Australia vs England, ICC World T20 final, Bridgetown May 15, 2010

Big-match record gives Australia upper hand

Madhusudhan Ramakrishnan
A statistical preview to the ICC T20 World Cup final between Australia and England

Australia made sure that a repeat of the World Cup 1992 final would not take place with a scarcely believable victory over Pakistan in the semi final in St Lucia. Instead, they meet England in the final of a major tournament after 23 years - they met last in the World Cup final in 1987 when Australia won by seven runs. Since 2000, they have faced off six times in major tournaments with the Australians coming out on top five times. Australia revel in big matches, and their extraordinary performance in the semi final against Pakistan is further proof of their steel under pressure. England have been extremely consistent in the tournament so far, but it could be quite a mental battle for them to win against a team which has made it a habit of winning the big tournaments.

The table below summarises the overall performance of the two finalists. Despite the Australian bowling going for runs in the previous game, they have been consistent and dangerous all tournament and their powerful batting order, boosted by the showing of Michael Hussey at No.7, has scored plenty of runs. England have also been superb throughout, with both departments clicking perfectly. Australia seem though to have the slight edge over their opponents as they boast more power hitters in the middle order.

Overall run rate and economy rate
Team Matches played Run-rate Economy rate Run-rate difference
Australia 6 8.51 6.67 1.84
England 6 7.97 6.68 1.29

England have been more successful in the Powerplay overs as the stats below suggest. Craig Kieswetter and Michael Lumb have provided superb starts and Kevin Pietersen is in top form leading into the final. Australia's form in the first six overs has tapered off over the last few games with the loss of some early wickets, but the dynamic pair of Shane Watson and David Warner is clearly capable of inflicting serious damage as they did against India.

Batting performance in the Powerplay overs
Team Runs scored Balls faced Run rate Wickets lost Average
Australia 266 217 7.35 11 24.18
England 306 216 8.50 7 43.71

Australia have been the most dominant batting team in the last six overs. Michael Hussey, who has proved to be the finest finisher, and Cameron White have succeeded in turning matches around with aggressive clean hitting in the slog overs. England have been quite successful too, with the likes of Eoin Morgan and Luke Wright providing good finishes to the innings, but the firepower in this department clearly lies with the Australians.

Batting performance in the last six overs
Team Runs scored Balls faced Run rate Wickets lost Average
Australia 363 193 11.28 15 24.20
England 285 184 9.29 15 19.00

Australia's pace trio have been quite superb during the Powerplay overs in almost every game they have played. They have picked up regular wickets to leave the opposition reeling and this has been a major factor in their success thus far. England have been quite economical too, but will need to boost their wicket tally to put more pressure on the Australian middle order.

Bowling performance in the Powerplay overs
Team Runs conceded Balls bowled Economy rate Wickets taken Average
Australia 225 235 5.74 16 14.06
England 229 214 6.42 9 25.44

Australia's economy rate during the final overs was dented by some brilliant hitting by Pakistan in the semi-final. Overall, though, their stats are still very impressive as they have been able to pick up 20 wickets in this period. England have been more economical in the final few overs, but in this department there is hardly anything to choose between the sides.

Bowling performance in the last six overs
Team Runs conceded Balls bowled Economy rate Wickets taken Average
Australia 221 172 7.70 20 11.05
England 181 152 7.14 14 12.92

The tables below summarise the performance of the fast bowlers and spinners for both teams. Australia have easily been the finest bowling team, managing to dismiss the opposition on almost every occasion. Dirk Nannes is the leading wicket-taker in the tournament while Steven Smith, the legspinner, has also provided good support to the fast bowlers by picking up regular wickets himself. England's performances in the fast bowling and spin departments stack up pretty well against Australia's, but their wicket taking ability has been slightly inferior.

Performance of pace and spin bowlers for Australia
Type of bowler Runs conceded Balls bowled Economy rate Wickets taken Average
Pace 524 467 6.73 34 15.41
Spin 242 204 7.11 17 14.23

Performance of pace and spin bowlers for England
Type of bowler Runs conceded Balls bowled Economy rate Wickets taken Average
Pace 380 320 7.12 19 20.00
Spin 127 108 7.05 9 14.11

Perhaps nothing else will delight the Australians more than the fact they will play the final in Barbados. The bouncy track there has helped the Australian attack and their top-class performances on this pitch do not bode well for their opponents. They skittled out a powerful Indian batting line-up and made light work of the Sri Lankan team in their clashes in Bridgetown. The table below shows why the pace trio will be so dangerous on this surface.

Performance of Australia's fast bowlers at Barbados
Bowler Runs conceded Balls Bowled Economy rate Wickets taken Average
Dirk Nannes 62 66 5.63 9 6.88
Shaun Tait 46 58 4.75 5 9.20
Mitchell Johnson 38 38 6.00 4 9.50

The decision to play Michael Hussey as an extra batsman at No.7 has proved to be a masterstroke for the Australians. He got them out of trouble with crucial knocks against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, but those pale in comparison to the stunning 60 off 24 balls in the semi-final against Pakistan. Not only has Hussey played the intelligent game with the singles and twos, he has proved extremely capable of playing the big hits when required. He has scored 156 runs off just 76 balls in the last six overs, with nine sixes and 12 fours. The presence of a genuine match-winner at No. 7 is definitely a huge advantage for Australia going into the final.

Performance of Michael Hussey at number 7
Matches played Runs scored Balls faced Scoring rate Average
6 171 97 10.57 171.00

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