T20 World Cup trends: toss of the coin, pace bowlers fight back and value of the six

We are just past the halfway stage of the Super 12s, with all teams having played at least twice and the competition for semi-final spots hotting up. The T20 World Cup as a whole has been running for more than two weeks, and several trends have started to emerge – some of them expected, some less so. Let’s have a look at a few of the key talking points…

Pursuit of victory
This was something that plenty had predicted, going by the data from the two recent IPL seasons fully or partially played in the UAE – but there’s been absolutely no doubt about what most teams will opt to do on winning the toss. Never mind the thrill of the chase, so far at this World Cup batting second has occasionally felt as perfunctory as filling out the paperwork for a new parking permit. Including the first round, when there was perhaps a greater degree of variability between sides, there have been eight wins out of 28 for teams batting first. If you limit it to the Super 12s, that drops to three from 16, for a win/loss ratio of 0.230. Dew is likely a key factor, particularly in evening games, as well as a lack of certainty around what to expect from pitches (more on that below). Heads I win, tails you lose.

Powerplay carnage
Losing three wickets in the powerplay, so the T20 wizards say, is usually a good indicator that you’re heading for defeat. In their campaign opener in Dubai, England spluttered along to 39 for 3 – luckily for them, West Indies had pre-emptively said "hold my beer" by registering 31 for 4 in their powerplay, on the way to 55 all out. The powerplay batting average of 20.25 at this tournament is currently the lowest of all T20 World Cups. However, it’s worth breaking that down further: in the Super 12s, teams have averaged 18.24 in the first innings, compared to 27.54 in the second. This highlights how hard it has been to judge a par score when batting first, the chasing side able to "spend" their resources far better with a target to aim for. Related

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Adapting to venues
Before the tournament began, it was possible to predict what to expect from the three main grounds in use – Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah – because of the amount of T20 played in the region over the last year or so. But there has been some obvious divergence, playing into the problems for teams attempting to set a target. Abu Dhabi, the ground with the biggest playing area, had been expected to be high-scoring; but in the Super 12s it has only seen one total above […]

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