March 4, 2016

All-round India clear favourites for World T20

The hosts' superb recent form in T20Is has been due to consistency and the presence of several match-winners with both bat and ball
38

India's win-loss record in T20Is is much better than that of any other team in the last couple of years © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

The Indian team has been on a roll in T20Is in 2016: in ten matches, they have won nine and lost one. That one defeat was on a seaming deck against a young Sri Lankan pace attack, but either side of that defeat they have notched up some impressive results, winning three on the trot in Australia, taking revenge for that lone loss in Pune, and then going undefeated in the Asia Cup league games. In a format whose vagaries present a huge challenge to teams seeking consistent wins, the results that India have produced makes then firm favourites for the World T20, especially given that they are playing on home turf.

Since the beginning of 2014, India's win-loss record versus the top ten teams in T20Is is 13-5, which is by far the best - no other team has won as many, or lost as few matches as India have. The next best are New Zealand with a 10-7 record, while South Africa, Australia, and West Indies have all won a game or two more than they have lost.

India's numbers have been solid with both bat and ball in the last couple of years. Their run rate hasn't been the highest - in fact, five of the nine teams in the table below have done better - but India's bowling stats have been exceptional. Their average and economy rate are the best among all teams. They have been the only team with a sub-20 bowling average and an economy rate of less than 7.50.

T20I record since Jan 2014 (v top ten teams)
Team Mat Won/ lost Ratio Bat ave Run rate Bowl ave Econ rate
 India  18  13/ 5  2.60  31.54  7.86  19.25  7.05
 New Zealand  17  10/ 7  1.43  23.96  8.28  20.65  7.71
 South Africa  20  11/ 9  1.22  32.34  8.27  21.07  8.17
 Australia  17  9/ 8  1.13  24.20  8.49  26.79  7.96
 West Indies  18  9/ 8  1.13  24.54  8.08  24.13  8.00
 Sri Lanka  19  9/ 10  0.90  20.51  7.53  23.71  7.93
 England  18  7/ 10  0.70  22.53  8.34  29.09  8.81
 Pakistan  18  6/ 11  0.55  19.01  7.35  24.75  7.83
 Bangladesh  14  4/ 9  0.44  19.10  6.81  25.33  7.50

With the bat, India have benefited from having two of the best in the format in their top three. Virat Kohli has been sensational, scoring 740 runs at an average of 82.22 and a strike rate of almost 135, while Rohit Sharma is the only other batsman to score 600-plus runs against the top ten teams in T20Is during this period. They are the two leading run scorers during this period, and their presence has given India's top three an irresistible combination of flair and solidity.

India's T20 bowlers have averaged under 20 and conceded runs at less than 7.5 an over in the last two years © BCCI

Thanks largely to those two, India have had 16 fifty-plus scores in 18 matches, and 26 scores of 30 or more. Kohli and Rohit have contributed 15 of the 16 fifty-plus scores, with the only other one coming from Shikhar Dhawan. Dhawan has been fairly ordinary during this period, averaging 20 at a strike rate of 118, but Kohli and Rohit have more than compensated for his failures.

While India have averaged almost one 50-plus score per game during this period, other teams have struggled to get one in two games. South Africa have ten from 20 games, Australia have nine from 17, West Indies nine from 18, Sri Lanka six from 19, and Pakistan three from 18. In terms of 30-plus scores, India have 26 from 18, again the most by any team. The prolific form of Kohli and Rohit also means India's top three have the highest average among all teams; it's often argued that average isn't a relevant stat in 20-over cricket, but for top-order batsmen it indicates solidity and consistency at the top of the order, and for India the high average means they usually have wickets in hand to make good use of the slog overs.

Team-wise stats for Nos. 1-3 in T20Is since Jan 2014 (v top ten teams)
Team Mat Runs Average SR 30+ scores
 India  18  1738  38.62  127.98  26
 New Zealand  17  1500  34.88  140.97  24
 South Africa  20  1801  33.98  136.64  24
 Australia  17  1449  31.50  137.86  20
 West Indies  18  1372  27.44  125.52  20
 Zimbabwe  17  1236  25.22  122.25  17
 Bangladesh  14  838  23.27  111.58  11
 England  18  1194  22.96  128.52  16
 Sri Lanka  19  1138  19.96  117.92  16
 Pakistan  18  824  15.84  100.24  7

In the Powerplay overs, there are five teams that score quicker than India, but many of them tend to lose wickets in the middle overs. Australia have consistently impressive numbers through all stages, with an especially high scoring rate in the last five, while New Zealand's firepower is in evidence too. The numbers are fairly closely packed together, though Pakistan's poor stats in the Powerplays stand out.

Batting teams at each stage of an inngs, in T20Is since Jan 2014 (v top ten teams)
Batting Team First 6: Ave RR 6.1-15.0: Ave RR Last 5: Ave RR
 Australia  33.76  8.27  29.75  8.64  17.33  10.23
 Bangladesh  20.15  6.33  21.82  6.50  16.77  9.13
 England  24.14  7.60  27.00  7.83  22.74  9.51
 India  34.86  7.42  37.68  7.49  15.97  9.52
 New Zealand  44.05  8.69  24.63  7.79  19.26  9.89
 Pakistan  17.67  6.05  22.78  7.17  22.43  9.36
 South Africa  40.41  8.08  36.18  7.80  12.89  8.72
 Sri Lanka  20.02  7.02  24.57  7.04  11.92  8.52
 West Indies  41.05  8.04  21.96  7.23  14.96  8.24

Perhaps the bigger surprise than India's batting has been the manner in which their bowlers have performed over the last couple of years. Their overall economy rate of 7.05 is the best, and while the spinners have led the way with 66 wickets at a superb average and economy rate, the quicker bowlers haven't done badly either. Ashish Nehra has completely justified the selectors' faith in him, taking 12 wickets against the top ten teams in nine games at 18.83 and an economy rate of 7.29, while Jasprit Bumrah has been a revelation, taking 13 wickets at 15.92 and an economy rate of 6.36.

New Zealand average over 44 runs in the first six overs compared to India's 34 © Getty Images

The leader of the pack, though, has clearly been R Ashwin, with 31 wickets 13.12 and an economy rate of 5.88. With Ravindra Jadeja chipping in with 16 wickets as well, India have had most bases covered with the ball.

Pace and spin, team-wise, in T20Is since Jan 2014 (v top ten teams)
Team Pace-Wkts Ave Econ rate Spin-Wkts Ave Econ rate
 India  46  22.47  7.23  66  19.60  6.55
 Zimbabwe  39  35.48  9.07  45  26.00  7.64
 South Africa  90  23.73  8.33  41  19.92  7.42
 Pakistan  57  26.92  8.20  40  27.05  7.02
 West Indies  64  28.76  8.94  38  21.15  6.24
 Bangladesh  35  28.94  7.85  34  24.61  6.74
 Sri Lanka  70  24.70  8.00  32  31.37  7.51
 Australia  62  29.66  7.92  27  24.55  7.28
 New Zealand  88  21.23  7.64  27  23.22  7.37
 England  70  30.14  9.04  21  35.80  7.76

Breaking it up into the three stages of a 20-over innings, the Indian bowlers have consistently come up with excellent numbers at every stage, leading the economy charts in the first six and middle overs, and coming next only to South Africa in the last five. They have also been among the wickets in the middle overs, taking 43 at 24.30. Only South Africa have a better average in the middle overs.

With such complete numbers, it isn't surprising that India have racked up the sort of results they have recently in 20-over cricket. The format is one that's is most favourable for upsets, but even so, India's recent record - and the venue for the tournament - makes them clear favourites for the World T20.

Bowling teams at each stage of an inngs, in T20Is since Jan 2014 (v top ten teams)
Bowling Team First 6: wkts Ave Econ 6.1-15.0: wkts Ave Econ Last 5: wkts Ave Econ
 Australia  29  25.41  7.22  31  35.70  7.63  29  22.68  8.65
 Bangladesh  16  31.43  6.44  30  27.66  7.09  23  22.47  8.88
 England  22  40.22  8.24  39  31.58  8.07  30  24.83  10.61
 India  32  21.46  6.36  43  24.30  6.45  38  16.84  8.64
 New Zealand  30  22.93  6.74  46  24.39  7.33  39  17.58  9.22
 Pakistan  30  24.73  6.87  38  30.34  7.16  29  24.89  10.00
 South Africa  22  48.22  8.84  56  22.91  7.57  53  11.49  7.92
 Sri Lanka  28  30.28  7.43  39  31.07  7.40  35  19.22  9.34
 West Indies  29  27.44  7.46  38  30.78  7.64  35  19.40  9.07

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Pankaj on March 14, 2016, 18:25 GMT

    for those saying t20 is lottery. IT IS Not. because in that case all teams would have lost half of their matches and won the other half.

  • MOHAMMED on March 14, 2016, 16:12 GMT

    India is clear favourite to win this World Cup...Nehra and Ashwin are best T20 bowlers at present, Best opener in Rohit sharma, THE BEST T20 BATSMEN AND FINISHER IS KOHLI AND DHONI. No team comes close even in matching India. India is best T20 team at present and no team can beat India at present. India will win World Cup easily.

  •   Zain Ali on March 6, 2016, 13:47 GMT

    KRAZZYMOI97 That was ODI World Cup not a t20

  • Fair on March 5, 2016, 15:28 GMT

    The "favorites" tag matters only till the knock outs (expectation is that the favorite team will win majority of the matches and reaches the knock outs). From thereon, form on the day counts. Simple cricket logic!

  • MUHAMMAD on March 5, 2016, 13:42 GMT

    It's India's to lose. As a PAK fan, it would have been good enough for us to just get out of that group of death and make it to the semis. But after this Asia cup, I don't think we'll manage to win a single match.

  •   Ananthu Santhanagopalan on March 5, 2016, 13:20 GMT

    Lets check History

    India (2007) - No one gave them a chance after the 2007 ODI World cup 1st round entry.

    Pakistan(2009) - Who thought Pakistan will win in 2009. That too in England with Afridi becoming the MVP

    England(2010) - Who would have given England a chance to beat Aussies in limited overs cricket.

    WI(2012) - SL were favorites to win at home and WI trumped them in a low scoring game.

    SL(2014) - India were favorites and SL beat them.

    If someone is a favorite then history is against them. To me SA and India have good chance because both have good balanced sides and they have good spinners.

  • Ranil on March 5, 2016, 12:29 GMT

    When Sri Lanka won the WC in 2014,India was the clear pre favourite to the media as of now. While accepting India looks the most stable team with a settled batting & bowling line, from Sri Lanka's point of view ,if we have a fit Malinga, no favourite to us.

  • Ramana on March 5, 2016, 12:18 GMT

    Don't realize India team had quite as good a record over last 2 years. I thot the good performances were recent story of Asia cup and AUS series before that. Go India !!

  • Rajasundram on March 5, 2016, 12:14 GMT

    What you need in T20 is one good performance on the day - and any of the teams are capable of doing a 'Marlon Samuels'. Of course my money is on India - but cricket is a funny game, especially T20. Let us hope for good pitches and good cricket and good sportsmanship. May cricket be the winner!

  • Khalid on March 5, 2016, 6:05 GMT

    There is nothing to deny that India is favorite for the coming WT20 given to the fact of their consistent performances in recent times added by home pitches & also team mixture & it reminds me the projection of Ravi Shastri who with certain assurance had said in an interview some two years ago that M.S.Dhoni will lift three World Cups for India, I think if not now it will be never to prove him right…

  • No featured comments at the moment.