ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features

Pakistan v West Indies, World Cup 2011, 1st quarter-final, Mirpur

Battle of two inconsistent batting line-ups

The batting line-ups of both teams have been inconsistent, but Pakistan's better bowling attack gives them the edge

Madhusudhan Ramakrishnan

March 22, 2011

Comments: 25 | Text size: A | A

Shahid Afridi celebrates a wicket, Canada v Pakistan, Group A, World Cup 2011, Colombo, March 3, 2011
Pakistan's varied bowling attack, led by the irrepressible Shahid Afridi, is their greatest strength © Getty Images
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Despite there being few doubts about Pakistan qualifying for the knockout stages, their top position in the group stages has come as a bit of a surprise. Their performances over the years have always been characterised by sheer unpredictability, which makes them a formidable opponent on any given day. As per their seeding, Pakistan were expected to finish behind Australia and Sri Lanka, and beat New Zealand. But what happened was quite the opposite. They pulled off stunning wins over Sri Lanka and Australia, ending the latter's 34-match unbeaten streak in World Cups. However, they lost heavily against New Zealand after an inept batting and bowling performance. West Indies, who were expected to face stern tests against Bangladesh and the other two lower-ranked teams, comfortably triumphed in the three matches. They bowled Bangladesh out for just 58 in Mirpur and went on to ensure their qualification for the next round. What has been less inspiring is their performance against the top teams. While they were not expected to topple India, England or South Africa, they have had their chances in all three teams and failed to grab them.

Pakistan better against top teams
West Indies have been more ruthless than Pakistan in the matches against the lower-ranked teams. They beat Netherlands by 215 runs and thrashed Bangladesh in Mirpur by nine wickets. Pakistan, on the other hand, comfortably got past Zimbabwe and Kenya, but fell for 184 against Canada before eventually defending the score with some disciplined bowling. In matches played against lower-ranked teams, West Indies have the better average and run-rate difference. The story is very different against the top teams. West Indies have a poorer bowling average and economy rate than Pakistan. West Indies, who have chased and lost on two out of three occasions against top teams, might prefer to bat first and post a big score against Pakistan, who floundered in a big chase against New Zealand. In 1996, fourth-placed West Indies faced top-ranked South Africa in the quarter-finals and pulled off an incredible win defending 264, which was set up by a stunning century by Brian Lara. One of their batsmen will have to stand up and deliver a similar emphatic performance for them to upstage Pakistan.

Pakistan and West Indies in the World Cup 2011 so far
Team Opposition Runs per wicket(batting) Run rate Runs per wicket(bowling) Economy rate Average diff RR diff
Pakistan Test-playing teams 28.13 4.87 28.61 5.07 -0.48 -0.20
West Indies Test-playing teams 21.16 4.69 31.91 5.21 -10.75 -0.52
Pakistan non Test-playing teams and Bangladesh 33.25 5.22 14.85 3.46 18.40 1.76
West Indies non Test-playing teams and Bangladesh 34.94 5.91 13.46 4.06 21.48 1.85

Batting woes for both teams
Pakistan and West Indies have finished top and bottom of their respective groups, but the batting performances of both teams have been inconsistent. In the match against Sri Lanka, Pakistan's batting came good and enabled them to post an excellent score of 277 which they defended successfully. Against Australia, Pakistan's brittle batting was nearly exposed while chasing a modest 176. New Zealand, however, thoroughly exploited the weaknesses in Pakistan's top order, by reducing them to 23 for 4 in pursuit of 303, from which Pakistan never recovered. Pakistan's top order has been unconvincing except for Asad Shafiq, who top-scored against Zimbabwe and Australia. Their middle order has been doing much better, but is likely to be severely tested if faced with a competitive target and quality bowling attack.

West Indies' problems have been quite the opposite. Strong starts in almost every game have been frittered away and incredible middle order collapses have meant that they have finished well short. After the early loss of Chris Gayle against South Africa, they recovered and looked set to reach a score of 280 before a flurry of wickets in the end kept them down to just 222. Gayle provided an explosive start against England but again the middle order failed to capitalise. In their final group game against India, West Indies lost their last eight wickets for just 34 runs and lost by 80 runs after being in a comfortable position in their chase of 269.

Batting stats of top order and middle order of teams
Team Batting position Average Strike rate 100s 50s
Pakistan Top order (1-3) 24.70 69.19 0 2
West Indies Top order (1-3) 42.62 81.87 1 4
Pakistan Middle order (4-8) 33.68 81.69 0 6
West Indies Middle order (4-8) 19.80 86.08 0 2

Powerplay performances reflect batting worries
The consistent batting performance of the top order of West Indies is clearly reflected in the stats in the mandatory and bowling Powerplays. Their batting average and run rate are much higher than Pakistan's in the same phase of the innings. However, Pakistan have been the more incisive and economical bowling team in the first ten overs. The powerful lower-middle order of Pakistan has scored at a run rate close of 9.81 in the batting Powerplay. In the same period, though, West Indies have been unable to create an impact as a result of major middle-order collapses.

Performance of the teams in the Powerplays
Team Innings phase RR Batting Average ER Bowling average Run rate diff Dot-ball percentage Boundary percentage
Pakistan Mandatory Powerplay (overs 1-10) 4.41 21.33 3.66 19.85 0.75 78.16 58.59
West Indies Mandatory Powerplay (overs 1-10) 5.13 61.60 4.63 27.50 0.50 66.94 60.38
Pakistan Bowling Powerplay 3.58 34.66 4.50 33.75 -0.92 67.81 26.92
West Indies Bowling Powerplay 5.24 131.00 4.30 25.80 0.94 54.66 44.27
Pakistan Batting Powerplay 9.81 52.33 6.00 11.28 3.81 38.54 62.42
West Indies Batting Powerplay 8.00 23.33 6.07 9.75 1.93 46.66 62.85

The batting for both teams has been a let down in the tournament so far. Not surprisingly, Devon Smith is the only batsman from both teams to figure in the top 20 run-getters in the tournament so far. Kieron Pollard and Gayle have been good on occasions, but will need to step up if West Indies are to challenge the top teams in the knockout games. Not a single Pakistan batsman figures among the top 20 run-getters with Umar Akmal coming in much later on the list with 211 runs.

Pakistan the better balanced bowling side
Shahid Afridi, the most successful bowler in the World Cup with 17 wickets, could be a huge threat to West Indies, given that they haven't been comfortable against spin. Umar Gul and Abdul Razzaq found form against Australia, and the right blend of pace and spin gives Pakistan a bowling edge over most teams. Pakistan's pace bowlers have been more impressive against right-handers, though, and the presence of a number of left-hand batsmen in the top order of West Indies could be a test for Pakistan's bowlers.

The West Indies pace attack has been quite a revelation all through, with Kemar Roach and Andre Russell being the pick of the bowlers. Ravi Rampaul also impressed with a five-wicket haul against India, and could get another game despite the return of Roach. Devendra Bishoo has been quite economical in the two games he has played, while Sulieman Benn did well in Mirpur against Bangladesh. Like Pakistan's attack, West Indies' bowlers have also relished bowling to right-handers.

Performance of pace bowlers and spinners against right handers and left handers
Type of Bowler Type of Batsman Average ER
Pakistan (pace) RHB 21.59 22
Pakistan (pace) LHB 29.66 4.20
West Indies (pace) RHB 16.04 4.95
West Indies (pace) LHB 26.66 4.48
Pakistan (spin) RHB 21.19 3.74
West Indies (spin) LHB 19.84 4.52
Pakistan (spin) RHB 19.42 5.62
West Indies (spin) LHB 53.00 5.18

Even record in recent times
In recent head-to-head clashes in global tournaments, the teams have been evenly matched. Pakistan won by five wickets in their most recent meeting in the Champions Trophy while West Indies won comfortably in their last World Cup meeting in the opening game of the 2007 World Cup. West Indies have an 8-3 record in global tournaments against Pakistan. Since 1999 though, both teams have won two games each when they have met in the World Cup and Champions Trophy. Overall, in matches played since 2000, Pakistan enjoy a much better record.

Mirpur, the venue for the match, has generally been a good batting wicket, but stats here are distorted because of the two batting failures by Bangladesh, when they were bowled out for 58 and 78 against West Indies and South Africa respectively. In recent games teams chasing have done much better in Mirpur, but in a crucial knockout game batting first might be the better option.


Comments: 25 
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Posted by Sri on (March 23, 2011, 14:11 GMT)

Very good observation, CricketpunditUSA: "The team that beats the holder of the cup in league stages lifts the trophy".. We also need to remember that the host/s of the world cup have never won the trophy (or have they, did SLka host the trophy partially in '96?). So, it does look like Pakistan has a good chance to win this WC if they do move forward. What I would hope if there is an Indo-Pak semi-final or final is for India to bat first. There looks to be no way looking at this Pak attack's variety and effectiveness that India will win if they bat second in an Indo-Pak match!

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 23, 2011, 12:56 GMT)

I hvae been seeing several post through out the ICC competion indicating that Bravo should have replaced Thomas behind the wicket to strengthen the batting. What difference would it have made to take the gloves from Thomas and give them to Bravo. Did you all realize that Bravo have been failing misserably throughout the tournament? The insignificant amount of runs he was posting throughout the tournament were insufficient amounts to offset the drop catches and extras he would have given away behid the wicket. What they should have done was drop Bravo and give Edwards a try.

Posted by Arunkumar on (March 23, 2011, 8:46 GMT)

@CricketPunditUSA. Friend, In 1999 India beat the defending Champions Srilanka in the league stages but they failed to win the title in 1999, It was Australia that eventually won it. So your theory of the team beating the current champions will be the winners is flawed.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 23, 2011, 7:20 GMT)

Well well well. It doesnt seem that any team in the first QF has a clear advantage over the other. West Indies batting may seem vulnerable to the variety in Pakistani bowling, but Pakistani batting has looked vulnerable against any bowling attack in the tournament, variety or no variety. Therefore, Pakistan batting will be under a lot of pressure to perform against the likes of Kemar Roach. Should Pakistan post a big total batting first, then its should be a cake walk for them. Somehow I dont feel comfortable about Pakistan batting "under lights" chasing whatever total, for the white ball does a little more at night than our bastmen can handle. Hence, in my opinion, the toss will be the decisive factor. The team that wins the toss and bats first should most likelyl win! Pakistan Zindabad.

Posted by Akber on (March 23, 2011, 6:02 GMT)

when Pakistan is on song... the stats are irrelevant... there is more to Pakistan team than stats... Pakistan will blast through the windies ...

in 1987, it was australia who stopped them in the semis ... Pak were the favorites going into that match ... Imran didn't had UDRS then ... now they have UDRS (stopped Ponting because of that in the group match) ...

Posted by Huzaifah on (March 23, 2011, 5:19 GMT)

In my opinion, stats are nothing to go by in this match and I'm sorry for that. Just because WI have appeared to be a weak opposition throughout the tournament combined with the fact that the record books are stacked heavily against them is misleading, at least for todays game. We saw that in the match against Australia on Saturday when Australia was supposed to win easy. Remember that these are two of the most unpredictable teams that have graced the sport and I would advise a word of caution. The toss will be crucial not to mention how Saeed Ajmal performs against the lefties and hopefully that Pakistans batting holds up for another day.

Posted by Jawwad on (March 23, 2011, 4:56 GMT)

Pakistan is the Cinderella team of 2011 World Cup.

Posted by Manesh on (March 23, 2011, 3:39 GMT)

This is the time for Gyle to explode...c'mmon WI, you can do it....may Jesus gives you strength....

Posted by Sean on (March 23, 2011, 3:38 GMT)

cricketpunditUSA, that's an interesting theory but it falls down with the 1992 World Cup. In that Cup, New Zealand beat Australia in the very first match of the tournament but they didn't go on to win the World Cup. For 1996 it was India that beat Pakistan in the quarterfinals.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 23, 2011, 3:04 GMT)

wi will crush pakistan and win the world cup.

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