• Posted: March 22, 2011
  • |
  • Author: Simon Hughes
  • |
  • Filed under: Cricket Analyst
  • |
  • Tags: No tags set for this entry.


Team   Runs   Wkts    balls fcd      S/r
NZ           138      7        79          174.7
Pak          157     3         96          163.5
SAF         222     8       136         163.2
SL             211     6        142        148.6
Ire           147     5        105        140.0
WI           140      6       105         133.3
Aus         121       4      100          121.0
Ind          154      9       130          118.5
Ban            90      5         80          112.5
Zim         122      7       110          110.9
Eng         180    14      170          105.9

This is the most open world cup since 1992, when West Indies dominance had begun to fade and Australia and Sri Lanka were not quite established as new one day powers (they are the only teams who’ve won it since 1992.) The main development is that Australia do not possess their two great bowlers any more (Shane Warne, and Glenn McGrath who is the leading wicket-taker and has the best strike rate in world cup history.) Consequently they have lost their extraordinary unbeaten world cup record.
Another development since the last world cup which is enhancing the tournament’s unpredictability is the batting powerplay. This batch of five overs fielding restrictions chosen by the batting team has brought unforseen confusion to many relatively calm situations. Well that was the idea – to drag the middle overs out of their boring, formulaic mundanity – but it was expected to produce a glut of runs, as five men on the boundary was compulsorily reduced to three.
Instead the batting powerplay – to be known henceforth as the BP – has precipitated a crash of wickets – certainly as far as England and india are concerned – and with very little productivity. Its introduction has shaken batsmen out of their leisurely, single-waltzing torpor into attempting unorthodox shots many of them would not normally play. It is an intriguing case of something that was brought in to help batsmen, actually helping bowlers instead. Hallelujah!
What the BP does is challenge the batsman’s ego. Invariably they are taken around the 35th over, ideally when two batsmen are well set. They are easing the ball into the myriad gaps (with five fielders on the boundary) and coasting along at six an over. Suddenly the field is brought in (usually on one side, ie the offside sweepers come inside the ring to save the one, with the three deep men on the legside.) Batsmen past 50 feel insulted by this imposition of extra men in the ring and try to hit the ball over them.
The batsmen are forgetting two things. One, the lofted drive over extra cover is difficult to play and may not be their ‘shot.’ Two, they are now facing the opposition’s best bowlers, some of whose overs were deliberately saved for this scenario. They are stepping outside leg and trying to carve 90mph in-dippng yorkers over cover, not one of the game’s percentage shots. Twice in two games India have come a cropper doing this, losing 5 wickets for 30 (and the match) during the BP against South Africa, and being bowled out with 20 balls to spare against West Indies. England’s experiences have, if anything, been worse, losing three wickets on average in every BP.
This is partly because they can’t decide when to request it, and end up taking it by default in the 45th over with tailenders at the crease. It has got to the stage where teams have developed a sort of neurosis about the BP. They daren’t take it because they’ve seen the statistics about loss of wickets and they don’t want to disrupt a batting partnership from its sedate rhythm. So they end up postponing taking it until the last possible moment, and then not using it properly. Or in the case of India, barely using it at all.
New Zealand sit atop the BP tree with an impressive strike rate and only seven wickets lost during it in this world cup . Those figures are skewed somewhat by Ross Taylors astonishing assault on the full-toss-offering Pakistanis in the match on Sri Lankas new Pallekelle ground. The most consistently effective BP teams are the Pakistanis and the South Africans. The Pakistanis because they have some fluent, wristy middle order players and they make sure they call for the powerplay before the man formerly known as an allrounder, Shahid Afridi, comes in. South Africa, meanwhile, base their strategy around the highly adaptable AB De Villiers and fast running between the wickets.
The key is not to get too agitated by the BP, either when to take it or how to bat in it. Go with the flow. Take it in the 15th over if things are going well. The ball is still relatively hard and clean at that point. Around the compulsory ball change at 34 overs is another obvious time in the sub continent when the old ball has become barely visible never mind unhittable. Ultimately just bat. On batsmen’s greed do bowlers feed.

In Cricket News-

  • Troubled Panesar joins Essex - ESPNcricinfo.com
  • Another long injury lay-off for Cummins - ESPNcricinfo.com
  • Ponting sees potential in Australia's team - ESPNcricinfo.com
  • Jarvis retires from international cricket - ESPNcricinfo.com
  • Kailash Vijaywargiya elected Indore Division Cricket Association president - NDTV


  • @P_Wcricket you should see my daughter! 2012-06-26
  • Lydia Greenways (England) fielding would look exceptional in the men's game. 2012-06-26
  • @ro987 in some ways yes but not as destructive or as relentless. 2012-06-25
  • More updates...

No comments as yet.

D.WILSON - Gravatar

No comments have yet been made to this posting.

Commentors on this Post-

    Leave a Comment-

    All fields marked with "*" are required.