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IND v ENG (1)
WPL (1)
BPL 2024 (2)
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Stats Analysis

Stats - Close finishes, big chases and Australia's dominance

All the interesting numbers about the close finishes, scoring rates, and more from the Women's World Cup 2022

The tournament of close games
One of the biggest talking points of the tournament was how a number of matches went down to the wire. Teams batting first won five times by a margin of fewer than ten runs, while the chasing teams got over the line in the final over four times. Nine of the 30 completed matches in this edition were either won in the last over by the chasing side or by a margin of fewer than ten runs. Before the 2022 Women's World Cup, there have been only 12 such results, and no more than three in any edition.
The only previous instance of a team either reaching the target on the last ball of the chase or winning with only one wicket in hand at a World Cup was by Sri Lanka in 2013 against England, when they reached the 239-run target on the last ball of the 50th over, having lost nine wickets. In the 2022 edition, there were two similar results - England beating New Zealand by one wicket at Eden Park, and South Africa completing a chase on the last ball against India in the final league game.
Australia's dominance
Australia started the tournament as clear favourites on the back of an impeccable record in the format since the previous World Cup. Between the 2017 and 2022 editions, Australia won 31 of the 33 ODIs they played, including a record of 26 consecutive wins. Their performance was no less than the expectations from them, as they ended up winning all nine matches on their way to the seventh ODI World Cup title.
It was only the third time a team won all their matches in an edition of the Women's ODI World Cup. Australia was the team on the previous two such instances as well, winning all three they played in 1978 and all seven in 1997. Batting was the key feature in Australia's seventh title win as their batters averaged 54.87 while their bowlers took wickets at 27.26.
Fewer boundaries but similar scoring rates
The tournament was slightly on the high-scoring side with 18 250-plus totals being recorded, including four 300-plus scores, both the most in a World Cup edition. However, the aggregate run rate of the tournament was 4.68, a decimal point lower than it was in the 2017 edition (4.69).
Though the run rates were similar, boundaries were tough to come by in New Zealand. The boundary lengths could have contributed to this, as the ropes were not brought in at any venue. A boundary was hit every 13.45 balls in this tournament, while it was 11.44 in the 2017 edition, and 12.86 in the ODIs between the two World Cups.
The sixes dried up further - only 52 were hit across the 31 matches this time, less than half of the 111 sixes in the 2017 edition, and less than the tally of the 2013 World Cup (67 sixes) as well. The balls-per-six ratio in this tournament was 307.46, higher than the 2009 edition (279.51). It resulted in a steep increase in the batting strike rate on non-boundary balls - from 40.86 in 2017 to 46.58 in 2022.
Healy, Haynes and Ecclestone make a mark in record books
Australia's success with the bat would not be possible without the contributions from their opening pair of Alyssa Healy and Rachael Haynes, who had three century stands, including two in the knockouts. Healy and Haynes contributed 509 and 497 runs respectively in the tournament, the highest by anyone in a single edition of the Women's World Cup. They did not even spare the leading wicket-taker of the tournament - Sophie Ecclestone.
Ecclestone finished with 21 wickets, the third-most in a Women's World Cup. In the two matches against Australia, Ecclestone picked up only one wicket and conceded 148 runs. In the remaining seven games, she took 20 wickets at an average of just nine. Better performances against Australia could have handed Ecclestone the record of most wickets in a World Cup, held by Lyn Fullston who bagged 23 wickets in 1982.
High chases and bowling-first bias
Before 2022, the Women's World Cups had witnessed only one successful chase of a 250-plus target: 258 by Australia against Sri Lanka in 2017. However, in this edition, the record was bettered three times (twice by Australia). Despite all those big chases and chasing being their preferred option, the teams did not see much success while batting second.
Seventeen times the chasing sides ended up on the losing side in this tournament, 12 after electing to bowl. Most of the teams were confident about their chances while chasing due to ODIs inclining towards the second batting sides in the last two years. One of the things that contributed to the failure of this strategy was the narrow defeats - six of those 17 losses were by less than a 15-run margin.
Pace vs Spin
The pace bowlers and spinners were quite close at picking wickets throughout the tournament. The quick bowlers took 206 wickets while the spinners claimed 200 wickets. However, spinners edged out the seamers in average, strike rate and economy rates. Only South Africa's bowling numbers were different - their quick bowlers took 47 wickets at 25.21, while their spinners bagged only four wickets at 120.25.
The 47 wickets by South Africa's quicks in the tournament were the most for any team's fast bowlers in a Women's World Cup since 2000.

Sampath Bandarupalli is a statistician at ESPNcricinfo