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All about scoring rates - The first fifteen and the last ten

Mohandas Menon

In the last World Cup which was held in the sub-continent in 1996 it was said that the winning and losing of matches depended on the runs scored in the first fifteen overs of a match. However, this has not been true for the ongoing World Cup in England in 1999. In this World Cup the teams touching top gear in the last ten overs have generally been successful.

In the matches played so far, Australia has the distinction of scoring the maximum runs by the 15th over: they reached 115 for three against Bangladesh at Chester-le-Street on 27-5-1999, although it should be noted that the Australians were batting second and needed quick runs to improve their net-run rate.

New Zealand batting second against Scotland at Edinburgh in their last fixture on 31-5-1999 reached 98 for 4 in the 15th over. They too like the Australians needed to score quickly to earn a place in the Super Six.

However, among teams batting first on a fresh wicket, the Indians during their blitzkrieg against the hapless Lankans at Taunton on 26-5-1999 had reached 94 runs for one wicket.

At the other end of the scale, the minnows Scotland could manage just 20 runs for two wickets in the first 15 overs against West Indies at Leicester on 27-5-1999. The West Indian bowlers once again restricted their opponents, New Zealand, who could reach just 28 runs for three wickets at Southampton on 24-5-1999. However, the Kiwi too fought back to restrict the Windies to 36 for one in the first fifteen overs.

The average scores made by all the twelve teams in the first fifteen overs were:

Country Avg. runs in first 15 overs
India 74.20
SA 63.60
Zim 62.20
Aus 59.40
Sri Lanka 59.20
England 54.80
Kenya 53.80
NZ 50.60
Pak 48.80
WI 48.75
Ban 46.46
Scot 31.00

Note: The West Indies innings did not extend beyond 15th over against Scotland

From the above table, it is obvious that the Indians are way ahead in their efforts to score the maximum runs in the first fifteen overs. It would be interesting to note the tactics used by Pakistan, one of the tournament favourites. They are placed last among the Super Six teams with just 48.80 runs in the first 15 overs. Pakistan however, has the best run rate among all the 12 teams for the last 10 overs (i.e.for teams batting in the first innings only and for those who are not dismissed). They have managed to score at an average of 94.5 runs in their last ten overs. The totals being:

against Score
West Indies 85 (144-6 to 229-8)
Scotland 104 (157-5 to 261-6)
Australia 108 (167-4 to 275-8)
New Zealand 81 (188-5 to 269-8)

Following the Pakistanis, are the Indians who averages 87.75 runs in their last ten overs. Their totals being:

against Score
South Africa 63 (190-1 to 253-5)
Kenya 102 (227-2 to 329-2)
Sri Lanka 128 (245-1 to 373-6)
England 58 (174-4- to 232-8)

It should be noted here that the Indians top among rest of the teams by totalling the maximum average runs of 74.20 in the first fifteen overs.

Just for the record, the average runs scored so far in this edition of the World Cup in the first fifteen overs is 67 (a run-rate of: 4.46), while the runs scored of the last ten overs is 68 (a run-rate of 6.80).

Post-script: In a recent article, India's cricket consultant Bob Simpson emphasised the importance of the "dot-ball". In the last five matches the Indians have faced 814 dot balls or in other words they have gone through an entire 135.4 overs without scoring. Now these "silent overs" accounts almost 55% of the 245 overs faced by the Indians so far in this tournament. If the Indians could reduce this percentage even by a half, one wonders at the heights our boys could have scaled.

Food for thought!!!!


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