ICC Champions Trophy 2009

An equal contest

The nature of pitches in the Champions Trophy meant that batsmen, fast bowlers and spinners all had a chance to shine

S Rajesh

October 6, 2009

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The 2009 Champions Trophy was billed as a tournament which could decide the future of one-day cricket. Going by what most captains had to say, the event was a resounding success: the short duration of the tournament helped, as did the type of pitches, which gave the bowlers more of a chance than conditions in most parts of the world for one-day cricket. The overall numbers for the competition reflect the same: 214 wickets fell in 15 matches - an average of 14 per game - at an average of 30.36. The average runs per over was 5.05, which means the average 50-over score in the tournament was 253 for 8 (rounded off to the nearest whole number). That score suggests both batsmen and bowlers had opportunities to make a mark.

There were five scores of more than 300 - England, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Pakistan and South Africa all managed to pass that mark - while three times teams were bundled out for less than 150 (West Indies (twice) and England).

The 2009 Champions Trophy
Matches Runs Wickets Runs per wkt Runs over 300+scores All out < 150
15 6499 214 30.36 5.05 5 3

While the overall numbers were impressive, the tournament still failed to provide the kind of thrillers one would have expected from a competition in which several teams seemed so evenly matched. Looking at the margins of wins in the 15 games, it's obvious that most of them weren't close. Three matches were won by a margin of 50 or more runs, with Sri Lanka's 55-run victory against South Africa being the highest. The next was Pakistan's 54-run win against India, while Australia beat West Indies by 50.

Overall, though, teams batting second had the advantage, winning nine out of 14 games which produced results, including both semi-finals and the final. Of those nine wins, most were pretty comfortable ones, both in terms of wickets in hand and balls remaining. Seven games were won by five or more wickets, of which only one, New Zealand's semi-final win against Pakistan, came with less than three overs to spare. The only really close game of the tournament was Australia's two-wicket, last-ball win against Pakistan in Centurion.

Result margins in the 2009 Champions Trophy
  50 or more runs 25-49 runs < 25 runs 5 or more wkts 3-4 wkts < 3 wkts
Number of matches 3 1 1 7 1 1

Australia were involved in the most tense game of the competition, but they also ensured the semis and final ended up being quite one-sided. Their batting average of 47.16 was by far the highest of all teams, while the bowling average was bettered by only one team. The two leading run-scorers in the tournament were both Australians, but the bowlers were slightly hampered by the fact that they bowled in one less innings than the other teams, as their match against India was washed out.

What's also striking about the table below, though, is how closely the teams are bunched. Apart from West Indies and Australia, all teams had batting averages between 28 and 34, and run rates between 4.84 and 5.61. (The highest run-rate, ironically, belonged to South Africa.)

Among the bowling sides, Sri Lanka struggled the most, with only 18 wickets in three games. Muttiah Muralitharan had one of his worst tournaments, taking one wicket at an average of 106 and an economy rate of 5.88, and that hit the team badly. West Indies were awful with the bat but did themselves no dishonour with the ball, with an average that was better than two other teams. Three of their bowlers - Nikita Miller, Gavin Tonge and Darren Sammy finished with sub-four economy rates.

How each team fared in the tournament
Team Runs Batting ave RPO Wickets Bowling average Econ rate
Australia 1179 47.16 5.13 34 26.08 4.56
New Zealand 1110 30.00 4.98 38 28.39 4.76
Pakistan 874 30.13 4.84 33 24.87 4.63
England 939 29.34 5.05 26 35.30 5.51
Sri Lanka 808 28.85 5.60 18 40.77 5.53
India 378 29.07 4.90 23 28.91 5.17
South Africa 724 34.47 5.61 26 32.92 5.79
West Indies 487 16.79 4.15 16 33.68 4.78

The batting Powerplays

One of the aspects of team strategies that was analysed closely throughout the tournament - and which will undoubtedly be scrutinised further over the coming weeks - was the use of batting Powerplays. Experts went hoarse trying to urge teams to take them relatively early, when a strong partnership was in progress, but most times teams preferred to wait till they were closer to the final overs.

In the 15 matches, the batting Powerplay was taken 26 times (three times it wasn't taken by the team chasing - England against Sri Lanka, and Pakistan and India against West Indies - while India didn't get to bat at all against Australia). Of these 26, on nine occasions the batting team took it after 44 or 45 overs. Only three times did teams take it before the 30th, and on two of those instances the batting team was forced into taking it - West Indies collapsed so quickly against Pakistan and India that they had no option but to take them. The only other instance was by New Zealand against England, when they smartly opted for it in the 11th over to take advantage of a blazing start after Andrew Strauss had declined to take the fielding Powerplay. That was the only instance of the batting Powerplay being taken before the fielding one.

When the batting Powerplays were taken
After 44 or 45 overs Between 40th and 44th Between 30th and 39th Before 30th
9 8 6 3

Overall, the Powerplays yielded an average of 7.71 runs per over, and slightly less than 21 runs per wicket.

Overall stats for batting Powerplays
Runs scored Wickets lost Runs per wkt Runs per over
890 43 20.70 7.71

Among the eight teams, Australia used the batting Powerplays the best, averaging more than ten per over and losing only two wickets during this period. They scored 69 in those five overs against West Indies, the most by any team. (The only other side to get more than 60 was New Zealand, who blasted 61 against Sri Lanka.) Fittingly, Australia ended their semi-final and final with a flurry of big hits in the batting Powerplays, scoring 28 from 11 balls against England and 12 from two against New Zealand.

New Zealand and Sri Lanka didn't do badly either, but Pakistan were disappointing, averaging only slightly more than seven per over and losing nine wickets during this period. India only used the Powerplays once, losing four for 16 against Pakistan.

Australia were also excellent with the ball when their opponents took the batting Powerplay - they took nine wickets during this period, the joint-highest with South Africa, and conceded only 6.40 runs per over. New Zealand, on the other hand, struggled to take wickets, managing only one in 105 deliveries they bowled, for a bowling average of 137. Sri Lanka conceded nearly ten per over, while West Indies leaked 69 against Australia on the only occasion they were forced to bowl during the batting Powerplay.

How the teams fared in the batting Powerplays
Team Bat ave Run rate Bowl ave Econ rate
Australia 87.00 10.14 12.56 6.40
New Zealand 24.67 8.88 137.00 7.83
Pakistan 11.89 7.13 21.17 6.74
England 15.20 6.00 17.00 7.07
Sri Lanka 25.60 8.53 48.00 9.93
South Africa 18.40 7.77 14.78 8.87
India 4.00 4.17 12.00 6.40
West Indies 18.75 5.00 69.00 13.80

Pace and spin

The nature of pitches can be further gauged from the fact that both fast bowlers and spinners did reasonably well. Spinners were slightly more economical, while fast bowlers had a slightly better average.

Pace and spin in the 2009 Champions Trophy
  Wickets Average Strike rate Econ rate
Pace 151 31.33 37.3 5.03
Spin 48 34.22 43.3 4.73

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo

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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.
Tournament Results
Australia v New Zealand at Centurion - Oct 5, 2009
Australia won by 6 wickets (with 28 balls remaining)
New Zealand v Pakistan at Johannesburg - Oct 3, 2009
New Zealand won by 5 wickets (with 13 balls remaining)
Australia v England at Centurion - Oct 2, 2009
Australia won by 9 wickets (with 49 balls remaining)
India v West Indies at Johannesburg - Sep 30, 2009
India won by 7 wickets (with 107 balls remaining)
Australia v Pakistan at Centurion - Sep 30, 2009
Australia won by 2 wickets (with 0 balls remaining)
More results »
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News | Features Last 3 days