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Stats Analysis

A World Cup that promises steep scoring rates, deep batting line-ups, and mammoth chases

A deep dive into how Women's ODIs have changed since the 2017 tournament

Nat Sciver celebrates the World Cup win at Lord's with her team-mates, England v India, Women's World Cup final, Lord's, July 23, 2017

Can England repeat their 2017 success?  •  Getty Images

Can Australia and England continue their dominance?
England won the ODI World Cup for the fourth time in 2017, with a nine-run win against India in the final. They are not the most successful team in World Cups, though, as Australia have won six titles. New Zealand are the only team other than Australia and England to win a Women's ODI World Cup, clinching the title at home in 2000 when they edged out Australia by just four runs. They will hope to replicate their home success this time as well.
Australia's record run
Australia will start their campaign with a win-loss record of 31-2 in ODIs since the previous tournament in 2017. They held a world record streak of 26 consecutive ODI wins during this period. The next best team in this period is South Africa, with a 28-10 record in 43 ODIs. England, the defending champions, have a middling record, winning 23 of their 41 matches.
Of the teams that have played 10 or more matches between any two World Cup tournaments, Australia's record of 31-2 is the best. They bettered their own record, having won 18 of the 20 ODIs played before the 2000 World Cup. During the same cycle, Sri Lanka won all their eight ODIs, the only instance of a team with a 100% win record between two World Cups.
New high in scoring rates?
The 2022 tournament could well end up breaking the all-time record in terms of run-scoring. The highest run-rate in a World Cup so far is 4.67, in the 2017 edition. In the period between the 2013 and the 2017 tournaments, the average run rate in ODIs was only 4.07. However, since the 2017 World Cup, the run rate in ODIs has spiked to 4.51, an increase of nearly 11%. The higher run-rates in this period have also coincided with more success for chasing teams.
Chasing teams had a win-loss ratio of 1.18 before the 2017 World Cup, which increased to 1.24 since then. Though the increase might not be very high, the average run rate in the first innings increased by nearly 12% - from 4.13 between 2013 and 2017 World Cups to 4.61 since the 2017 World Cup, which means big chases have become more frequent. South Africa, England, India and New Zealand have all recorded their highest successful chases in the past 12 months. Five of the top 10 highest successful chases in women's ODIs have also been recorded during this period.
This has also led to captains preferring to bowl after winning the toss: they have done so 83 times in 158 ODIs since the 2017 World Cup - a percentage of 52.5, compared to 37.1 in the 2013-17 cycle. This influence is even more pronounced since the start of 2020, with teams electing to bowl in 76.56% of matches (49 out of 64 ODIs).
Impact of batting depth?
One significant change that has lifted batting standards in women's ODIs is the runs from the lower middle order. The quality of batters playing at Nos. 6-8 has improved, giving the assurance to the top order to bat more aggressively early on. Since the previous World Cup, 35 50-plus scores have come from Nos. 6, 7 and 8. The equivalent figure for the previous World Cup cycle was only 22.
The average runs per dismissal of Nos. 6-8 has gone up from 16.21 to 18.72, an increase of more than 15%. The strike rate has also undergone a similar rise, going from 61.56 to 70.74. The more fascinating fact is that the strike rate of Nos. 6-8 is not much behind the scoring rate of the top five in the current World Cup cycle, which is 71.46, a difference of less than one run per 100 balls.
Day-night factor
One aspect that all teams will need to adapt to is the number of day-night games. The tournament will host 17 day-night fixtures - 15 league games and two knockouts - while 15 matches will be played in the day. The previous 11 World Cup editions had a combined total of four day-night matches, all in 2013. Bangladesh, who will make their debut at the ODI World Cup this week, have not played a day-night ODI yet.
The schedule, however, favours Bangladesh as they play only one day-night game in the tournament. Pakistan, who last played a day-night ODI in 2016, will be playing five in the tournament. The rest of the teams have played an ODI under lights at least once since 2021. Overall, England have played the most day-night ODIs in all (28) followed by Australia (24).
Since the last World Cup, only 28 of the 158 ODIs were day-night matches, which is about 18% of all matches. In this period, only two teams have played ten or more day-night matches - England (14) and New Zealand (12).
Teams chasing have a similar win-loss ratio in day-night games as in day matches, but the run-rates go up from 4.37 to 4.54. That suggests that teams might be happier chasing under lights, even though the new ball tends to move around and trouble batters a lot more under lights.
The best country to bat in?
Since the last World Cup, teams have scored at 4.95 runs per over in 20 ODIs in New Zealand, which is the highest scoring rate among the seven countries that have hosted at least 10 matches in this period. The recent ODI series between New Zealand and India set new records in run-scoring and offered a glimpse into what we could witness at the mega event.
Of the six venues that will host the tournament, Eden Park in Auckland is the only one that has not hosted a women's one-day match in the past two decades. The other five venues have been good for batters across ODIs and the domestic women's one-day matches. Nineteen matches were played across four of those venues in the Domestic One-Day Cup in the last two seasons where the run rate was 5.01 and the average runs-per-wicket figure was 33.1.
Mithali set for a new milestone
The 2022 edition will be Mithali Raj's sixth appearance at the ODI World Cup, making her the first to play six Women's World Cups. Mithali levelled with Debbie Hockley, Clare Taylor and Charlotte Edwards on five tournaments when she turned up in the 2017 edition. Three more cricketers will play in their fifth Women's World Cup this time - Jhulan Goswami, Katherine Brunt and Anisa Mohammed. In terms of matches played, Mithali might end the tournament as second behind Hockley's 45 appearances but will surpass Belinda Clark's 23 World Cup matches as captain.
Which team is the most experienced and which is the youngest?
World Cup debutants Bangladesh have the youngest side going into the tournament, with an average age of 27 years and 9 months. Bangladesh also rank bottom in terms of experience, with a combined tally of 310 ODIs. South Africa are the most experienced side despite the absence of their regular captain Dane van Niekerk.
Their 15-member squad has a combined experience of 1042 ODIs. India have two of the most capped players in Women's ODIs, elevating the collective squad experience to 850 ODIs, the third-highest after South Africa and West Indies (940). West Indies have the oldest squad, with an average age of 29 years and 4 months.
(World Cup Cycle: All ODIs played from the end of a World Cup to the start of the next edition)

Sampath Bandarupalli is a statistician at ESPNcricinfo