Australia three times better than the rest
Click here for the tournament statistics
Over 47 days of action during the 2007 World Cup, 21,333 runs were scored for the loss of 725 wickets in 51 matches, which works out to an average of 29.42 runs per wicket at 4.95 runs per over, which in turn works out to a 50-over score of 248 for 8 in 50 overs. In terms of a competitive one-day match, this is just about the perfect total - it suggests an equal contest between bat and ball, with something in the conditions for both to exploit.
Add that statistic to a couple more - the team batting first and chasing both won 25 times, while the team winning the toss won 24 games and lost 26 - and the format of the World Cup - eight top teams going through to play against each other - and you'd be forgiven for believing that the tournament was the perfect one. It wasn't, of course, due to a number of reasons - the primary ones being that one team was much better than the rest, and far too often some of the sides just forgot to show up.
The story of the World Cup - on the field, at least - was the ruthless manner in which the Australians dominated. There are several numbers which bring that out; here are some of the main ones:
The table below lists out the details for all teams that reached the Super Eights.
|Team||Runs scored, wkts lost||Bat - Ave, RR||Runs conc, wkts taken||Bowl - Ave, ER||Bat ave - Bowl ave||RR - ER|
|Australia||2851, 43||66.30, 6.54||1937, 103||18.81, 4.64||47.49||1.90|
|Sri Lanka||2673, 70||38.19, 5.45||2027, 91||22.27, 4.52||15.92||0.93|
|New Zealand||2280, 60||38.00, 5.35||2178, 78||27.92, 4.58||10.08||0.77|
|South Africa||2251, 60||37.51, 5.58||2099, 76||27.62, 4.64||9.89||0.94|
|England||2014, 66||30.52, 4.73||1916, 65||29.48, 4.96||1.04||-0.23|
|West Indies||2040, 69||29.57, 4.85||2164, 60||36.07, 5.05||-6.50||-0.20|
|Bangladesh||1372, 72||19.06, 3.96||1691, 52||32.52, 4.73||-13.46||-0.77|
|Ireland||1452, 79||18.38, 3.94||1579, 53||29.79, 4.79||-11.41||-0.85|
The Australians have often stressed the importance of rotating the strike, but in the smaller grounds in the West Indies, they clearly recognised the benefits of going for the big hits - in 11 games they blasted 273 fours and 67 sixes, and scored more than 52% of their runs in boundaries. The only team that got close to them was South Africa, with 49.49%. In fact, the Australians also exceeded their norm - in the 15 months before the World Cup, their boundary percent in ODIs was only 46.
Australia take the top spot in everything - they played the least number of dot balls as well, which, combined with their boundary percentage, explains how they scored the number of runs they did. Bangladesh had many positives to take from the tournament, but the one area which is well below international standards is their ability to rotate strike - they played out nearly 70% dot balls.
|Team||Total runs||4s + 6s||Boundary runs %||Dot balls/ total balls||Dot ball %|
|Australia||2851||273x4 + 67x6 = 1494||52.40||1331/ 2643||50.36|
|Sri Lanka||2673||203x4 + 38x6 = 1040||38.91||1660/ 2987||55.57|
|New Zealand||2280||172x4 + 43x6 = 946||41.49||1482/ 2577||57.51|
|South Africa||2251||202x4 + 51x6 = 1114||49.49||1335/ 2428||54.98|
|England||2014||167x4 + 22x6 = 800||39.72||1547/ 2577||60.03|
|West Indies||2040||167x4 + 42x6 = 920||45.10||1514/ 2533||59.77|
|Bangladesh||1372||116x4 + 17x6 = 566||41.25||1449/ 2093||69.23|
|Ireland||1452||104x4 + 17x6 = 518||35.67||1513/ 2229||67.88|
At the head of Australia's dominance was their opening combination of Matthew Hayden and Gilchrist - the Australians averaged 76.10 for the first wicket, with eight fifty-plus stands. In the first 20 overs they scored at an average of 5.88 runs per over, and 87.78 runs per wicket.
|South Africa||10||430||43.00||2/ 1|
|West Indies||9||293||32.55||1/ 1|
|Sri Lanka||11||338||30.72||0/ 2|
|New Zealand||10||271||27.10||1/ 0|
Their opening with the new ball was just as aggressive - Australia took 45 of their 103 wickets in the first 20 overs. Other teams were more economical at the start, but none nailed the wickets like Australia did. Interestingly, New Zealand had the worst average per wicket among teams which made it to the Super Eights.
|Team||Wkts taken||Runs per wkt||Runs per over|
Australia's dominance was undoubtedly the single outstanding feature of the tournament, but there were a couple of other interesting aspects as well. With the new ball doing a bit in most of the venues, most of the teams (not Australia, though) preferred caution in the early part of the innings, which made most of the games a throwback to the early days of one-day cricket, when teams would score slowly and keep wickets in hand in the early overs, and then open out towards the end. The average run-rate in the first 20 was just 4.44, but in the last ten it increased to nearly seven.
|Overs||Runs/ balls/ wkts||Runs per wkt||Runs per over|
|1-20||9054/ 12,244/ 281||32.22||4.44|
|21-40||8271/ 10,388/ 262||31.57||4.78|
|41-50||3998/ 3462/ 182||21.97||6.93|
Also, the pitches were conducive to both pace and spin, which ensured that spinners had plenty to do through the tournament, with Muttiah Muralitharan and Brad Hogg being among the leading wicket-takers.
|Bowler type||Wickets||Average||Economy rate|
S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo