T20 Blast 2017: The frontline of a batting revolution

CricViz analysts Imran Khan and Freddie Wilde investigate a record season of batting in the 2017 T20 Blast.

Global run rates in T20 have been rising every year since 2013 and as of September 4th 2017 the aggregate run rate in 2017 of 8.14 runs per over is higher than in any year previously.


In 2017 England’s domestic league the T20 Blast has been at the forefront of this increase. The run rate in the 2017 T20 Blast of 8.61 runs per over is the second highest ever in a T20 league or tournament comprising at least 10 matches.

League SeasonMatchesRun Rate
HRV Cup 2012 (New Zealand)328.63
T20 Blast 2017 (England)1248.61
Twenty20 Big Bash 2007 (Australia)128.60
McDonald's Super Smash 2016 (New Zealand)328.59
ABN-AMRO Twenty20 Cup 2006 (Pakistan)398.48

The record-breaking run rate was largely driven by rising boundary percentages. The boundary percentage of 16.99% this season is a league-record and an increase of more than 1.00% on the previous three seasons. Most significantly there was a huge increase in six percentage from 4.04% to a league-record 4.74%. The four percentage of 12.24% is the second highest ever in an English domestic T20 season. Fewer dot balls were also faced – the dot ball percentage of 30.50% is a league record.


Over-by-over run rates from the 2017 and 2016 T20 Blast seasons show the overs of the innings which contributed to the higher run rates: most notably the Powerplay phase, the seventh over and the sixteenth over. The Powerplay was the phase which saw the most significant rise from 2016—8.47%. The middle overs run rate rose by 1.96% and death overs run rate rose by 1.47%. 

An over-by-over comparison chart between 2017 and 2016 below shows how in 2017 teams made better use of the Powerplay by getting going faster and maintained a higher rate once going in all but the 6th over. Teams also made better use of the 7th over—historically an inefficient over—and made better use of the 16th over—beginning their death over slog earlier. It is interesting to note a fall in run rates in the 19th and 20th over – something that is deserving of further analysis.


Analysing shot-type data suggest that the rise in run rates were a consequence of increased attacking intent from batsmen. The 2017 T20 Blast saw the lowest defensive shot percentage of any domestic T20 season in England since shot-type analysis was recorded in 2013. Defensive shots are categorised as those with global boundary percentages of less than 10% and are forward defensives, backward defensives, pushes, works, steers and guides.


Most interestingly the increase in run rates has not caused a fall in wicket rates from 2016—in fact the average balls per wicket has risen slightly from 17.97 last season to 18.20 this season.

The combination of rising run rates and rising balls per wicket suggests batsmen are not only attacking more often but they are becoming better at doing so.

CricViz is a data analytics company offering services to broadcasters and professional teams and players. 

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