October 12, 2012

Ravi Rampaul's Jekyll-and-Hyde story

The West Indian fast bowler has been all aggression and fire with the new ball in T20s, but has leaked plenty of runs in the slog overs

Throughout the 2012 World Twenty20, there were two sides to Ravi Rampaul. The good side surfaced when he bowled with the new ball: he was all fire and gusto at the start of an innings, often bowling just short of a good length, at better than brisk pace, and moving the ball, mostly away from the right-handers. The intent was to take wickets, and he was successful in giving West Indies the early advantage more than once. Against England, for example, Rampaul dismissed both Craig Kieswetter and Luke Wright in his first over; he also took early wickets against Sri Lanka (in the Super Eights match) and New Zealand, besides starting Sri Lanka's slide in the final with an unplayable first ball to Tillakaratne Dilshan.

Then there was the other side to Rampaul, when he continued to bowl length deliveries at the end of an innings, and was hammered for plenty on more than one occasion. In that group game against England, after bowling a double-wicket maiden first up, he went for 15 runs in the 17th over of the innings, and 16 in the 19th, as his figures changed from 2-1-6-2 to 4-1-37-2. Then in the final, after conceding just nine runs in his first two overs, he gave away 22 in his third, the 16th of the innings, as Nuwan Kulasekara pounced on his length deliveries and gave Sri Lanka a glimmer, only if very briefly. Obviously, his captain decided against giving him a fourth over.

Overall in the tournament, Rampaul conceded 89 off 91 balls and took seven wickets in the first 14 overs of the innings (average 12.71, economy rate 5.86). In the last six overs, he gave away 100 runs in 52 balls, and took two wickets (average 50, economy rate 11.53).

Ravi Rampaul in the 2012 ICC World Twenty20
Overs Balls Runs Wickets Average Econ rate 4s/ 6s
1-14 91 89 7 12.71 5.86 10/ 2
14.1 to 20 52 100 2 50.00 11.53 8/ 4
In the tournament 143 189 9 21.00 7.93 18/ 6

As a new-ball bowler, Rampaul was easily among the best in the tournament. He was one of nine bowlers who bowled 15 or more overs during the first 14 overs of an innings at an economy rate of less than a run a ball. In terms of averages, he was even better - only Ajantha Mendis' average of 11 (nine wickets for 99 in 102 balls) was better than Rampaul's 12.71. With stats like these, there's no doubt that Rampaul was among the best in the tournament in the first part of an innings.

However, his stats during the last six overs of an innings were easily among the poorest. Among those who bowled at least six overs during this period, only Jade Dernbach of England had a poorer economy rate (11.72). Rampaul went at almost two runs per balls and struggled for wickets too, taking only two.

Bowlers with poorest economy rates in the last 6 overs in 2012 World Twenty20 (Qual: 6 overs)
Bowler Balls Runs Wickets Average Econ rate 4s/ 6s
Jade Dernbach 44 86 3 28.67 11.72 7/ 5
Ravi Rampaul 52 100 2 50.00 11.53 8/ 4
Stuart Broad 36 69 4 17.25 11.50 7/ 3
Nuwan Kulasekara 36 67 3 22.33 11.16 8/ 2
Mitchell Starc 42 72 5 14.40 10.28 9/ 3
Umar Gul 66 113 3 37.67 10.27 15/ 1

This wasn't just a feature of Rampaul's bowling in the 2012 World Twenty20; it has been so in all Twenty20 international matches he has played in. Over his entire career, his stats are much better in the first 14 overs of an innings than in the last six, when his length bowling - and the lack of a good yorker or a slower ball - has gone at 12.42 runs per over. Among those who've bowled at least 20 overs in the last six of an innings, Rampaul's economy rate is the poorest, and he has also conceded a six every ten deliveries, which is again the worst rate among these bowlers.

Ravi Rampaul with the ball in Twenty20 internationals
Over no. Balls Runs Wickets Average Econ rate 4s/ 6s
1 to 14 277 305 18 16.94 6.60 30/ 8
14.1 to 20 141 292 7 41.71 12.42 20/ 14
Career 418 597 25 23.88 8.56 50/ 22
Bowlers with poorest economy rates in last 6 overs in Twenty20 internationals (Qual: 120 balls)
Bowler Balls Runs Wickets Average Econ rate 4s/ 6s Balls per 6
Ravi Rampaul 141 292 7 41.71 12.42 20/ 14 10.07
Nuwan Kulasekara 143 269 7 38.42 11.28 26/ 9 15.89
Dwayne Bravo 140 240 12 20.00 10.28 25/ 8 17.50
Kyle Mills 172 277 9 30.77 9.66 29/ 8 21.50
Tim Southee 258 414 19 21.78 9.62 36/ 16 16.13
Albie Morkel 148 228 8 28.50 9.24 15/ 12 12.33
Jacob Oram 162 240 11 21.81 8.88 20/ 9 18.00
Cusack 126 186 11 16.90 8.85 10/ 7 18.00
Jade Dernbach 150 219 9 24.33 8.76 17/ 9 16.67
Stuart Broad 286 414 19 21.78 8.68 31/ 16 17.88

And here's the list of bowlers who've done better at the death: with the same 20-over cut-off, these are the fast bowlers who have the lowest economy rates in the last six overs of Twenty20 internationals. Not only have these bowlers kept the runs in check during the slog overs, they have also capitalised on the batsmen's intent of going for quick runs by picking up plenty of wickets.

Dale Steyn and Umar Gul have been the benchmarks in these aspects. Both have economy rates of less than 7.50, and excellent averages as well. There have been a few instances when Steyn has been expensive in the slog overs, but his overall stats are superb. Gul has maintained a top-notch economy rate over many matches - he has bowled 520 balls in the last six overs in T20 internationals, second only to Saeed Ajmal's 546 - which suggests he has excellent knowledge of how to bowl during this stage of an innings. He wasn't at his best during the slog overs in the 2012 World Twenty20, though, going at more than ten an over. Lasith Malinga's overall economy rate isn't the best, but he too has taken wickets, which generally helps keeps the runs in check.

Most of these bowlers also have plenty of variations in their armoury, which has worked to their advantage. Apart from having a good yorker, most of these bowlers also vary their pace and length well. Rampaul, on the other hand, tends to repeatedly bowl length deliveries at a similar pace that are easy for batsmen to line up; a length which helps him attack batsmen and take wickets when bowling with the new ball becomes a hittable length later in the innings. A noticeable difference is also the frequency with which the top bowlers are hit for sixes in the later part of the innings: Steyn has conceded just one six in 222 balls, compared to Rampaul's 14 in 141. Gul isn't quite as frugal as Steyn, but his average of 32 balls per six conceded is much better than Rampaul's ten.

Rampaul is clearly a huge talent for West Indies, and his willingness and ability to hunt for wickets even in a format loaded in the batsmen's favour is a huge plus, but to become a complete bowler in today's age, he clearly needs to do better in the slog overs.

Fast bowlers with best economy rates in the last six overs in Twenty20 internationals (Qual: 20 overs)
Bowler Balls Runs Wickets Average Econ rate 4s/ 6s Balls per 6
Dale Steyn 222 273 16 17.06 7.37 26/ 1 222.00
Umar Gul 520 640 43 14.88 7.38 51/ 16 32.50
Shaun Tait 136 168 11 15.27 7.41 10/ 6 22.67
Ryan Sidebottom 170 214 13 16.46 7.55 15/ 7 24.29
Brett Lee 131 167 12 13.91 7.64 8/ 5 26.20
Morne Morkel 183 234 14 16.71 7.67 16/ 12 15.25
Shane Watson 217 284 19 14.94 7.85 25/ 10 21.70
Mitchell Johnson 139 184 7 26.28 7.94 13/ 8 17.38
Lasith Malinga 372 516 26 19.84 8.32 46/ 11 33.82

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. Follow him on Twitter

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