, the average and run-rate in the first six-over phase were 29.14 and 8.50. Since then, the corresponding numbers have fallen to 21.50 and 7.16. The boundary-run percentage, however, has marginally increased in the last two years. The story is the same in the middle overs (7-14); the run-rate and average have fallen but the boundary-run percentage has increased by almost 8%. However, in the last-six over phase, the run-rate has gone up in the matches played in the last two years. In the same period, the boundary-run percentage is also far higher (50.32) than the corresponding number in the period till the end of the 2010 World T20 (38.48).

Stats across the innings in Sri Lanka (Till World T20 2010/Since World T20 2010) *
Period of innings Average Run-rate Boundary %
Overs 1-6 29.14/21.50 8.50/7.16 63.23/66.04
Overs 7-14 28.56/22.68 7.14/6.23 42.88/50.50
Overs 15-20 14.76/13.84 8.10/8.30 38.48/50.32

Since the 2010 World T20, the batting stats have been dominated by Martin Guptill. Guptill has scored four half-centuries (average 48.70) at an excellent strike rate of 140.75. Pakistan have played the most T20 matches in the period, with Mohammad Hafeez and Umar Akmal topping their run charts. JP Duminy, who has played quite a few vital knocks in the middle order for South Africa, averages nearly 45. Brendon McCullum, the highest run-getter in Twenty20 matches, recently scored another half-century in New Zealand's one-run win against India. Not only has McCullum maintained a very good average (40.80), he has also scored his runs at a fast clip (strike rate 144.80). Both David Warner and Shane Watson have scored quick runs at the top of the order, with Watson boasting of a strike rate of close to 150. Gayle, who was in outstanding form in the last two seasons of the IPL, is definitely one of the most dangerous batsmen in the T20 format.

Top run-getters in Twenty20 matches since World T20 2010 (min 300 runs)
Batsman Matches Runs Average SR 100/50
Martin Guptill 13 487 48.70 140.75 0/4
Mohammad Hafeez 19 426 22.42 109.51 0/2
JP Duminy 14 403 44.77 120.29 0/2
Umar Akmal 22 400 21.05 114.61 0/1
David Warner 16 376 23.50 124.09 0/3
Brendon McCullum 10 362 40.22 144.80 0/3
Shane Watson 12 356 29.66 149.57 0/4

A clear indicator of Pakistan's bowling quality is the fact that they have four of the top seven wicket-takers (since the 2010 World T20). Saeed Ajmal, who has been in stunning form in Tests and ODIs, has carried his form into the shortest format too. In 22 matches, he has picked up 29 wickets at an exceptional average (15.62) and economy rate (5.82). The list is dominated by spinners, with Johan Botha and Hafeez coming in behind Ajmal. Shahid Afridi, who had a major impact in Pakistan's 2009 World T20 triumph, also has 17 wickets at a superb economy rate (6.03). Undoubtedly, spinners will have a huge role to play in Sri Lanka. In nine matches involving the top teams in the country, spinners have picked up 44 wickets at an average of 20.59 and economy rate of 6.51. In comparison, pace bowlers, who have picked up 71 wickets, have higher values of average and economy rate (22.73 and 7.85 respectively).

Top wicket-takers in Twenty20 matches since World T20 2010 (min 15 wickets)
Bowler Matches Wickets Average Economy rate 4+ WI
Saeed Ajmal 22 29 15.62 5.82 1
Johan Botha 16 19 18.21 6.36 0
Mohammad Hafeez 19 18 17.50 5.79 1
Graeme Swann 16 18 19.33 6.10 0
Nathan McCullum 14 17 15.35 6.52 1
Shahid Afridi 17 17 20.88 6.03 1
Umar Gul 17 16 27.12 7.84 0

England, who lost their first game against India in the 2007 World T20, have gone on to win each of the three matches played between the two sides since the game in Durban. Australia and West Indies, grouped together in Group B, have been evenly matched in head-to-head contests (Australia lead 4-3). While Gayle led West Indies to a comfortable win in the World T20 game at The Oval in 2009, Australia came out winners in the 2010 World T20 match. Interestingly, South Africa and Sri Lanka (Group C) are yet to face each other in a Twenty20 international.

Madhusudhan Ramakrishnan is a sub-editor (stats) at ESPNcricinfo