ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features

India v West Indies, Group B, World Cup 2011, Chennai

India ahead in trial by spin

Indian batsmen have better stats than their West Indian counterparts against spin in this tournament so far, which could be key given the nature of the Chennai track

S Rajesh

March 19, 2011

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West Indies have been struggling to compete against the top teams for a while now, and their record when playing at the home of their opponents is quite poor - since 2000, their overall away record is 35 wins and 53 defeats. However, India is the one country where they've competed well, with six wins and as many defeats against India in India since 2000. In fact, India have an overall head-to-head advantage against West Indies since 2000, but that's mainly because of their win-loss record in neutral venues - 6-2.

In World Cup games too there's been nothing to choose between the two teams: the two teams have shared the six matches equally, and so egalitarian have they been that neither team has won two in a row. West Indies won the first one in 1979, India won two out of three in 1983, while West Indies won in 1992 and lost in 1996. If that trend continues, West Indies can look forward to upsetting the form book on Sunday.

ODIs between India and West Indies
  ODIs India won WI won
Overall 95 38 54
Since 2000 32 17 14
In India since 2000 12 6 6
In World Cups 6 3 3
In Champions Trophy 3 1 2

The West Indian batsmen have generally enjoyed the pitches and the conditions in India, though the track in Chennai might not be as favourable to run-scoring as some of the other venues in the country. Chris Gayle averages almost 56 in ODIs in India, with six of his 19 ODI centuries coming in this country. Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan both average more than 40 too, though neither has got going in the World Cup so far: in seven innings between them, the highest either batsman has scored is 49. In fact, batting has been a worry for West Indies in the tournament, with Darren Bravo, Chanderpaul and Sarwan all averaging less than 30.

West Indies batsmen in ODIs in India
Batsman ODIs Runs Average Strike rate 100s/ 50s
Chris Gayle 22 1117 55.85 94.18 6/ 3
Shivnarine Chanderpaul 20 732 48.80 76.40 1/ 6
Ramnaresh Sarwan 19 665 47.50 80.60 0/ 5
Kieron Pollard 4 178 44.50 161.81 0/ 2
Devon Smith 7 277 39.57 72.89 1/ 1
Darren Bravo 4 108 27.00 78.26 0/ 1

The Indian batsmen have done reasonably well at home against West Indies since 2000, but the one player who has struggled is Yuvraj Singh: in eight innings he has managed only 209 runs at an average of 26.12.

If the last two matches at the MA Chidambaram Stadium are any indication, spinners will have plenty to do on Sunday, and the batting team which handles the spin better could be the winner. On that count, India seem to be better equipped. West Indies have lost 19 out of 39 wickets to spin, and their average and run-rate against spin are much poorer than the corresponding numbers against pace. The Indians have a much higher average against spin, while there's almost no difference between their run-rates against pace and spin.

West Indies against pace and spin in this World Cup
Against Runs Balls Wickets Average Run rate
Pace 737 751 20 36.85 5.88
Spin 374 476 19 19.68 4.71

India against pace and spin in this World Cup
  Runs Balls Wickets Average Run rate
Pace 719 708 20 35.95 6.09
Spin 686 678 14 49.00 6.07

The overall pace and spin numbers for Chennai in this World Cup suggest that fast bowlers have done better than spinners, but that's largely because of the first game at the venue, when Kenya crumbled against New Zealand's fast bowlers. Excluding that match, there's little to choose between the stats for the two, with the spinners faring slightly better in terms of average and run-rate.

Pace and spin in Chennai in the World Cup so far
  Runs Balls Dismissals Average Econ rate
Pace 509 683 30 16.96 4.47
Spin 436 628 20 21.80 4.16

Pace and spin in Chennai excluding the NZ-Kenya game
  Runs Balls Dismissals Average Econ rate
Pace 422 564 20 21.10 4.48
Spin 382 556 20 19.10 4.12

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo

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S Rajesh Stats editor Every week the Numbers Game takes a look at the story behind the stats, with an original slant on facts and figures. The column is edited by S Rajesh, ESPNcricinfo's stats editor in Bangalore. He did an MBA in marketing, and then worked for a year in advertising, before deciding to chuck it in favour of a job which would combine the pleasures of watching cricket and writing about it. The intense office cricket matches were an added bonus.

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