ESPNcricinfo Awards

ESPNcricinfo Awards 2014: A year for New Zealand, and Angelo Mathews

The top players of 2013, as decided by the numbers. Also starring Dale Steyn, Rangana Herath, Brendon McCullum and AB de Villiers

S Rajesh
S Rajesh
The Statsguru Awards are based purely on numbers from international matches in 2014. However, they go beyond the usual stats - runs scored, wickets taken, batting averages and such - and are based instead on detailed data analyses of performances. Which batsman played more consistently than any other over the entire year? Which batting pair was the most prolific through the year? Which bowler was at his best in the third and fourth innings of Tests? Read on to find out.

Main awards

Batsman of the year
(cut-off: 750 runs in Tests, 750 in ODIs)
Angelo Mathews
Test weighted score 77.45, ODI weighted scored 55.09, Total 132.54
Till the end of 2013, Angelo Mathews had never scored 600 runs in a single calendar year in either Tests or ODIs; in 2014, he exceeded 1200 in each format. In Tests, he aggregated 1317 - the second-highest of the year - at an average of 87.80, while his ODI aggregate of 1244 - at an average of 62 and a strike rate of 89 - was also the second-best in 2014. Kumar Sangakkara scored more in both formats, but at slightly lower averages. In Tests, Mathews averaged 87.80 in 21 innings, with 11 scores of 50 or more - the average was helped by the fact that he was not out six times, but that only further enhanced the numbers for what was already a hugely prolific year.
In ODIs, Mathews was equally prolific, scoring 1244 runs in 31 innings at 62.20, with ten scores of 50 or more. Eleven not-outs helped boost the average, but given that he batted at No. 5 or 6, his runs were often scored in tough situations when he had to score quickly with little time to settle in. Sangakkara scored more ODI runs too - 1256 - but at an average of 46.51.
Mathews finished with a Test weighted score of 77.45 (average weighted by the number of runs scored, as a ratio of the top scorer in the year), while his ODI score was 55.09 (average multiplied by runs scored per ball, and weighted by the runs scored, as a ratio of the top-scorer in the year). Together, his aggregate score was 132.54. Sangakkara was next, with a weighted score of 111.88.
Bowler of the year
(cut-off: 30 wickets in Tests, 20 in ODIs)
Dale Steyn
Test weighted score 30.09, ODI weighted score 38.74, Total 68.83
This was a year in which the most successful bowlers in Tests generally took very few ODI wickets, and vice-versa. Rangana Herath, the highest wicket-taker in Tests with 60, took 13 ODI wickets. Mitchell Johnson took 47 Test wickets but 14 ODI ones, while James Anderson's 40 wickets in Tests were complemented by 12 in ODIs. None of them managed the cut-off of 30 wickets in Tests and 25 in ODIs. The couple who did were Dale Steyn (39 in Tests and 22 in ODIs) and Morne Morkel (30 in Tests, 24 in ODIS).
Steyn had another fine year in Tests - his 39 wickets came at an average of 19.56, and included a match-winning nine-wicket haul in Galle. In ODIs he was less spectacular, taking 22 wickets at an average of 26.54 and an economy rate of 5.07. Overall, had a Test score of 30.09 (average weighted by the number of wickets, as a ratio of the leading wicket-taker of the year), while his ODI score was 38.74 (average multiplied by runs per ball, weighted by the number of wickets, as a ratio of the leading wicket-taker of the year). His total score was thus 68.83, while Morkel's was 95.70.
Best Test batsman
(cut-off: 750 runs)
Angelo Mathews - 1317 runs at 87.80, weighted score 77.45
Only Sangakkara scored more Test runs than Mathews in 2014, but Mathews had the better average - 87.80 to 71.09. Even after factoring the extra runs that Sangakkara scored, Mathews had a Test score of 77.45 to Sangakkara's 71.09. Steven Smith was next with a score of 62.83, while Younis Khan and Brendon McCullum rounded off the top five.
Most consistent batsman
(cut-off: 750 runs)
Angelo Mathews - Consistency index 2.15
In 21 Test innings in 2014 (20 in matches that began after January 1, 2014, and one in the second innings of the Test that started on December 31, 2013), Mathews was dismissed for less than 15 only once. He passed 40 on 14 occasions, which is a good indication of how consistent he was in 2014. His standard deviation - which is a measure of the average distance from the mean - was a comparatively low 40.86. That, combined with his average of 87.80, gave him a consistency index (average divided by standard deviation) of 2.15, which was the best among all batsmen who scored 750-plus Test runs in 2014. Sangakkara had an index of only 0.95, because along with a triple and double-hundred, he also had nine scores of less than 30. Among the batsmen who were more consistent were Joe Root (index 1.50), Misbah-ul-Haq (1.49) and David Warner (1.45).
Best Test bowler
(cut-off: 30 wickets)
Rangana Herath - 60 wickets, average 27.45, weighted score 27.45
Not only was Herath the highest wicket-taker in Tests in 2014, he also got his wickets at an impressive five-fors were also better than any other bowler in the year. A few others had better averages - Johnson averaged 23.27, Anderson 22.15, and Steyn 19.56 - but the sheer weight of wickets worked in Herath's favour. Herath also bowled 610 overs in Tests in 2014; the next-highest was Nathan Lyon with 405.
Best ODI batsman
(cut-off: 750 runs)
AB de Villiers - ODI batting index 58.67
He played only 16 ODIs in 2014, but made them count, scoring 879 runs at an average of 73.25, and a strike rate of 114.45. He scored two hundreds - against Australia and Sri Lanka - and six fifties, and each of these 50-plus scores were made at faster than a run a ball. Of the four times he was dismissed for under 25, three were against Zimbabwe in the tri-series in which were the other side - against them de Villiers scored unbeaten knocks of 136 and 57 in the same tournament.
Five batsmen scored more runs than de Villiers in ODIs in 2014, but none were as effective. Even when weighting his runs to those of the highest in the format - Sangakkara's 1256 - de Villiers' ODI index (average multiplied by runs scored per ball, and weighting his runs scored against the highest in the format) comes up to 58.67, marginally higher than that of Mathews, who scored 1244 runs at an average of 62.20 and a strike rate of 89.43, giving him an index of 55.09. Virat Kohli had an index of 48.95, and Sangakkara 40.79.
Best ODI bowler
(cut-off: 20 wickets)
Shakib Al Hasan - ODI bowling index 18.85
Shakib's stats with the ball were outstanding in 2014 - 21 wickets at an average of 16.80, and an economy rate of 3.72. Eleven of those wickets came in five ODIs against Zimbabwe, but even against other teams he was excellent - ten wickets in seven games at an average of 21.70 and an economy rate of 4.10. There were two bowlers who took 38 wickets - Ajantha Mendis and Mohammed Shami - but both had high economy rates: 5.76 for Mendis, 6.16 for Shami. That meant their overall index (which is calculated by multiplying the average by runs conceded per ball, and then weighting the score by their wickets tally) was slightly poorer than Shakib's (20.76 for Mendis, 23.55 for Shami) despite them taking so many wickets.


Other awards

Test batting
(Cut-off: 750 runs, unless mentioned otherwise)
Batting pair of the year: openers
(Cut-off: eight innings)
Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva
Among pairs that batted together at least eight times at the top of the order in Tests, Sri Lanka's Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva had the best average partnership, of 49.21. In 14 innings, they added 689 runs, with two century stands, with a highest of 124 against Pakistan in Dubai. (They added 642 in 13 partnerships in Tests that began in 2014, and 47 in the second innings of the Test in Abu Dhabi, which began on December 31, 2013.) More than big partnerships, a feature of their stands in 2014 was the fact that they almost always got starts: in 11 out of 14 innings, they added at least 30 for the opening wicket. The only other opening pair that ran them close was Australia's David Warner and Chris Rogers, who added 808 runs in 18 stands at an average of 44.88.
Batting pair of the year: others
(Cut-off: eight innings)
Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq
In nine partnerships in Tests in 2014, Younis Khan and Misbahul-Haq put together 923 runs, at an exceptional average of 115.37. They started the year with a partnership of 218 against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi, and had two other 150-plus stands, also at the same venue - 181 against Australia, and an undefeated 193 against New Zealand. In nine stands they had five which exceeded 100. There were a couple of other hugely prolific batting pairs in Tests in 2014: Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson averaged 107.85 in seven stands, with a highest of 297 against Pakistan in Sharjah, and Azhar Ali and Younis, who averaged 80.66 from nine partnerships.
Highest percentage of team runs
Hamilton Masakadza
Zimbabwe played four Tests in 2014, and Hamilton Masakadza contributed significantly, scoring one century and two fifties in eight innings. His tally of 420 runs was 22.46% of the total runs that Zimbabwe's batsmen scored (1870) in Tests in 2014. The next-highest percentage belonged to West Indies' Craig Brathwaite, who scored 701 runs, which was 21.79% of his team's bat runs in the year.
Most runs in wins
David Warner
Four batsmen scored between 702 and 721 runs in Test wins in 2014, but the leader of the pack was David Warner, whose 721 runs came in ten innings at an average of 72.10. Steven Smith scored 717 at an outstanding average of 119.50, while two New Zealanders rounded off the list: Kane Williamson made 712 at 101.71, while Brendon McCullum scored 702 runs at 87.75.
Best strike rate
David Warner
For the second year in a row, Warner took the prize for the best scoring rate (among batsmen with at least 750 runs), making his runs at 81.90 per 100 balls. No other batsman touched 75; the next best was McCullum, who scored 1164 runs at a strike rate of 72.56. Only two others touched 60, both from India - Kohli (60.54) and Ajinkya Rahane (60.01).
Highest percentage of runs in boundaries
Brendon McCullum
Out of the 1164 runs he scored, 722 were in fours and sixes (131 fours, 33 sixes). The percentage of 62.03 was the highest among all batsmen who scored at least 750 Test runs in 2014. There were four other batsmen who scored more than half their runs in boundaries: Murali Vijay (55.87%), Rahane (55.38), Kaushal Silva of Sri Lanka (51.86) and Warner (51.58). Vijay and Silva were the odd ones out here, as both had overall strike rates of less than 45, and yet had a high boundary percentage.
Test bowling
(cut-off: 30 wickets)
Best strike rate
Dale Steyn
Among bowlers with at least 30 wickets, Steyn's strike rate of 37.6 was easily the best. (Incidentally, the best last year was 37.5, by Mitchell Johnson.) The next best in 2014 was Johnson, at 44.2, while James Anderson was third at 49.5. The bowler with the poorest strike rate among this lot was Nathan Lyon, at 73.6.
Best third- and fourth-innings bowler
(cut-off: 15 wickets)
Dale Steyn
Among bowlers with at least 15 second-innings wickets, Steyn was the most potent, taking 21 wickets at an average of 15.04, and a strike rate of 27.7. The next best in terms of averages were Yasir Shah of Pakistan (15 wickets at 16.46) and Kemar Roach (15 wickets at 16.53).
ODI batting
(cut-off: 750 runs, unless mentioned otherwise)
Best scoring rate (Qual: 750 balls)
AB de Villiers
Among the 19 batsmen who faced at least 750 deliveries in ODIs in 2014, only one scored at faster than a run a ball: AB de Villiers made 879 runs off just 768 balls - a strike rate of 114.45. Kohli came close, scoring 1054 runs in 1058 balls (strike rate 99.62), while Quinton de Kock was the only other batsman with a 90-plus strike rate (90.36).
Lowest scoring rate (Qual: 750 balls)
Ahmed Shehzad
Bangladesh's Anamul Haque was the slowest of the lot, scoring at a strike rate of 70.34 - 631 runs in 897 balls. Sri Lanka's Lahiru Thirimanne was next with a rate of 74.01, while Ahmed Shehzad, last year's slowest, was third this time with a rate of 75.87.
Batting pair of the year: openers
(cut-off: minimum 10 innings)
Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane
Last year, Shikhar Dhawan's combination with Rohit Sharma was the best among openers - they averaged 55.26 at a run rate of 5.38; this time, Dhawan's combination with Rahane was the best. In ten stands, they put together 773 runs at an average of 77.30, and a scoring rate of 5.71 per over. Among their three century stands was a partnership of 231 against Sri Lanka in Cuttack, and one of 183 against England at Edgbaston. Ian Bell and Alastair Cook did fairly well too, with 478 runs at an average stand of 53.11, while Aaron Finch-David Warner (average 49.09 in 11 stands) and Hashim Amla-Quinton de Kock (47.44 in 18) were the others who averaged more than 45. In terms of partnership index score (the average partnership multiplied by runs scored per ball), Dhawan-Rahane had a score of 73.56, followed by Bell-Cook at 50.19.
Batting pair of the year: others
(cut-off: minimum 8 innings)
Jos Buttler and Joe Root
In nine partnerships in ODIs in 2014, Jos Buttler and Joe Root put together 521 runs at an average of 74.42 and a run rate of 6.84, giving them a partnership index score of 84.84. One of their century stands was worth 175, for the fifth wicket against West Indies in North Sound. Next best was Angelo Mathews and Lahiru Thirimanne, who averaged 78.16 at a run rate of 5.21 (partnership index 67.87), while Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson averaged 78.22 at a run rate of 5.16 (index 67.27).
Highest percentage of runs in boundaries
Shikhar Dhawan
Shikhar Dhawan won this award last year, and repeated the feat this year too. In 2013 he scored 54.91% of his runs in boundaries; this time, his boundary percentage was 54.48 - 90 fours and 14 sixes in a total aggregate of 815. Next in line was Tillakaratne Dilshan, with a boundary percentage of 52.73, while Rahane was the only other batsman with a 50-plus percentage - 50.52.
Lowest dot-ball percentage
AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers made it a hat-trick in this category, winning for the third time, and by a hugely convincing margin. He had a dot-ball percentage of 35.29, well clear of the second-placed Kohli (43.57). Last year, de Villiers had a percentage of 41.40, while the second-best was George Bailey's 46.75. The highest dot percentage was Aaron Finch's 55.85, while Rahane followed closely with 55.45.
Highest percentage of team runs (top ten teams only)
Kane Williamson
Williamson scored 770 out of New Zealand's 3757 bat runs in ODIs in 2014, which works out to a percentage of 20.50. It was the highest percentage among the top ten sides, marginally ahead of Mushfiqur Rahim's 704 out of 3513 runs (20.04%). Hashim Amla was third, scoring 892 runs out of South Africa's 4486 (19.88).
Most runs in wins
Kumar Sangakkara
Sangakkara scored 858 runs in 18 Sri Lankan wins that he was a part of in 2014. He averaged 50.47 in wins, at a strike rate of 89. No other batsman scored 700 runs in wins. The next best was Kohli, with 695 in 11 innings, at an average of 77.22, and a strike rate of 101.31.
Most runs in chases
Virat Kohli
Like de Villiers in the dot-ball factor, Kohli made it a hat-trick of wins in this category, scoring 722 runs in 12 such innings, at an average of 72.20, and a strike rate of 102.26. Again, he was well clear of everyone else in this category, demonstrating how good he is when batting second: the next highest was Dhawan, with 551 runs in 12 innings at 50.09.
ODI bowling
(cut-off: min 125 overs)
Best economy rate
Imran Tahir
Among bowlers who bowled at least 125 ODI overs in 2014, Imran Tahir's economy rate of 4.31 was the best, closely followed by Sachithra Senanayake (4.38), James Tredwell (4.53) and Angelo Mathews (4.59). Of the 13 bowlers who made the 125-over cut, seven had economy rates of less than five.
Worst economy rate
Mohammed Shami
Shami was the only one, among the bowlers who bowled 125 overs in 2014, to go at more than six runs per over. He conceded 872 runs in 141.3 overs, for an economy rate of 6.16. Shami was also the joint leading wicket-taker for the year, along with Ajantha Mendis, with 38, but neither could keep the runs down: Mendis' economy rate was 5.76, third from the bottom. Shami's strike rate of 22.3 was the best, though, followed by Mendis' 22.5.
Best dot-ball percentage
Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Among those who bowled 125 overs, Bhuvneshwar had the best dot-ball percentage, of 62.74, easily the best. Next on the list was Angelo Mathews with a percentage of 56.12, followed by Mohammed Shami with 55.48.
Lowest boundary percentage
Imran Tahir
Tahir conceded only 32 fours and nine sixes in the 763 balls he bowled, a percentage of 5.37. The next-lowest percentage was Senanayake's (5.65), with Shahid Afridi coming in third at 6.03. Spinners dominated the top section of this list as they bowl mostly in the middle overs, a period when batsmen aren't looking for boundaries as aggressively, and there's more protection for the bowlers in the deep. The bowler with the highest percentage of boundary balls was Shami: he conceded 99 fours and 22 sixes in 849 balls, a percentage of 14.25.
Twenty20 internationals
Best batsman
(cut-off: 180 balls faced)
Virat Kohli
Kohli was far and away the best batsman in the format. He played only seven innings in T20 internationals, and his scores read thus: 36*, 54, 57*, 23, 72*, 77, 66 - 385 runs at an average of 96.25 and a strike rate of 133.68. Even if the runs-per-innings stat is calculated, to do away with the effect of not-outs, his numbers are still impressive - his runs per innings is 55, which was much higher than for all other batsmen.
Multiplying the runs per innings with the strike rate - with a 1.1 factor for strike rate, given its importance in the format - Kohli's score was 75.69, which was well clear of the second-placed Alex Hales, who had a score of 48.96. Hales made the highest T20I score of 2014 - 116 not out against Sri Lanka in Chittagong - but he was also dismissed for less than 25 six times in 12 innings. The third best was Aaron Finch, last year's winner, with a score of 41.40.
Best bowler (cut-off: 30 overs)
Samuel Badree
In the 12 T20I matches that Samuel Badree played in 2014, only three times did he concede more than a run a ball, while seven times his economy rate was less than five an over. His overall economy rate was 5.00, and he also took 19 wickets at an average of 12.36. Multiplying his bowling average with the runs conceded per ball, with a 1.1 factor for economy rate, Badree's overall bowling score was 10.11, which was well clear of the second-placed Imran Tahir, who had a score of 15.13 (average 13.40, economy rate 6.70).
Best batting pair
(cut-off: six partnerships)
Aaron Finch and Cameron White
In seven partnerships, the Australian pair of Aaron Finch and Cameron White added 318 runs at an average of 53, and a run rate of 8.79 per over. Four of their seven partnerships were in excess of 40. Multiplying their average stand by the run rate, with a 1.1 weightage for the run rate, the partnership score for Finch and White was 80.67. In second place was West Indies' Chris Gayle and Dwayne Smith: in eight innings they averaged 44.50 at a run rate of 7.71, giving them a score of 58.73.
Most dominant: Tests
New Zealand
New Zealand won five Tests in 2014, the most they have ever done in a calendar year, and lost only two, giving them a win-loss ratio of 2.50, the best among all teams in the year. Australia and Sri Lanka won five as well, but lost three games, while South Africa had a 4-2 win-loss record. Apart from Zimbabwe, who didn't win a Test in 2014, the team with the worst record was India: they won one Test and lost six, which is exactly the reverse of their 2013 Test record, when they won six and lost one.
Most dominant: ODIs
Australia had a 13-5 win-loss record in ODIs in 2014, the best among all teams. South Africa were almost as good, winning 12 and losing six, while New Zealand won nine and lost five. Pakistan had a surprisingly poor ODI year, winning six and losing ten, while England were disappointing as well, with a 9-16 win-loss record.
Most disciplined: ODIs
New Zealand
In 16 ODIs, in 2014, New Zealand conceded only 90 wides and seven no-balls, an average of 6.06 per match, the least among all teams that played at least ten ODIs in the year. England, the winners in this category for the last two years, were a close second this time, with an average of 6.12 per game. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, were the least disciplined, giving away 9.81 wides and no-balls per game.
Most dominant: T20Is
Sri Lanka
For the second time in succession, Sri Lanka were the most dominant T20I team, winning eight games - including the World Twenty20 tournament in Bangladesh - and losing only one, to England. India were next with a 5-2 record, while Australia had a 9-4 win-loss ratio in 2014.

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. @rajeshstats