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Stats Analysis

T20 World Cup stats round-up: Openers struggle in fast-bowling paradise

Conditions have been challenging for batters in Australia, but the fielders haven't always supported the bowlers

S Rajesh
S Rajesh
31-Oct-2022
Fast bowlers have recorded the best economy across editions in the ongoing T20 World Cup  •  Getty Images

Fast bowlers have recorded the best economy across editions in the ongoing T20 World Cup  •  Getty Images

With the fast bowlers getting the ball to bounce, swing and seam at almost all the venues, the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia hasn't been all fun and games for the batters. The average runs per wicket in this tournament so far - after 31 matches - is 20.40, while the run rate is 7.30 per over. Both are the lowest among the eight editions so far.
Pace takes the lead
Spinners have had a wonderful time too - their average of 20.92 is the second-best while the economy rate of 6.87 is third out of eight World Cups - but the heroes have been the quick bowlers. They have averaged 21.46 runs per wicket, 7.23 runs per over, and have taken a wicket every 17.8 deliveries. The economy is the best among all World Cup editions, while the other two numbers rank second, next only to the 2010 edition in the West Indies.
Fast bowlers have bowled 65% of the total overs and taken 66% of the total wickets, both of which are the highest for them since the inaugural edition of the tournament in 2007.
The pace, bounce and movement on offer has meant that good-length and back-of-a-length deliveries have been particularly difficult to tackle for the batters. Against these lengths from the fast bowlers, batters have averaged only 19.6 at a strike rate of 102 in this tournament. Both are the lowest among the last five editions.
Powerplay problems for batters
Batters have found the conditions especially tough in the powerplay overs - the fielding restrictions haven't presented the batters with more scoring opportunities. Instead, it has meant more catchers take the chances offered. The average of 20.23 runs per wicket is the lowest among the last five T20 World Cups, while the scoring rate of 6.64 is also the worst, marginally lower than the 6.72 in last year's tournament in the UAE and Oman.
In the main stage of the tournament so far, six teams have conceded fewer than 17 runs per wicket in the powerplays, while only three have conceded 40 or more. New Zealand lead the way with a bowling average of 8.71, while South Africa (10.44), India (11.85), Bangladesh (14.55), Pakistan (16.16) and Sri Lanka (16.33) have also been exceptional. England have been the poorest so far, conceding 47 runs per wicket.
A struggle for the openers
This has been a tough World Cup for batters in general, but even more so for the openers. They have averaged only 21.94, the lowest among all World Cups, while the strike rate of 115.66 is also the least. There have only been 16 fifty-plus scores in 112 innings by the openers so far, while 50 times they have been dismissed for single-digit scores. The openers have scored only 31.9% of the runs scored off the bat so far in this tournament, which is again the lowest among all editions.
Bat first to win
In the previous T20 World Cup in the UAE and Oman, teams batting first won only 16 matches and lost 29, but the tables have turned this time around: teams batting first have a 16-11 win-loss record, which currently equals the best ratio in any World Cup - the 2009 edition also had the same win-loss record for teams batting first.
Catching woes
Sixty-two catches have already been dropped in the tournament so far, while 245 have been taken. That's a ratio of 3.95 catches taken per drop, which is much poorer than the previous edition, when 316 catches were taken and only 49 dropped.
Ireland have been the worst offenders in this tournament, dropping 12 chances and catching 23, a success rate of less than 66%. On the other hand, Namibia didn't drop a single chance, while New Zealand have been outstanding too, missing only one catch out of 13.

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. @rajeshstats