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Are the last five overs more productive in this World T20?

A look at the scoring patterns in this tournament, and a comparison with previous editions of the World Twenty20

S Rajesh

April 4, 2014

Comments: 14 | Text size: A | A

Darren Sammy finished the innings with an electric 42 off 20 balls, Pakistan v West Indies, World T20, Group 2, Mirpur, April 1, 2014
Darren Sammy has been the most prominent example of a batsman who has squeezed out every last bit from the last five overs © Getty Images
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Series/Tournaments: World T20

This is the fifth edition of the World Twenty20, and over the years teams have evolved strategies with both bat and ball to optimise their resources in a crunched 20-over format. Batsmen have tried to use the Powerplay overs differently, and have realised the value of keeping wickets in hand even in this format where only 120 balls are available; bowling teams have increasingly realised the value of slow bowlers - even with the new ball - and of taking pace off the ball.

Despite all the changes, though, the overall numbers in the five World T20s have remained remarkably similar, even though the tournament has been hosted in different countries - South Africa, England, West Indies, and then twice in the subcontinent. In the inaugural edition, the tournament run rate was 7.99 per over, and 22.64 runs per wicket; in the current edition, leading up to the first semi-final, it was 7.52 runs per over and 22.13 runs per wicket. Excluding the preliminary stages of the tournament, the run rate was 7.65, and the average 22.22. The three editions in between have had run rates ranging between 7.53 and 7.63. Evidently, all the batting and bowling strategies seem to have cancelled each other, and we've been left with overall numbers which haven't changed much at all.

In the very first match of the inaugural World Twenty20, between South Africa and West Indies in Johannesburg, both teams topped 200, with South Africa chasing down West Indies' 205 with more than two overs to spare. Later in the tournament, there was another match in which both teams scored 200 or more: in the game between India and England in Durban - made famous by Yuvraj Singh's six sixes in an over - England responded to India's 218 by scoring 200. In that tournament, there were five totals in excess of 200, but in four World T20 tournaments since then, there have been only two such scores. The highest in this tournament so far has been South Africa's 196 against England.

The balls per four and six are also very similar in the last two tournaments - around nine balls per four, and 26 per six. Batsmen didn't clear the fence as often in 2009, when England hosted the competition, but in the West Indies in 2010 there was a six every 21 balls.

The overall stats for each World T20
Edition Average Run rate Balls per 4 Balls per 6 200+ scores
2014 22.13 7.52 9.02 26.00 0
2012 23.64 7.63 9.11 26.35 1
2010 21.42 7.53 11.78 21.36 0
2009 22.62 7.62 9.04 36.31 1
2007 22.64 7.99 9.05 22.50 5

The one significant trend seen in T20 cricket in the last few years has been the increased use of spin bowling, and that's reflected in the stats in the last three World Twenty20s as well: spinners have bowled more than 40% of the overs in each of the last three editions, peaking at almost 46% in 2012.

In the last two tournaments, spinners have gone at less than seven runs per over, while the faster bowlers have conceded more than 7.50. This year, there's been a difference of 0.80 between the economy rates of spin and pace, while spinners also have a better bowling average.

Pace and spin in each of the World T20s
  Spin Pace  
  Overs Ave Econ rate Overs Ave Econ rate Spin % overs
2014 491.1 21.54 6.88 672.5 25.35 7.68 41.84
2012 446.0 24.34 6.87 526.2 25.07 7.90 45.73
2010 418.5 25.96 7.19 564.4 21.04 7.52 42.58
2009 383.4 20.32 6.62 593.0 25.67 7.96 38.38
2007 237.2 23.55 7.84 737.0 25.26 7.78 24.07

The over-wise run chart for this tournament, and for the earlier ones, also offer a glimpse into how scoring patterns have changed in 20-over international cricket. In the earlier days, there seemed to be more urgency at the start of the innings - and the need to fully capitalise on the Powerplay overs - but perhaps not as much outrageous hitting in the last five overs. In the 2007 World Twenty20, the average runs scored in the first ten overs by the team batting first was 72, and in the last ten 90, with the last five fetching about 48. In the 2009 edition, the average in the first ten was 74, and in the last ten 84, with the last five fetching 49. (These are all stats for teams batting first, because the numbers for teams chasing are often influenced by the kind of target they're up against.)

This year, teams batting first have generally been pretty subdued in the first ten, scoring, on average, about 68 runs. In the main stage of the tournament, the last ten overs have been extremely productive, with teams batting first averaging 90 runs in these overs. That's 22 more than the average in the first ten; in 2009, the difference in average runs scored in the two sets of ten overs was only ten. The last five has also been more productive, with an average of 51 being scored during this period. Each of the last four overs averaged more then ten in the main stage of the tournament, while none of the previous 16 touched even nine per over.

Clearly, teams were generally more careful about keeping wickets in hand: in each of the 16th and 17th overs, only five wickets fell during the first innings in the main stage of the competition. In the 18th there were nine wickets, while 11 fell in the 19th and 22 in the last over.

That pattern of wickets falling was quite different even in the 2012 edition, when 13 wickets fell in the 11th over for the teams batting first (seven in the main stage this time), and 17 in the 16th over (five this time). It seems this is the approach that seems to agree with most teams at the moment - keep wickets in hand, start slow, and then have a blast at the end. It worked well for West Indies, till the rains denied them the opportunity to bat those last five overs in the semi-final.

Over-wise run rates in each World T20 (1st inngs only)
  2014        
Over No. Overall Main stage 2012 2010 2009 2007
1 5.50 6.00 4.92 5.59 6.85 5.57
2 6.15 6.05 5.44 7.51 7.00 6.42
3 8.00 8.65 6.68 7.29 7.66 6.65
4 6.90 6.00 6.80 8.81 8.51 7.50
5 6.84 6.35 8.76 6.77 10.29 7.11
6 7.65 6.65 7.44 6.51 6.74 7.30
7 6.34 7.00 6.60 6.25 6.18 7.46
8 7.46 8.10 6.68 5.88 6.84 6.96
9 6.43 6.00 7.96 7.74 7.65 7.84
10 6.28 7.55 7.72 6.44 6.61 8.76
11 7.23 7.84 5.96 7.29 7.69 8.50
12 7.58 8.47 7.28 6.55 6.50 8.80
13 7.45 7.57 8.84 9.07 6.65 8.42
14 7.25 8.10 7.76 8.18 7.80 8.11
15 7.41 7.63 9.72 6.81 6.96 8.76
16 8.67 8.47 7.12 10.31 10.30 9.69
17 9.67 11.00 8.64 9.34 10.11 8.86
18 9.60 10.57 10.04 11.57 7.92 8.24
19 9.75 10.26 11.40 9.42 9.02 11.36
20 9.79 10.58 11.95 8.28 11.41 9.54

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

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Posted by bobmartin on (April 5, 2014, 22:10 GMT)

Those figures seem to bear out a point I made earlier in another thread about the use of DL in T20 matches.. Teams quite clearly score at a far higher rate in the last 4 or 5 overs than they do in the power plays.. where the emphasis seems to be on not losing wickets.. To take 2012 as an example ... the first five overs yield an average of 32.60 runs .. whereas the last 5 yield 46.66 runs ie.. a huge increase of 43%.... How is this factored into the DL system ?

Posted by   on (April 5, 2014, 2:06 GMT)

But vivek in 2012 they have scored the highest rate per over. Your Yuvraj didn't hit Six sixers in 2013....

Posted by   on (April 4, 2014, 22:43 GMT)

It would be great if wickets shared by spin and pace at death and overall

Posted by   on (April 4, 2014, 22:37 GMT)

If the first innings has 20 overs, 30% is under *powerplay*. If you then have the second innings, curtailed by rain after 5 overs, 100% is under *powerplay* (easy runs). Does the D/L method take account of this?

If not, then the D/L method should not be used for games that end that way, unless the formula could be revised.

Posted by Omarrz on (April 4, 2014, 17:53 GMT)

CricketingStargazer - 2012 was in Srilanka and not in India.

BTW, where is the 2016 edition?

Posted by   on (April 4, 2014, 11:36 GMT)

that is why the rain-curtailed games are unfair, semi is atrocious to be given by DL

Posted by   on (April 4, 2014, 11:22 GMT)

Reason for high run-rate in 19th overs of 2007 World cup is Yuvraj's 6 sixes.

Posted by bouncer709 on (April 4, 2014, 11:14 GMT)

All teams are trying to keep wkts in start and score briskly in last overs, that is the big reason no team has scored 200 i n this WC. If they score 70 runs in 10 ovrs, in last 10 overs they can score 120-130 runs but still there is chance they will fell short few runs of 200 , but if they play briskly in start and score 100 in 10 overs then they can score 200. Teams are trying to play safely and keep wkts but still they are not able to preserve wkts...

Posted by py0alb on (April 4, 2014, 10:10 GMT)

Can you fish out the numbers for the difference in economy rate between bowlers in the first overs of their spell against their second, third or fourth overs in a spell?

I have a theory that just 6 balls familiarity is enough to give a batsman an edge, and that series of 1 over spells are the way to go.

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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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