Here you will find detailed analysis highlighted from the CricViz app.

What can we expect from the pitches in the Pakistan Super League?

Aside from the final, which is scheduled to be played in Lahore, the other 23 matches in the 2017 PSL are scheduled to be played in Dubai and Sharjah, which hosted all 24 games in the 2016 edition.

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The 2016-17 Big Bash League in stats

Freddie Wilde takes a look at some of the CricViz numbers from the recently concluded Big Bash League season. 

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ANALYSING FIELDING IMPACT IN THE BIG BASH LEAGUE

At CricViz we record and rank every fielding moment of note by prescribing a run value and a difficulty to each incident. A full explanation of our methodology for our fielding rankings is included in our PlayViz definition.

Collecting this data allows us to rank every team and every player by adding together all of the separate fielding incidents. At the end of the regular Big Bash League season we’ve had a look at how the leaderboards for players and teams stack up.

Team Leaderboard

The team fielding impact leaderboard is very similar to the final league standings, indicating the importance of fielding to winning matches. Indeed, 23 of the 32 matches in the regular league were won by the team who scored a higher fielding impact rating in that match.

Interestingly Perth Scorchers’ dropped catches does not correlate with their fielding impact as clearly as the other seven teams. This is largely because they dropped four ‘easy’ chances ranked as likely to have been taken at least 70% of the time—harming their impact—while also dropping four ‘hard’ chances ranked as likely to have been taken less than 30% of the time—adding to the dropped catches count.

Fielding RankingTeamFielding ImpactDropped CatchesLeague Position
1Perth Scorchers+25.4091
2Brisbane Heat+20.0952
3Sydney Sixers+17.4563
4Melbourne Renegades+6.0545
5Melbourne Stars-13.8044
6Hobart Hurricanes-23.45107
7Sydney Thunder-31.15128
8Adelaide Strikers-31.5096

Player Leaderboard

To an extent the individual rankings are limited by sample size with no one player having played more than eight matches and each player having only a dozen fielding incidents at most. To facilitate for this, the individual rankings only include those players to have been involved in at least three fielding incidents. While this is still a small number it gives some indication of quality.

Seven of the top ten players did not record a single negative impact. Kurtis Patterson is the only top ten fielder who is not listed thanks largely to a single significant fielding moment (Chris Jordan, Ashton Agar, David Hussey, Clive Rose, Liam O’Connor and Ashton Turner all took a catch of at least +5 impact; George Bailey, Alex Ross and Marcus Harris all made a run out with a direct hit of at least +5 impact).

PlayerTeamFielding Impact
Chris JordanAdelaide Strikers+14.30
Ashton AgarPerth Scorchers+13.65
David HusseyMelbourne Stars+11.65
Alex RossBrisbane Heat+11.20
Clive RoseHobart Hurricanes+10.90
Liam O'ConnorAdelaide Strikers+10.30
Kurtis PattersonSydney Thunder+9.35
George BaileyHobart Hurricanes+8.90
Marcus HarrisMelbourne Renegades+8.35
Ashton TurnerPerth Scorchers+8.00

 

Lowest Ranked Fielders

Perhaps unsurprisingly three wicket-keepers, who are involved in the most incidents, populate the lowest ten ranked fielders, and perhaps less surprisingly still, Ben Dunk, Adelaide Strikers’ part-time keeper who was replaced behind the stumps by Tim Ludeman half way through the season, has the lowest ranking of the lot.

Some of the lowest ranked players are largely there due to one or two basic errors (Kieron Pollard, Luke Wright, Ian Bell) which are punished significantly because they should, and most of the time would, have been taken. Others are there due to a handful or errors (Ben Dunk, Peter Nevill and Travis Head) or at times a litany of errors (Andrew Tye, Ben Laughlin, Cameron Boyce and Brad Haddin). Despite having taken an excellent catch in Match 27, Laughlin makes the lowest ranked list having been involved in five negative incidents.

PlayerTeamFielding Impact
Ben DunkAdelaide Strikers-20.10
Andrew TyePerth Scorchers-16.80
Ben LaughlinAdelaide Strikers-15.30
Kieron PollardAdelaide Strikers-14.25
Luke WrightMelbourne Stars-14.10
Cameron BoyceHobart Hurricanes-13.75
Ian BellPerth Scorchers-13.25
Brad HaddinSydney Sixers-13.10
Peter NevillMelbourne Renegades-11.75
Travis HeadAdelaide Strikers-11.60

Freddie Wilde is an Editor and Analyst at CricViz. @fwildecricket. 

India, NZ bask in cricket’s capacity to surprise

One of the most enticing qualities that sport possesses is unpredictability. Over time, enough spectacularly improbably outcomes are achievable to keep us in thrall to the nuances of whichever sport(s) we are most drawn to.

Cricket does not necessarily reign supreme against other disciplines in this aspect. There have been enough predictably one-sided outcomes in the past few months alone to keep us grounded. South Africa’s home Test series against Sri Lanka was almost depressingly one-sided, for instance. But the duller days allow uss= to appreciate the more exciting stuff even more.

It is fair to say the past 24 hours have provided a triple whammy of extraordinary events. And the mere fact that the least remarkable of them was Pakistan’s one-day international win at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (their first victory of any kind against Australia in Australia for 12 years) tells it all.

Pakistan, who had been competitive for much of the first ODI, strolled to victory over a disjointed Australia side. It was the discipline of both the spinners and then the top-order batsmen that set up a six-wicket win with 14 balls remaining. According to the official team rankings, this was a case of the eighth best team in the world trumping the no. 1 side. But you may remember Australia were whitewashed by South Africa just three months ago.

The indications are that the ICC Champions Trophy in June – for which hosts England are joint favourites alongside Australia (the two of them narrowly ahead of South Africa in the betting) – will be wide open and with the scope for plenty of surprise.

The two even bigger shocks of Sunday into Monday were India’s recovery from 63-4 to overhaul England’s 350 in the ODI series opener in Pune and New Zealand’s Test win over Bangladesh, who scored 595-8 declared in the first innings.

Let’s begin with India, if only because the match was completed around 12 hours before New Zealand’s dramatic success. It was interesting to note – and indeed this was an aspect that received plenty of traction on Twitter – that India were rated 55% on WinViz at the halfway stage. In other words, we had them narrow but clear favourites. Some pessimistic Indian fans and some optimistic England supporters would have certainly queried with this assessment, and the betting exhanges, in which the odds are set up by bettors rather than bookmakers, also had England favourites.

But look at what lay ahead: a very small batting ground and a flat wicket (even David Willey managed to flick a one-handed six), the presence of the two best chasers the game has in MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli, and perhaps most crucially a notably weak England bowling line-up.

The fast bowlers, with Mark Wood and Reece Topley both injured and unavailable, has a lack of spite and variety to it. Willey and Chris Woakes in particular – and to some extent Ben Stokes too – always seem to struggle to either contain or attack once the game reaches the middle overs. This is something I have blogged on before – but by far the biggest concern was the form of Adil Rashid.

Wellington Test: General view

New Zealand and Bangladesh exchange handshakes after a remarkable Wellington Test was won by the hosts

The Yorkshire leg-spinner began the match rated the fifth best bowler in the world in ODIs, believe it or not. And when the confidence is flowing, he is a force to be reckoned with as he possesses a good googly that he is not afraid to use and usually gets plenty of turn if there is any offer. On Sunday the confidence was not flowing. Rashid sent down five wicketless overs costing 50 runs. The poor fellow’s lengths were all over the place – less than half landing on a good length according to our stats – with a brutal 41 runs being hit off the 16 deliveries that were too full or too short.

Contrast Rashid with Ravindra Jadeja, who landed 88% of his balls on a good length and collected figures of 10-0-50-1, making him the most economical bowler in the match.

But of course the game was not won and lost simply because Jadeja showed so much more control than Rashid. Massive credit has to go the way of two Indian batsmen, and in particular Kedar Jadhav. When Virat Kohli scores 122 off 105 balls in a successful chase and still isn’t man of the match you know there has been one heck of a performance from someone else.

Jadhav provided it with 120 from just 76 balls, and remember he came in when Dhoni had departed. India were down below 13% on WinViz but Jadhav took pressure off Kohli by attacking immediately, with the senior batsman cleverly realising mere singles from him in the middle overs would keep the required rate in check.

The stats on the Jadhav innings are pretty special. He looked to score runs off all but seven balls he received, and on only nine occasions when he attacked did he fail to score at least a single. His driving was clinical and brutal – 28 runs from nine such shots – and he was by far the most effective puller on the day with 26 runs from 13 shots.

And so on to New Zealand’s Test win in Hamilton. This was clouded with misfortune for Bangladesh, who had captain Mushfiqur Rahim injured twice in the match: batting with a suspected broken hand in the second innings he was then struck a blow on the helmet and forced to retire hurt. Nor was he the only top batsman to get injured. Opener Imrul Kayes was also in the wars, re-emerging at the fall of the seventh wicket on the final day in some desperation having hobbled off late on day four.

Before Kayes’s injury, Bangladesh led by 102 with all 10 second-innings wickets in hand and New Zealand were down to 3.7% on WinViz with the draw a massive favourite. But has as been noted recently the draw is an exeptionally rare commodity in Test cricket right now (there has been just one in the last 27 Tests) and when pressure came to bear on Bangladesh they couldn’t deal with it.

Eight balls into the final day, Shakib Al Hasan played a ridiculous chip to mid-on and New Zealand’s vultures scented blood. Bangladesh now led by just 122 with four batsmen dismissed and two more under a massive injury cloud. After Neil Wagner had ousted Mominul Haque, and the unfortunate Mushfiqur was forced out of the fray, Trent Boult quickly took three of the last four wickets needed. That left the hosts needing 217 to win in 57 overs, and they cruised it.

New Zealand’s seam bowlers have fixed roles. Wagner concentrates more than any other international bowler on short stuff. In Bangladesh’s second innings, he bowled 58 deliveries on a short length and 16 back of a length. Just 11 balls were full length with six half-volleys thrown in. The really full ball becomes the surprise weapon, and it was one of those that did for Mominul.

Tim Southee is perhaps the best equipped to profit from any natural movement available while Trent Boult opts for subtle changes of angle, pace and length. Boult removed the dogged Sabbir Rahman with a very wide delivery that perhaps begged to be smashed but was neither the length to drive or cut. And he took out the tail-enders Taskin Ahmed and Subashis Roy with some lovely yorker bowling. He attempted 10 yorkers, a high number by modern standards, and one or two were not quite in the slot, but it mattered not.

We quickly move on, for that is the way with the modern international calendar. England have two more ODIs in India before three T20 internationals, Bangladesh have one more Test in New Zealand and Pakistan three more ODIs in Australia. Follow all the action in our free-to-download app. If the experience of the last few days is anything to go by there could be some absorbing cricket to soak up.

Flaky batting and the demise of the draw

Throughout 2016, some 47 Test matches were played around the world. Of them, only seven resulted in draws and three of those were so severely weather affected no result was even possible.

Of the other two draws, the match between West Indies and India at Kingston was badly affected by rain (the equivalent of a day and a bit was lost), and so too the Lord’s match between England and Sri Lanka (even more play lost to rain).

So that leaves two draws which weren’t weather affected, and they both involved England: the essentially dull match in Cape Town when both teams hit more than 600 on a spectacularly flat wicket in the first innings, and the one in Rajkot where a bolder declaration from Alastair Cook might have put India under severe pressure. As it was, they still lost their sixth wicket with more than half an hour to go on what was generally considered an unusually flat wicket, even by sub-continent standards.

There were certainly several instances of teams succumbing to pressure late in the day when a draw seemed almost assured. England in both Dhaka and Chennai last year, and Pakistan in Melbourne are examples that quickly spring to mind.

This lack of draws in 2016 is a fairly remarkable development, even allowing for the more expansive tactics that modern cricket has adopted. Between 2000 and 2015, just under a quarter of Tests (24.4% to be precise) finished as draws. In 2016, it was less than 15%.

The first Test of 2017 has ended in such a thumping win for South Africa that it would have been wrapped up well inside three days had Faf du Plessis chosen to enforce the follow-on. Sri Lanka effectively lost the match on the second day. First, they allowed South Africa to convert a platform of 297-6 to an all-out score of 392. Then they collapsed from 56-1 to 110 all out, losing nine wickets in less than 20 overs.

There was no excuse for this. All our ball-tracking data suggests fairly modest amounts of swing and seam movement throughout the match, and particularly over the course of the opening two days. There was also largely predictable bounce. What there appeared to be, visually at least (this is an aspect that cannot yet be calculated scientifically) was a reasonable amount of pace in the wicket.

Batsmen appeared to be hurried at times, particular when facing the quicker bowlers such as Kagiso Rabada and Lahiru Kumara. But there was none of the really extravagant, unplayable movement that many of the pre-match pundits had forecasted.

Bangladesh win in Dhaka

Bangladesh completed a historic Test win over England last year after a spectacular collapse by the hosts

Perhaps the best concerted spell of bowling in the whole match came when Sri Lanka began their first innings. A very high percentage of balls were edged or missed by Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva, but somehow they got through the first 15 overs. Then, Silva was unhinged by a short-pitched ball from Rabada (Sri Lanka were particularly bad at leaving the short stuff) and could only guide it onto his stumps. But the ball was getting softer and Sri Lanka got through more overs. Less was happening… until the batsmen started losing their heads.

In the blink of an eye, Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva and Dinesh Chandimal were sent packing. And the daft thing is, it wasn’t a glut of particularly good balls that did for them. Mendis went slogging the spinner and Karunaratne also brought about his own downfall, slapping a short, wide one to point. Mathews was at least playing defensively when Rabada had him caught at the slips – but the ball wasn’t threatening the stumps. De Silva was skipping down the track when trapped lbw, and Chandimal’s wild, flat-footed nicked drive was one of the worst of the lot.

That was essentially game over, the specialist batsmen all gone – and the tail unable to salvage anything from the wreckage. Whatever happened from that point – and there were four sessions of cricket to follow – the only viable result was a heavy Sri Lankan defeat.

Let’s look at weighted wicket probability (WWP) for the five key Sri Lankan dismissals – the second to sixth wickets in the first innings, the ones that turned hope into despair. Now you may (or may not) have read in previous blogs how WWP works. It essentially uses the tracked characteristics of each delivery to assess its wicket-taking danger – a unique and (we think) rather clever analytical tool. The final number in the grid below is the percentage of times we would expect each delivery to take a wicket.

And here we are:

  • Mendis (slogging spinner) – 0.01 = 1%
  • Karunaratne (cut to point) – 0.013 =1.3%
  • Mathews (defensive prod edged) – 0.023 = 2.3%
  • De Silva (lbw down the track) – 0.016 = 1.6%
  • Chandimal (flat-footed drive) – 0.013 = 1.3%

So, rather appropriately, the highest of these five deliveries on WWP is the one which saw off Mathews – and he was the only one of these five batsmen not to be playing an attacking shot for his dismissal.

When we rated James Anderson’s swing-bowling masterclass at Headingley (also against Sri Lanka), we found his average WWP was 2.13%. The average of these five dismissals in question is just 1.5%, a significant amount less.

To go back to where this blog started off, Sri Lanka should not be castigated for failing to draw the Test as such. It’s possible this match was never meant to be drawn. But they certainly should have been able to bat for longer than 43 overs in the first innings.

Don’t be surprised if 2017 brings us another famine on the draw front.

Match 6: Hobart Hurricanes v Melbourne Stars

Match Analysis | Freddie Wilde

Stars win the Powerplay & win the match 

When we refer to teams making the most of the Powerplay, we are generally talking about the batting team capitalising on the fielding restrictions. In this match it was Melbourne Stars, the bowling team, who took advantage of the first six overs to take control of the match.

Ben Hilfenhaus made the most of the new ball by pitching it up and giving it a chance to swing, which it did on balls 1.1 and 1.2 to bowl D’Arcy Short and Dominic Michael. While the Sydney Sixers bowled just two full balls to Short as he raced to a debut fifty on Friday, both of the Stars’ deliveries to him in his innings here were full. Attacking the stumps risks putting the ball into the arc of batsman but it is a risk that can bring wickets and Hilfenhaus’ bravery was rewarded.

What was already a good Powerplay for the Stars became an excellent one with another piece of brave bowling and clever captaincy as off spinner Glenn Maxwell was given the fourth over of the innings. With a short off side boundary to the left handed Kumar Sangakkara if Maxwell dropped the ball even slightly short he was likely to concede a boundary. He didn’t drop it short but the small boundary and wide line from Maxwell was enough to tempt Sangakkara out of his crease and to attempt an inside-out, lofted cover drive. Sangakkara did not get to the pitch of the ball – perhaps Maxwell had seen him coming and held the ball back or maybe it was a misjudgement by Sangakkara – either way when the ball gripped and turned Sangakkara’s balance and power had been compromised and he was caught at long-off as he mis-timed the ball.

Although the Hurricanes still posted 188, that the Stars chased it with such ease suggests that they should have scored more. While it may be hard to not look at the Stars’ record club run-chase as the match-defining innings, the damage to the Hurricanes was largely done in their Powerplay as they subsided to 32 for 3 on an excellent batting pitch.

Paine and Bailey rescue Hobart

The favourable batting conditions available to Tim Paine and George Bailey, partners after the fall of Sangakkara, were considerably mitigated by the weakness of their team’s position when they came together. Their partnership of 145, a new club record, can be split into two distinct phases. From their first 57 deliveries together they scored 83 runs, hitting eight boundaries (RR: 8.73); from their last 28 deliveries together they scored 62 runs, hitting nine boundaries (RR: 13.28). This acceleration can in-part be attributed to the match situation: having lost three early wickets they couldn’t take huge risks, but also in-part to the Stars bowling, which for the first phase of the partnership never let the Hurricanes get away.

The pitch map above illustrates this pattern of control with the Stars generally maintaining a tight line and only in the latter half of the partnership did first Adam Zampa and then Marcus Stoinis begin to over-pitch and concede more runs to the shorter boundary.

Lucky Wright 

At the end of their Powerplay Melbourne Stars had reached 62 for 0 thanks largely to Luke Wright who was 40* (24). Just under half of those runs however, had come from edges or mis-timed shots, 18 (7) to be precise. While he hit a handful of clean boundaries he found the boundary and safe landings off a number of edges. On another day they could have gone to hand and the Stars run-chase could have been put under some pressure.

Hurricanes lose control 

Although conditions favoured batting the Melbourne Stars kept a lid on the Hurricanes’ for most of the first innings by maintaining relatively good control. The same cannot be said of the Hurricanes who bowled shorter and over-pitched more often than the Stars, and were punished accordingly.  

Quiney unveils his full repertoire   

Rob Quiney exhibited skills beyond just putting bad balls away in his 75 (43). His boundaries at 3.1 and 7.2 against Stuart Broad displayed powerful wrists, his twos at 6.2 and 6.3 and boundary at 12.3 revealed his sweep and the 13 times he came down the pitch, bringing him 27 runs demonstrated a willingness and confidence to use his feet. There was power too: all five of his sixes were ferocious hits.

Maxwell shows maturity 

When Maxwell came to the crease the Stars still required 101 off 11.3 overs. Although they were favourites the match was far from over. Maxwell’s 58* (29) that followed was an innings that belied conceptions about his maturity and the pressure of the occasion. Maxwell scored just 23 from his first 17 balls, happy to turn the strike over to Quiney, before assuming the lead role in the closing stages, blasting 35 from his last 12 deliveries. Just 4 (1) of Maxwell’s runs came from edges, while 36 (10) came from well-timed shots. Interestingly although he hit two boundaries against short balls, he scored just 4 (6) against other short balls from seamers.

Scared of spin?

Perhaps dissuaded by the short boundary on one side Michael Beer (3-0-20-0), Maxwell (2-0-12-1) and Clive Rose (3-0-17-0) all did not complete their over quota despite being the three most economical bowlers in the match. Spin went at an ER of 8.06 compared to seam which went at 11.07.

CricViz will be covering all 35 Big Bash League matches live on Twitter @CricProf.

Big Bash League 2016/2017 Statistical Preview

Ahead of the Big Bash League season, CricViz has a look at some of the key numbers based on the career data of the 18-member squads.

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MATCH ANALYSIS: INDIA V ENGLAND, FOURTH TEST

CricViz analysis of the fourth Test between India and England in Mumbai.

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Cricket stats for November 2016

Aside from our app and its models and forecasting, we also work with global broadcasters and other publications to provide rich, contextual analysis. Often it’s about helping them create a story or theme, where numbers are needed to confirm (or dispute) a theory they’ve come up with. With so much data, however, it’s very often that one of us will come across something curious, and that happened a few weeks ago when looking into Kraigg Brathwaite’s numbers. Our piece for All Out Cricket magazine has it in full (below), but briefly:

 

Brathwaite has a better record (2,214 runs at 37.52, five hundreds) than Desmond Haynes did after his first 34 Tests (1,893 at 37.11, four hundreds)

 

I grew up watching Haynes at Middlesex. Even though he usually pummelled England when playing for West Indies, it was difficult not to love the style and brutish force he employed in his beatings, so it was a huge surprise to see Brathwaite mentioned in the same breath as him. Brathwaite’s career has begun encouragingly, but numbers alone don’t tell the full story (and you need to watch Fire in Babylon for a proper education on West Indies’ rise and fall). Would Brathwaite have fared as well facing Akram, Younis, Lillee, Kapil, Imran or Botham? While the pull-quote here is undoubtedly fascinating, everything has to be taken in context – something we remind ourselves of at CricViz each day.

 

CricViz's statistical article for All Out Cricket magazine

CricViz’s article for All Out Cricket magazine

MATCH ANALYSIS: ENGLAND V INDIA, THIRD TEST

CricViz analysis of the third Test between India and England in Mohali.

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