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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. 

Match 10: Brisbane Heat v Hobart Hurricanes

Match Analysis | Freddie Wilde

Full to Short 

For the second time in as many matches D’Arcy Short was bowled by a full length delivery, having faced just two full balls in his debut innings of 61 against Sydney Sixers in Match 4. This BBL season he has scored 25-2 (18) when playing front foot shots – well below his season strike rate of 186.

Heat restrict Hurricanes 

The average first innings score at the Gabba last season was 184 and with a particularly short boundary on one side of the ground in this match, a competitive score was arguably nearer 200. The Brisbane Heat therefore did well to restrict the Hobart Hurricanes to 173 for 9 and the hard work to do that was largely put in in the first eleven overs of the innings, in which they restricted the Hurricanes to 85 for 4.

The two standout performers for the Heat were Samuel Badree, who had bowled his four overs by the eleventh over, taking 1 for 26, and Mark Steketee who had bowled three of his four at that stage, taking 2 for 20. That they bowled five of the six Powerplay overs, Badree with three and Steketee two, makes their figures all the more impressive. Across both their four over quotas they only conceded one boundary each.

Badree bowled with good control of his line and length, taking 1 for 12 from his 16 full length balls.

Steketee landed 12 of his 26 balls on a full length, taking 2 for 5 from them. However he conceded 21 from the 11 deliveries that pitched shorter than a full length.

Hurricanes squeeze out 173

The Hurricanes’ innings was a strange one with 84 for 4 after eleven overs and a top-score of 33 amounting to a final total of 173. That they eventually scrambled to as many as they did is largely testament to the quality of the pitch—all of the boundaries were clean-hits—but also to some wayward bowling. Heat conceded 14 runs in extras, bowling seven wide deliveries and one no ball: Mitchell Swepson conceded five wides from one delivery while Ben Cutting bowled two wides in the last over.

Broad finds his rhythm 

Stuart Broad’s opening two overs included two no balls, two fours and a six and were hit for 19 runs but the 14 deliveries were the best balls of Broad’s BBL so far and should offer the Hurricanes reason for optimism. Broad removed Jimmy Peirson with his first ball, extracting some extra bounce to draw a leading edge before the contest with Brisbane’s best two players, Chris Lynn and Brendon McCullum and a fervent atmosphere, seemed to help Broad find his rhythm. Broad beat the bat four times (6, 7, 9, 10) and hit McCullum on the helmet (12) in his two over spell. Broad found that precious in-between length on which he thrives, around 7.5 to 8.5 metres from the batsman’s stumps, five times, and got good carry through to the keeper.

 

Blitzkreig

Quite how far the Hurricanes were under-par was made abundantly clear by the batting of McCullum and Lynn. After Peirson was dismissed in the second over, McCullum and Lynn put on 109 in 8.5 overs, propelling Brisbane to 71 for 1 at the end of the Powerplay and 118 by the time McCullum was dismissed for 75. Lynn took Heat home with 22 balls to spare. Had they batted first the highest BBL score of 210 for 7, by the Hurricanes at the Gabba, would have been in danger.

Both innings were stunning displays of ball-striking, particularly McCullum’s in which none of his 35 shots were edged and only three were mis-timed while Lynn edged three and mis-timed five. Together they scored 128 runs from 34 beautiful clean hits and 160 off 85 balls overall. The pair complimented each other well with McCullum scoring 53 (25) v spin an 19 (10) v seam while Lynn scored 32 (24) v spin – at one stage 15 (19) – and 50 (26) v seam.

The pitch map indicates that it was the fuller length that was punished most severely. Across the whole innings the three seam bowlers conceded 36 (14) from full length balls, 16 (5) half volleys and 10 (5) full tosses. Shorter than full appeared to work well for the seamers with Brisbane scoring just 11 (14) from that length.

The spinners too suffered as they bowled fuller, conceding 44 (24) from full length balls. Interestingly Cameron Boyce and Short conceded 15 (17) from deliveries that pitched back of a length. Ultimately though, given the mood of Brisbane’s batsmen and how well they were timing the ball, there was no length that was safe from punishment.

No half measures 

Both Lynn and McCullum were dropped, on 4 and 22 respectively, and although both catches were tough chances, when teams make an under-par total they are catches that generally have to be taken if the score is to be defended.

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

Match 8: Sydney Thunder v Brisbane Heat

Match Analysis | Freddie Wilde

Heat exploit the conditions

The Brisbane Heat seamers bowled excellently according to the conditions, exploiting the uneven bounce and big square boundaries by bowling a high proportion of back of a length and short balls which forced Sydney Thunder to play cross-batted shots which appeared harder to time well.

Between them Mark Steketee, Ben Cutting and Jake Wildermuth bowled 23 short deliveries from which just 20 runs were scored and nine back of a length deliveries from which 10 runs were scored.

Kurtis Patterson and Eoin Morgan, who faced the most balls in Sydney Thunder’s innings, played 25 cuts and pulls between which brought them just 21 runs. 22 (22) of their runs were from edged or mis-timed shots.

The match flips

A lot of the good work of Brisbane’s bowlers was undone by the twentieth over of the innings, bowled by Mitchell Swepson, which went for 27 runs – 17% of Thunder’s final total. The decision to bowl Swepson, a leg-spinner, for the last over was a risky one – but was a tactic that is likely to have been decided upon a few overs previously when Brendon McCullum, perhaps looking to land a killer blow to Thunder’s innings, opted to bowl out his four frontline bowlers Steketee, Cutting, Wildermuth and Samuel Badree, and therefore was faced with a choice between Swepson (2-0-22-1) or Jason Floros (1-0-4-0) for the final over.

This is a tactic often utilised in run chases, when a tight over prior to the 20th can put the game beyond the chasing team. However, in the first innings – unless predicated on a favourable match-up, of which according to the career data of Ben Rohrer, Pat Cummins, Chris Green and Clint McKay, there wasn’t – it is a risky tactic given that the batsmen are compelled to attack whoever bowls the 20th over.

The counter argument is that had McCullum not bowled out his frontline bowlers when he had, and instead given Swepson his third over earlier, life could have been breathed into the Thunder’s innings sooner than the 20th and more damage been done. Regardless of why, the decision was a risky one, and given that Heat were in a position of strength already, it was arguably a risk that didn’t need to be taken.

Thunder dominate the Powerplay 

Although this was a match in which shorter length bowling appeared harder to hit—the economy rate for short balls was 6.51 and back of a length balls 4.94—the Sydney Thunder made significant inroads into the Brisbane Heat’s top order in the Powerplay by bowling full to exploit any swing movement. The fuller length, delivered at high pace by Andre Russell and Patrick Cummins and accurately by Clint McKay, took the wickets of Jimmy Peirson, Brendon McCullum and Alex Ross inside the first four overs with just 19 runs scored.

The warning shots

Bowling full is risky. It is a risk that in the first four overs paid off for the Thunder. However, in the sixth over of the innings that changed as Chris Lynn hit Cummins for five consecutive fours: four of them from full deliveries (two from full tosses and one each from a half volley and a length ball).

However, it would be churlish to be overly critical of Cummins for persisting with the full ball in that over given that it had already brought three wickets and one more, especially if it was Lynn, would have most probably put the match beyond Brisbane. While the result of the over was bad the process at least was sound.

Thunder let it slip 

It is harder to understand that ten overs later with Lynn still at the crease and requiring 12 runs per over and therefore compelled to attack, that Russell, McKay and Cummins all regularly bowled a fuller length once again. Six of Russell’s ten death deliveries were length balls or fuller, and cost 15 runs; four of Cummins’ six death deliveries were length balls or fuller, and cost six runs (he also conceded a four from a top edged short ball and two from a drop catch off a short ball) and five of McKay’s death deliveries were length balls or fuller and cost 17 runs.

In the match the economy rate of length balls and fuller was 8.37 compared to just 6 for anything shorter. 42% of deliveries bowled by Heat’s seamers were back of a length or shorter, compared to 27% for the Thunder.

The stats indicate that Thunder saw the yorker as their go-to delivery under pressure, which is understandable – it is a difficult delivery to hit, and they conceded 2 (5) from it. The trouble is an over-pitched yorker is a full-toss and an under-pitched yorker is a half volley. Thunder conceded 15 (6) from full tosses and 21 (10) from half volleys. The Heat instead looked to a shorter length and although they landed fewer yorkers, three, they also bowled fewer full tosses and conceded half as many runs from the half volleys they did bowl. Across the whole match Heat’s seamers delivered 23 short balls compared to Thunder’s 12. 

Fortune favours those who can catch? 

In such a tight match luck can play a decisive role. Brisbane Heat scored 33 (24) from edges and mis-timed shots, including 22 (9) from Lynn alone, while Thunder scored 32 (31). The Thunder did have their chances to kill the match though, dropping Lynn twice in the last two overs and Wildermuth once in the sixteenth. Had just one of those catches been held it is likely there would have been a different result.

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

Match 7: Sydney Sixers v Perth Scorchers

Match-Ups

Five of the six overs in Perth Scorchers’ Powerplay were bowled by spinners with the Sydney Sixers aware that both Michael Klinger and Shaun Marsh favour seam bowlers and the ball coming on to the bat. Before this match Johan Botha had conceded just 17 (26) against Marsh while Stephen O’Keefe had conceded just 17 (20) against Klinger. Botha and O’Keefe, as well as William Somerville bowled a very tight line in the Powerplay. They conceded just five runs from the first two overs, and across the six overs bowled 13 dot balls (36%) and conceded just two boundaries each. The pressure built by the spinners brought two wickets and put the Sixers ahead in the game despite having lost the toss.

 

The squeeze

After the wicket of Sam Whiteman to a neat catch by Botha on the boundary, between the tenth over to the end of the seventeenth, the Scorchers scored just 38 runs and lost five wickets. In that period the Sixers bowled well and forced some ordinary shots which led to wickets and further stagnated the innings. It was a vicious cycle that begun with good bowling.

 

Of the two spinners Botha bowled a more defensive line, bowling straight and turning it in to the right handers and bowling wide and turning it wider to the left handers. O’Keefe, a left arm spinner, bowled less of a leg side line. Both of them bowled the large majority of their deliveries in line with the stumps and dropped just one delivery short between them.

 

Left armer Ben Dwarshuis ensured that after Botha and O’Keefe were bowled out Mitchell Marsh and the Scorchers deep batting order did not pull away at the death. Dwarshuis, bowling largely round the wicket, cramped the right handers for room, nailed his wide yorkers and gave no width to the left handers.

Scorchers struggle for timing

All eight of the Scorchers dismissals were caught and six of them were from shots that were mis-timed. This can in-part be attributed to good bowling which forced the batsmen out of control and also in-part due to the pitch which a number of players described as being slightly tacky, with the ball sometimes holding up in the pitch and not coming onto the bat as well as in match four at the same ground.

Sixers stroll

There are two ways to go out chasing a small total such as the one the Sixers were faced with, either go out all guns blazing and break the back of the chase early and cruise from there, or manage it carefully from start to finish. The first minimises pressure but increases risk, the second increases pressure but minimises risk. The Sixers opted for the second option, hitting the same number of boundaries as the Scorchers (14) but facing just 35 dot balls compared to the 47 of the Scorchers. It was fitting that when the game did appear to get a little tight with the wicket of Jordan Silk, the experienced head of Botha was there to propel the Sixers over the line.

Sixers go spin-heavy

Speaking after the match Botha said the Sixers felt they had too much pace on the ball in their defeat against the Hobart Hurricanes hence why they made the change to their team of dropping seamer Joe Mennie and bringing in spinner Somerville, who justified his selection with two big wickets.

Selection muddle

It was interesting to compare the Sixers selection against the Scorchers’ who opted to change the balance of their team, resting Mitchell Johnson and replacing him with batsman S Marsh. In hindsight leg spinner James Muirhead, on a pitch that appeared to suit the spinners, would have been a better option. The problem for the Scorchers appears to be they have eight batsmen for seven slots and the only batsman who could conceivably make way for S Marsh is the captain Adam Voges.

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

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.