Sri Lanka v West Indies, Final, World Twenty20, Colombo October 6, 2012

West Indies' batting cuts advantage of hosts

Although history and form make Sri Lanka the favourites, West Indies' power-packed batting line-up poses a major threat to the hosts' chances

One need not look beyond the two semi-finals to understand the vagaries of the Twenty20 format. In the first semi-final, Sri Lanka clawed their way to a modest 139 but produced a fantastic bowling performance to defend the total against an in-form Pakistan. The second semi-final followed a completely different script. West Indies, who had provided glimpses of their hitting power earlier in the tournament, took apart a quality Australian bowling attack and registered a massive 205. In response, Australia hardly managed a fight and went down by a huge margin of 74 runs.

Perhaps the only similarity between Sri Lanka and West Indies' performance in the semi-finals was the fact that both teams scored heavily off the last over of the innings to put the game beyond the opposition. Sri Lanka have been superb throughout the tournament, losing only once in a rain-curtailed seven-over game against South Africa. On the other hand, West Indies have waxed and waned, alternating between the sublime and ordinary. The hosts will be confident against a team, whom they have never lost to previously, but will also be aware that the history and reputation matter very little if the powerful West Indies batting-line up clicks.

Sri Lanka started slowly in the format and failed to make much of an impact in the first World Twenty20 in 2007. However, they turned things around very quickly and made the final in the 2009 edition where they lost to Pakistan. Along with Pakistan, they have been the most consistent team in the World Twenty20, reaching two finals and one semi-final in the last three tournaments. Overall, they have an excellent record in the format, winning 29 matches and losing just 18 (w/l ratio of 1.61). In contrast, West Indies have a win-loss ratio lesser than one (20 wins and 23 losses).

In terms of recent form (since January 2010), too, Sri Lanka are well ahead of West Indies. In their four matches against West Indies, Sri Lanka have emerged comfortable winners on all occasions with the most recent one a nine-wicket win in the Super Eights. Sri Lanka, however, have an even win-loss record in the subcontinent and have won just once chasing in home T20 internationals. Given the history of clashes between the two teams and the hosts' poor record in home chases, West Indies stand a much better chance if they bat first.

*Super-Over wins are treated as wins

Record of both teams in Twenty20 internationals *
  Sri Lanka (played) Sri Lanka (wins/losses) West Indies (played) West Indies (wins/losses)
Overall 47 29/18 44 20/23*
Since Jan 2010 22 14/8 26 11/14
In subcontinent (including UAE) 18 9/9 7 3/3

In the group stage, West Indies failed to win a single game but managed to qualify for the Super Eights due to a superior net run-rate. Against both Australia (group match) and England (Super Eights), they managed to post excellent totals. However, they collapsed to a below-par total against Sri Lanka and were lucky to get out of jail against a spirited New Zealand side in a Super-Over finish.

Sri Lanka, however, have been the epitome of consistency in the tournament so far. They, too, scraped through against New Zealand in a Super Over but ran out comfortable winners against West Indies and England. West Indies' run-rate is ahead of Sri Lanka's but the hosts have been by far the most economical. The average difference (difference between batting and bowling averages) for Sri Lanka (14.35) is much better than the corresponding figure for West Indies (-1.00). West Indies, the team with the most sixes in the tournament, have comfortably out-hit Sri Lanka on the boundary front but have also conceded more boundary runs. While West Indies have more fifty-plus scores (6) than Sri Lanka (2), the hosts have had a six-wicket haul by Ajantha Mendis (against Zimbabwe) and a five-for by Lasith Malinga (against England).

*Super-Over wins are treated as wins

Performance of the two teams in this tournament *
  Matches W/L* Bat rr/bowl rr Bat avg/bowl avg 4s/6s scored 4s/6s conceded 50+ scores 4+ wkt
Sri Lanka
6 5/1 8.20/7.21 32.30/17.95 82/17 60/21 2 2
West Indies 6 3/2 8.47/7.91 26.34/27.34 69/42 67/25 6 0

With both Mahela Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan in good form, Sri Lanka's average and run-rate in the first six-over period have been excellent. On the other hand, Gayle's sedate starts and Johnson Charles' inconsistency have brought down the corresponding numbers for West Indies.

In the middle overs (7-14), West Indies have a higher average and scoring-rate primarily because of Gayle's tendency to accelerate a little later in the innings. Sri Lanka have a top-heavy batting line-up and as a result, have found it much tougher to score quickly in the middle overs. In the final six-over period, West Indies have a lower average but a superb scoring-rate (10.30). Aided by a power-packed middle order, West Indies scored 63 runs off the last four overs in the semi-final against Australia.

On the bowling front, Sri Lanka are well ahead of West Indies. In the first six overs, Sri Lanka have both a lower average (21.27) and economy rate (6.50). Sri Lanka's quality spin attack has ensured that the hosts have excellent numbers in the middle overs (7-14). West Indies, on the other hand, have been inconsistent and expensive in the middle-over period. In the final six-over period, Sri Lanka have been outstanding. They were extremely economical in the first semi-final and stifled Pakistan's scoring rate with their variety. In contrast, West Indies have lacked the necessary discipline in the final overs and have conceded over nine runs per over in the final six-over period.

Team's record in various phases of an innings in the World Twenty20
  Sri Lanka (avg, rr (bat)) West Indies (avg, rr (bat)) Sri Lanka (avg, rr (bowl)) West Indies (avg, rr (bowl))
Overs 1-6 48.66/8.11 32.28/7.53 21.27/6.50 25.70/7.13
Overs 7-14 29.50/7.19 39.12/7.82 22.84/7.24 31.27/7.96
Overs 15-20 25.30/9.98 17.88/10.30 12.38/8.10 24.00/9.14

Over the last three years, there has been very little doubt as to who the best Twenty20 batsman is. Gayle has dominated the format wherever he has played and made a mockery of the belief that it is impossible to maintain both a high average and strike rate. He has tops-cored in the last two seasons of the IPL and is also one among the leading run-getters in the World Twenty20.

Among batsmen with 500-plus runs in the World Twenty20, Gayle's numbers stand out. He has an exceptional average of 47.21 while managing a stunning strike rate of 157.38. His preference to score in boundaries is clearly illustrated by the remarkably high value of the boundary-run percentage (72.91). Following his unbeaten 75 in the semi-final, Gayle has the most fifty-plus scores (7) in World Twenty20 matches. Gayle has hit 43 sixes in just 17 matches in the World Twenty20. Shane Watson, who is second on the list of batsmen with the most sixes in World Twenty20 matches, is a distant second with 27 sixes in 16 matches.

Gayle v other top run-getters in World Twenty20 (min 500 runs)
Player Matches/Innings Runs Average/SR 4s/6s Boun % 50+ scores
Chris Gayle 17/16 661 47.21/157.38 56/43 72.91 7
Kevin Pietersen 15/15 580 44.61/148.33 60/17 58.96 4
Mahela Jayawardene 24/24 825 41.25/139.35 89/22 59.15 6
Tillakaratne Dilshan 24/23 632 31.60/129.77 75/12 58.86 4
Brendon McCullum 21/21 552 29.05/126.60 62/14 60.14 2
Gautam Gambhir 21/20 524 26.20/118.01 61/6 53.43 4
Kumar Sangakkara 24/24 568 27.04/115.44 53/10 47.88 3

Gayle, who has mastered the art of run-scoring in the Twenty20 format, has preferred to score slow in the beginning of the innings before opening up. This has meant that his scoring rate against pace bowlers (8.17) is lower than that of most other batsmen. His opening partner Charles has looked ill at ease against quality pace and averages just 22.75 (four dismissals) while scoring at a run-rate of 6.42. Both Marlon Samuels and Kieron Pollard have high scoring rates against pace bowling but have also been dismissed on three occasions each.

Against spin, Gayle has been at his destructive best scoring at over 14 runs per over with nearly 85% of his runs coming in boundaries. Samuels has struggled to rotate the strike against spinners and as a result, has a low scoringrate (6.87). Pollard, who has been troubled by quality spin in the past, will draw some confidence from his last-over heroics against Xavier Doherty in the semi-final when he hit three consecutive sixes.

In the first semi-final, apart from Jayawardene, no other batsman exuded any confidence on the sluggish surface. Jayawardene, the highest run-getter in the World Twenty20, has looked comfortable against both pace and spin. Among Sri Lankan batsmen, Jaywardene has the highest boundary-run percentage against pace and spin (70.68% and 59.77% respectively). Dilshan, who scored 96 against West Indies in the 2009 semi-final, has had his problems against pace bowlers (four dismissals) but has still maintained a high scoring rate (8.73). Against spin, Dilshan has been dismissed just once but has a very low boundary-run percentage (38.96). Kumar Sangakkara, who is yet to have a major impact in the tournament, has demonstrated consistently high scoring-rates against both fast and slow bowlers.

Batting stats against pace/spin for both teams in the tournament
Batsman Pace (Runs/Average) Pace (SR/boun%) Spin (Runs/Average) Spin (SR/boun%)
Chris Gayle 127/42.33 8.19/74.01 92/92.00 14.15/84.78
Johnson Charles 91/22.75 6.42/76.92 39/39.00 9.00/66.66
Marlon Samuels
96/32.00 8.86/64.58 55/27.50 6.87/65.45
Kieron Pollard 42/14.00 8.40/57.14 28/14.00 8.40/64.28
Tillakaratne Dilshan 99/24.75 8.73/62.62 77/77.00 6.79/38.96
Mahela Jaywardene 116/58.00 7.90/70.68 87/43.50 6.86/59.77
Kumar Sangakkara 81/40.50 8.83/46.91 67/33.50 7.58/47.76
Angelo Mathews 35/35.00 8.07/45.71 15/- 9.00/40.00

As expected, the bowling stats for Sri Lanka have been dominated by their spinners. Mendis, who started with a bang with 6 for 8 against Zimbabwe, was expensive against New Zealand but returned to top form in the semi-final against Pakistan. Malinga, Sri Lanka's most successful Twenty20 bowler, bowled a brilliant Super Over against New Zealand and picked up 5 for 31 against England. Although the Sri Lankan pace bowlers have an excellent record (18 wickets at 24.22), they have been outperformed by the spinners. Overall, the Sri Lankan slow bowlers have 24 wickets at 13.25 but in the second innings, they have picked up 17 wickets at a scarcely believable average (9.29) and economy rate (6.32).

In crucial contests against Australia and England, West Indies produced excellent bowling performances after they were given the cushion of a big score. Spinners have been more successful for West Indies, who have bowled second in all but one match. They have picked up 15 wickets at an average of 24.06 and economy rate of 7.31. In contrast, the pace bowlers have 14 wickets at an average of 30.85 and economy rate of 8.49.

Pace v spin for the two teams in the tournament
Team Bowler type Wickets/avg (1st inns) Econ rate (1st inns) Wickets/avg (2nd inns) Econ rate (2nd inns) Wickets/avg (overall) Econ rate (overall)
Sri Lanka Pace 9/24.55 8.18 9/23.88 6.61 18/24.22 7.32
West Indies Pace 3/28.33 7.08 11/31.54 8.93 14/30.85 8.49
Sri Lanka Spin 7/22.85 8.00 17/9.29 6.32 24/13.25 7.06
West Indies Spin 3/14.66 6.28 12/26.41 7.48 15/24.06 7.31

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Vijayabhaskar on October 7, 2012, 6:16 GMT

    In place of russels, smith can be given a chance. As his bowling can't be used at this wicket. Let Charles play at no.3. Dawyne bravo or Samuels should open the innings with Chrus Gayle so that initial pressure for gayle will get released by rotating the strike.

    Gayle should be cautious on selecting the right balls and bowlers as he did in the semi. Kulasekara and Mathews are very slow bowlers. They bowl 5 out of 6 balls as a loose balls outside the line.

    Ajantha Mendis alone would be the worry for the rest of west indies, so his 4 overs need to be given some respect by taking only singles.

    Rest of the bowlers we can go with brutal power

  • ali on October 7, 2012, 5:28 GMT

    Mr. Admin there is a mistake in yr article . . sriliankan's are just one time finalist and two time semi finalist in the world T20 . . pakistan has been the two time finalist and two time semifinalist . . and now they will be the second time finalist . .

  • Zayan on October 7, 2012, 5:20 GMT

    You can't neglect the Stats whatever said and done,...but the WI have a chance to prove it wrong. I'm a big fan of WI and this should be a great chance for them to bring back the Glory, But we are talking about the LIONs over here. and me being born in one can't just talk Fan talk about WI,....I'm a born fan of the Lions...WI are a great competition to SL no matter what the stats are.... and believe me SL doesn't take any team easy,....Specially not WI. So Best of Luck WI,....and SL do what you do Best...

    Enough with the runners up,...Bring back the world cup

  • parag on October 7, 2012, 3:44 GMT

    What's the point of these over-explained and deep statstics........

  • Hasitha on October 7, 2012, 3:06 GMT

    I also think stats will be of little meaning for an unpredictable team like W indies. If Chris Gayle fires there is very little hope for the opponents.

    Hoping to see a good fight ending with a SL win...

  • karunanidhi on October 7, 2012, 1:05 GMT

    come on West indies .Grab the golden chance

  • Cauldric on October 7, 2012, 0:31 GMT

    ok... uhhmmm.... stats would also have predicted a WI trashing by AUS and ENG. SA or PAK was supposed to be winners. Or maybe IND was supposed to meet SL and trash them..... But wait. It seem nothing went according to stats (beside the Sup8) qualifiers. Your carefully selected adjectives make WI team look like a joke. My suggestion though is that you close your stat book for a while and enjoy A WI victory..... GANGNAM style.

  • adam on October 7, 2012, 0:27 GMT

    what use does Russel have in the team.. his bowling is not suited to these conditions, at least Smith can bat !!!!!!!!

  • john on October 7, 2012, 0:14 GMT

    If the west indies played a perfect game they should win due to the Gayle factor,they players in my opinion who give them the best chance of winning are Gayle.Charles,samuels,Bravo ,Bravo.polard,Radmin, Sammy,Rampaul,Narine and Badree. Good luck WI.Bring the trophy home.

  • Douglas on October 6, 2012, 23:35 GMT

    Throw stats out the window. West Indies were 1 run away from being Waste Indies against NZ, yet they were absolutely brilliant and clinical against Australia. They are too unpredictable - and I just hope the same team that played the Semis show up again - because I am Rallying for the West Indies.

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