Autopsy 4: Dissecting India and England's ODI performances

posted on 2018-07-12 10:46:39
posted by Clive Azavedo

While this ENG vs. IND series will be about which batting line up does better, it will also be very vital to look at how the bowlers do. The fact that bowling is the defensive discipline in limited overs cricket, it remains to be seen which team’s defense will be able to blunt the attack of the opposition.

The England vs India series, is going to be a battle between the top two sides according to the ICC rankings. The series promises to be a very interesting and exciting one, both sides have been at their best with the bat since the 2015 World Cup — England average 39.76 at 6 RPO while India average 43.64 at 5.52 RPO— they both possess the top 2 averages while also scoring at decent rate.

England have taken their ODI game to another level since their World Cup debacle down under in which they failed to qualify for the knockout rounds, that kick started a process which saw England pick players who could set a mammoth total or chase down one. It involved selecting players who can blow away the opposition over a period of few overs and this approach has shown results as they have a W/L ratio of 2.42 wins for every loss which is among one of the only two sides who have a W/L ratio of more than 2 (the other being India at 2.052).

England have filled their side with all rounders, in a side where there is batting even at number 11 there is more freedom for the established batsmen to go after the attack and it has shown as they have scored at 6.26 RPO since WC 2015, better than the second place South Africa (5.76 RPO) by a mile. A measure of this is looking at how many English innings feature in the list of 50+ scores at more than 6 RPO and among an overall list of 463, 83 of these are English batsmen.

England deals mainly with boundaries, they have a boundary index (number of boundary runs per 100 balls) of 51.65 runs per 100 balls which is the best in the world, India is second on this list scoring 45 boundary runs per 100 balls. The average ODI team scores 40.51 boundary runs in 100 balls.

India’s batting though not as explosive as England has another purpose and that is of having a more assured start. Compared to the average ODI since the 2015 WC, India take more balls to give their wicket away. For instance, their second wickets falls after 132 balls while the average side loses their 2nd wicket after 91 balls, there is a 7 over difference in India losing it’s 2nd wicket compared to the average.

While India has traded away their quick scoring for assurance that their batsmen bat long and score runs, England have gone with 11 batsmen who can bat and more than 8 of them can score at more than a run a ball and given the strong link nature of batting all they need is one batsman to play long and they are good. In batting both sides are evenly matched.


Bowling is where differences can be seen in the side. India’s conservative batting is down to the fact that they bat till 7 at best and they can’t depend on the lower order (filled with bowlers) to bail them out and score runs. England do not face these problems as such given they have all rounders all the way down to 11 and can keep going.

India’s lower order consists of purely bowlers and that’s where there is a difference between the Indian and English sides. Among sides to have played more than 40 games since the world cup, the Indian bowlers have conceded the 2nd least runs per wicket at 32.05 runs per wickets, while England are the 4th worst having conceded 35.61 runs per wicket.

The bowling attack England will face in this series is different to the one India played at the Champions Trophy. This bowling attack has two wrist spinners (Kuldeep Yadav & Yuzvendra Chahal) who broke into the side replacing finger spinners (Ravichandra Ashwin & Ravindra Jadeja).

If we look at how both these attacks operate we see that England concede 44 runs in boundaries per 100 balls which is the 4th most behind South Africa, Australia & New Zealand (this could be largely due to the fact that the top 3 nations have one of the best conditions for batsmen). The Indian attack since the World Cup concedes 39.53 boundary runs per 100 balls. But a bowling attack which has both Chahal & Kuldeep in it concedes 40.51 which is exactly what an average ODI bowling side has conceded since the World Cup.

The Indian team though is quick to realise that one of the best ways to slow down scoring rate is through picking wickets. While England pick a wicket every 6 overs which is the average, the Indian attack has picked a wicket every 34 balls and this numbers goes down to 30 balls in games when Kuldeep & Chahal have bowled together.

Since the world cup, Ashwin/Jadeja struggled. On an average they conceded 106 runs in their 20 overs and picked 2 wickets. To put these numbers in context, spinners in winning teams should average 92 runs and 4 wickets in 20 overs. Ashwin/Jadeja’s numbers are not what you want from your spinners and given that they bowled a lot in the middle overs, the lack of wickets meant that the opposition had more batsmen left for the death overs.

The inclusion of the wrist spinners in the side has made India a more potent threat. They on average concede 88 runs in their 20 overs and pick 4 wickets, these numbers even get better taking into consideration the games they have bowled together in as they concede 99 runs in their 20 overs but pick 5 wickets. The numbers make it clear that they are a potent threat than the finger spinners.

The improvement is also evident in how India picks their wickets. Before the Champions Trophy, India would pick the 6th wicket after 252 balls, that number has come down to 230 balls after the CT. It means that in the death overs, the tailenders are facing India’s death bowling. In fact by the time the pre CT Indian bowling attack took it’s 6th wicket, the Post-CT Indian attack picked it’s 7th wicket.

With a side filled with all rounders, the English side had to sacrifice on some potent bowling quality which can win them games and keep the opposition batsmen at bay, the pros of that is a limitless batting lineup.

India on the other hand have decided to sacrifice a limitless batting line up for one which can defend a total with some good bowlers, India’s belief in it’s batsmen works well for them since they know they can chase down any total cause the bowlers will ensure that they do not go for many runs. The runs given up by the side by not playing all rounders is saved by the runs not given away by the bowlers.

While this series will be about which batting line up does better, it will also be very vital to look at how the bowlers do. The fact that bowling is the defensive discipline in limited overs cricket, it remains to be seen which team’s defense will be able to blunt the attack of the opposition.

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