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Home > Cricket > The Cup > Statistics


One-sided games slur World Cup

Srinivas Bhogle, Sunil Kumar TM | April 19, 2007 20:51 IST

The 2007 World Cup has gone wrong for several reasons: Bob Woolmer's tragic death, India and Pakistan's quick elimination, a disappointing performance by hosts West Indies, empty stands, indifferent umpiring, and a lot of rain that converted a few 50-over matches to "20-20" matches, etc.

But the greatest disappointment has been the very large number of boring, one-sided matches, often featuring the "minnows".

With just six matches to go before this World Cup (thankfully!) ends, we thought we would try to classify all the 45 matches played so far based on the idea of the pressure index.

Consider the pressure index curve that appears live with the Rediff.com scorecard and is also reproduced as the pressure map on the day after. In a close and exciting game this curve tends to be very perky: a spate of boundaries by the chasing team brings the curve down, a wicket or two lost sends it soaring upwards.

In one-sided matches, however, this curve is practically lifeless. It starts well below (or well above) 100 and crawls languidly to 0 (or 200). No ups, no downs, no excitement!

Think of this curve as a coiled or undulating string, and let's tug at the two extremes of this string to straighten the curve out. If it's a match with plenty of ups and downs, we'll end up with a very long string. If the match is one-sided, we'll have a much shorter string. The length of this "string" could therefore provide a good estimate of the one-sidedness of a match.

We recently attempted this exercise and got reasonably good results: the Ireland-Zimbabwe tied match had a string "length" of 840. The England-Sri Lanka game (SL won by 2 runs) came second with 702 and the Sri Lanka-South Africa (South Africa won by 1 wicket) match was third with 645.

At the other end of the list we have Ireland-Sri Lanka (Sri Lanka reached the target of 78 with 240 balls remaining) as the most one-sided with a string length of just 63. Just above, with a value of 76, is the Ireland-Australia match (Australia reached their target of 92 with 226 balls remaining). The third place from the bottom is the England-South Africa match with a value of 136 (South Africa reached the 155 target with 184 balls remaining).

The table below ranks the 45 matches in the 2007 World Cup from really close to horribly one-sided. This table lists the rank, points, rivals and match scores.

1840ZIM-IREIRE 221/9 (50). ZIM 221/9 (50).
2702ENG-SLSL 235 (50). ENG 233/8 (50).
3645SL-SASL 209 (49.3). SA 212/9 (48.2)
4587IND-BANIND 191 (49.3). BAN 192/5 (48.3)
5583ENG-AUSENG 247 (49.5). AUS 248/3 (47.2)
6572ZIM-WIZIM 202/5. WI 204/4 (47.5)
7546ENG-NZENG 209/7 (50). NZ 210/4 (41)
8531PAK-IREPAK 132 (45.4). IRE 133/7 (41.4/47). (DL)
9508NZ-SASA 193/7 (50). NZ 196/5 (48.2)
10500BAN-IREIRE 243/7. BAN 169 (41.2)
11496PAK-WIWI 241/9 (50). PAK 187 (47.2)
12478SA-AUSAUS 377/6 (50), SA 294 (48)
13463BAN-SABAN 251/8 (50). SA 184 (48.4)
14459IND-SLSL 254/6 (50). IND 185 (43.3)
15437NZ-SLNZ 219/7 (50). SL 222/4 (45.1)
16435SL-AUSSL 226 (49.4). AUS 232/3 (42.4)
17431CAN-KENCAN 199 (50). KEN 203/3 (43.2)
18429BAN-ENGBAN 143. ENG 147/6 (44.5)
19403IRE-ENGENG 266/7 (50). IRE 218 (48.1)
20401WI-SASA 356/4 (50). WI 289/9 (50)
21399CAN-ENGENG 279/6 (50). CAN 228/7 (50)
22375WI-SLSL 303/5 (50). WI 190 (44.3)
23370WI-AUSAUS 322/6 (50). WI 219 (45.3)
24368WI-NZWI 177 (44.4). NZ 179/3 (39.2)
25367IRE-SAIRE 152/8 (35/35). SA 165/3 (31.3/35) (DL)
26345CAN-NZNZ 363/5 (50). CAN 249 (49.2)
27338IRE-WIIRE 183/8 (48/48). WI 190/2 (38.1/48)
28312IRE-NZNZ 263/8 (50). IRE 134 (37.4)
29304BER-BANBER 94/9 (21/21). BAN 96/3 (17.3/21) (DL)
30286NL-SCOSCO 136 (34.1). NL 140/2 (23.5)
31286BER-INDIND 413/5 (50). BER 156 (43.1)
32284SCO-AUSAUS 334/6 (50). SCO 131 (40.1)
33278KEN-ENGKEN 177 (43/43). ENG 178/3 (33/43)
34277BAN-SLSL 318/4 (50). BAN 112 (37/46) (DL)
35277KEN-NZNZ 331/7 (50). KEN 183 (49.2)
36249NL-SASA 353/3 (40/40). NL 132/9 (40/40)
37243BAN-NZBAN 174 (48.3). NZ 178/1 (29.2)
38202BAN-AUSBAN 104/6 (22/22). AUS 106/0 (13.5/22)
39188NL-AUSAUS 358/5 (50). NL 129 (26.5)
40188ZIM-PAKPAK 349 (49.5). ZIM 99 (19.1/20) (DL)
41172SCO-SASCO 186/8 (50). SA 188/3 (23.2)
42167BER-SLSL 321/6 (50). BER 78 (24.4)
43136ENG-SAENG 154 (48). SA 157/1 (19.2)
4476.1IRE-AUSIRE 91 (30). AUS 92/1 (12.2)
4563.4IRE-SLIRE 77 (27.4). SL 81/2 (10)

Based on some test cases, all matches with less than 300 points must be classified as "horribly and boringly one-sided"; matches between 300-500 as "strongly one-sided"; matches between 500-600 as "somewhat close" and those above 600 as "really close".

If we agree on these criteria, then only 3 matches out of 45 (6.6%) in the 2007 WC have been really close; 7 out of 45 (15.6%) have been somewhat close; 19 out of 45 (42.2%) have been strongly one-sided and 16 out of 45 (35.6%) have been horribly and boringly one-sided.

Put another way, over 75% of the matches have been strongly or horribly one-sided. This cannot be any sort of advertisement for a World Cup event that happens once in 4 years.

 

Srinivas Bhogle and Sunil Kumar TM work with Cranes Software International Limited, Bangalore


The Cup: The Complete Coverage

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