Are scores increasing?

Last week we saw a remarkable score in the Big Bash League, where the Melbourne Renegades scored 222 (a record BBL score). The Hobart Hurricanes then met the challenge, scoring 223 in response. We’ve seen the record for the most runs scored in a match broken twice in 2016: first with 489 runs in a T20 International between the West Indies and India in Florida, and then 497 runs in a New Zealand domestic match between Central Districts and Otago.

So my question: is this a broader trend, with more runs being scored across Twenty20 cricket? In this post I’ll attempt to find out, and also look at how different ways of scoring are becoming more or less prominent.

Firstly, let’s just look at the median number of runs scored in each innings. I wanted to simplify the results, but keep together whole seasons, so each year covers the northern summer in that year and the southern summer at the end of that year, so each year covers April-March.


The number of matches in 2003 and 2004 was particularly low, but once Twenty20 cricket became more stable we saw the median score stabilise around 150. It dropped from 2010 to 2013, but since 2014 the median score has shot up, to close to 160 in the last ten months.

I wanted to isolate where this growth is happening: is it because matches are being played in different places, or is there a general increase in scoring rates?

This next chart shows the run-scoring rates for the top-level men’s domestic T20 league in five big cricketing countries, as well as the scoring rates for T20 Internationals.


Scoring rates are higher in Australia, India and England compared to the West Indies, South Africa and in international matches. While the data is noisy, it does appear that there has been a general spike across the last three seasons.

Secondly, I wanted to get a sense of how run-scoring has changed in terms of what sort of runs are scored. Runs can be split into four categories: fours, sixes, extras and ordinary runs scored by running between the wickets.


Over the last decade, we’ve seen an increase in the proportion of runs which are scored as sixes, while there has been a decline in the proportion of extras and the proportion of fours. Ordinary runs remain the primary way of scoring, and this has remained roughly steady just over 40% of all runs scored.

(It’s worth noting that the drop in fours and spike in sixes is off a very small sample – 8 BBL matches, 6 matches in the NZ domestic competition, and 2 internationals between New Zealand and Bangladesh).

Finally, this chart shows the same men’s data as the above chart alongside the same data for women:


Ordinary runs make up a much larger share of runs in women’s cricket. Fours and extras make up similar shares as in the men’s game (with four-scoring increasing over the last three years), while six-hitting is a much less important part of the women’s game.


Top batsmen in the W/BBL adjusted for point in the game

So yesterday I put together a blog post analysing how performance varies for batsmen based on which point in the match they come to the crease.

Today I’m going to show which players have performed the best in the Big Bash League and the Women’s Big Bash League, when their score is adjusted to reflect their opportunities.

This metric is based on this graph: how many runs does each batsman score, broken down by the over in which they entered the innings:


And here’s the same chart for women’s Twenty20 cricket:


The WBBL data includes the last four seasons of the state-based competition which preceded the WBBL, and it does appear that players in domestic Australian women’s Twenty20 cricket entering in the middle of the innings have performed better over the last five years. Continue reading “Top batsmen in the W/BBL adjusted for point in the game”

Better batting metrics – judging by point of entry

There’s a lot to be done to improve metrics for players in Twenty20 cricket. This summer I’ve mostly focused on team-level metrics that give you a sense of the whole game, not about the performance of individual players.

There’s a lot of focus in Twenty20 cricket on a player’s strike rate, and that is undoubtedly important. But it’s also important that a batsman is able to last a reasonable amount of time. Players who hit a six and then get out off their second ball on a regular basis will have an extremely high strike rate, but won’t be of much value to their team. So the ability to stay also has value.

When you consider this point, the old-fashioned batting average (the number of runs scored over the number of times your wicket has been taken) has value. Ideally we’d come up with another metric which can mix together these two simple measures to give a sense of the ability of a batsman to score fast but also stick around long enough to make an impact.

In this post, I’m going to focus on a particular datapoint which I think has value when making assessments of players: when they come into the match.

Not all balls are the same, and not all overs are the same. Generally matches follow a pattern where the number of runs scored speeds up as you head towards the end of the match (barring the loss of significant numbers of wickets). You can see that in this graph:


The powerplay covers the first six overs in Twenty20 matches. During this time teams may only place two fielders outside of the circle which marks out 30 yards from the pitch. Following the powerplay, teams may have up to five fielders outside the circle. This clearly has an impact on the game. While the first over is the lowest-scoring over of the match, runs are scored quite quickly in overs 3-6, before collapsing in over 7. It takes until around over 15 before the batting team usually surpasses the scoring rate of the powerplay, but the average number of runs scored per over exceeds nine runs for the final overs.

Obviously you would expect different performances from batsmen depending on when they enter the match. If a batsman enters earlier in the match, they are not expected to score as quickly, but they have more time to play, while those coming in later are expected to score at a faster rate but may not have time to score as many runs.

Continue reading “Better batting metrics – judging by point of entry”

W/BBL live blog – Saturday 19 December

10:43pm – That’s it for tonight. I’ll return tomorrow with sporadic coverage of the three televised Twenty20 matches (along with some coverage of the other four non-televised WBBL games). In the meantime, you can also follow me on Twitter.

10:40pm – Globally, there’s four cases of a team scoring 180 or above with a lower top score. The Dolphins in South African cricket in 2006 scored 191 with a top score of 32, in 2008 Central Districts in NZ scored 180 with a top score of 33. In 2007, Otago scored 185 with a top score of 33, and in 2008 the Deccan Chargers scored 182 with a top score of 35 in the IPL.

In 2006, the Hyderabad Hawks scored 180 with a top score of 35 – the same stats as the Heat tonight.

10:35pm – One stat I’ve been tweeting about. The Heat scored 180, which is quite a high score (22/26 first-innings scores in the range have won) but wasn’t enough. One fascinating thing about their scoring was that they used seven batsmen, all of whom made it into double figures, and none of whom scored above 35. No team has ever scored anything like 180 in Australian conditions while having that amount of balance in their side.

In 2008, NSW scored 7/159 with Steve Smith top-scoring on 33, and they lost to WA. In 2010 and 2011, Sri Lanka A and Queensland each scored 149 with a lower proportion of runs scored by their top-scoring batsman.

6:42pm – So tonight’s BBL match will start in half an hour between the Brisbane Heat and the Melbourne Renegades. The Brisbane Heat had a terrible season in 2014/15 and will be hoping to recover from that position. I’m going to be out for a few hours so will likely return in the second innings with some more analysis.

6:39pm – We’ve now seen twenty out of 56 regular-season WBBL games, and some clear trends are emerging, but these are clouded by major differences in the number of matches played by each team.

The Melbourne Stars and the Sydney Thunder have both won all of their matches, although they have only played four and three games each, and they haven’t played each other. The Stars and Thunder will play each other twice in Sydney on the final weekend of the regular season, with matches at Olympic Park on Friday 15 January and at the University of Sydney on Sunday 17 January, on either side of the SCG Sydney Derby.

The Hurricanes and the Heat have both impressed. The Hurricanes chalked up five wins before losing their sixth match today, while the Heat started out with a tough competition, losing their first two matches to the Stars before narrowly losing to the Scorchers. They have since won five in a row and could win most of their remaining matches.

The Scorchers are ranked fifth, and that seems about right. They’ve won three out of five matches, which has included defeats of the Hurricanes and Heat. They’ve only played one match against a lower-ranked team, so they’re likely to improve as their schedule gets easier.

The Strikers, Renegades and Sixers have all fallen short, with no wins after four, four and six matches respectively. The Strikers and Renegades have each had some close calls, but the Sixers have been disappointing throughout the tournament.

6:28pm – The Hobart Hurricanes were aiming for a sixth successive win, but scored a below-par 108, which was then chased down by the Perth Scorchers. The Hurricanes’ bowling started well, with Scorchers opener Ellyse Villani going for a golden duck on the first ball, but the score wasn’t enough to hold them off. The Scorchers now have won three out of their five matches.

6:24pm – The Stars easily knocked over the Sixers – chasing down the Sixers’ total of 80 in only 15.5 overs and with the loss of only three wickets. The Stars have now won all four of their matches, while the Sixers have lost all six of theirs.

6:20pm – The Heat beat the Strikers this afternoon at the Gabba, with one over to spare. Star batter Grace Harris was lost to a golden duck, but her usual partner Beth Mooney paired with Jess Jonassen, scoring 48 and 67 not out respectively, most of those runs in an 89-run partnership before Jonassen was joined by Lauren Winfield, finishing off the match. The Heat have now won five matches in a row after losing their first three. The Strikers have lost all four of their matches, despite performing strongly today.

4:11pm – The Adelaide Strikers scored 9/125 in their innings against Brisbane at the Gabba (televised on One). This was a good recovery after collapsing in the middle of their innings, losing six wickets between 11.2 overs and 16.2 overs. Teams scoring 120-130 runs in the first innings have won 55% of matches.

4:07pm – The Hobart Hurricanes scored 8/109 in their innings. The team batting first only won in 10/35 matches when scoring 105-115 runs. But they then took a Scorchers wicket on the first ball, which will improve their position.

4:06pm – The Sydney Sixers women have continued their poor form, scoring 9/80 in their innings. The Melbourne Stars are on 0/6 off 1.3 overs. In women’s T20 matches in Australia where the first team scores between 70 and 90, that team lost 18 matches, tied one match and only won one match.

4:03pm – In the two WBBL matches this morning, the Thunder defeated the Renegades with three balls to spare, and the Hobart Hurricanes held on against the Perth Scorchers, who fell short by one run. The winning scores in the two matches were 130 and 133.

11:08am – Hobart is on 5/118 off 18.4 overs – which is headed for a score which would give them about a 50% chance of winning.

10:05am – We have six Twenty20 matches being played in Sydney and Brisbane today, with the first starting right now in Blacktown.

In the WBBL, the Hurricanes and Scorchers are playing at Blacktown at 10am, then the Thunder and Renegades will be playing in Brisbane at 11am. In the afternoon, the Sixers play the Stars at Drummoyne at 2:30pm and the Scorchers play the Hurricanes at Blacktown at the same time.

The first televised WBBL game starts at 2:40pm AEDT at the Gabba, with the Brisbane Heat hosting the Adelaide Strikers. Following that match, at 7:10pm AEDT the Brisbane Heat men’s team will be hosting the Renegades at the same ground.

I’m not going to be present for the whole day but I’ll drop in every now and then with little stats updates – and if you want to follow along please comment below.

Right now the Hobart Hurricanes women are on 0/5 off 1.3 overs at Blacktown. Both teams have performed well, with Hobart winning all four of their matches and Perth winning three out of their four.

Thunder vs Sixers – story of the numbers

Thunder vs Sixers – story of the numbers

Last night I was in the crowd watching the Sydney derby, the opening match in the 2015-16 Big Bash League, which meant I wasn’t in a position to do a deep dive into the stats of the night.

My plan is to use the Twitter account in conjunction with a liveblog for nights when I’m able to watch the match with my computer in front of me – which won’t be every match by any means – and when I can’t I’ll try to come back with a summary of some key stats which help you understand the match.

Last night the Sydney Thunder beat the Sydney Sixers for the first time in eight outings, after the women achieved the same two weeks ago in Penrith. It was the first Sydney Derby played at the Showground Stadium at Olympic Park after the Thunder downgraded from the cavernous Stadium Australia to the smaller stadium across the road – and it was a big success with three-quarters of the seat’s filled and a good vibe.

Taking wickets was the key in this match – the Thunder’s score at the end of their innings was predictable based on the small number of wickets they had lost by their halfway point (allowing them to score faster), but only gave them even odds of winning – it was the steady fall of key Sixers wickets which pushed the Thunder total out of reach.

Continue reading “Thunder vs Sixers – story of the numbers”

BBL – the best batsmen and bowlers

In this post, I will run through the top batsmen and bowlers using a set of seven metrics I have previously used. Yesterday I ran through what these metrics look like for the entirety of each squad, but it’s worth seeing who the stars are.

Like I did for my equivalent WBBL post, I will split these lists between players who have played at least five T20 internationals, and those who haven’t.

It’s also worth noting that the BBL will be played concurrently with international cricket in Australia. Most of the Australian test squad are signed to one team or another, but that doesn’t mean they will be available. Cricket Australia planned to free up a large number of test players to be available for the early pre-Christmas matches, but that is now looking to be limited.

Where a player is likely to not be present I will note that, and for that reason I’ll list ten players each in the international category to include people who are likely to be present. In particular Steve Smith and Usman Khawaja have withdrawn from playing for the Sixers and Thunder respectively in the opening match to give them more recovery time.

Continue reading “BBL – the best batsmen and bowlers”

BBL – each squad’s batting/bowling stats

I had a bit of writer’s block thinking about how to preview the BBL season, which starts on Thursday. There’s so much potential data about the players, and it’s hard to decide what is likely to provide new insights, rather than just demonstrating what is already conventional wisdom.

I decided to follow roughly the same model as I used for the WBBL. So I’m going to post here today the key batting and bowling stats for each squad selected for the BBL. I’m also going to do some analysis of what the equivalent numbers looked like prior to last season to see how useful it is in predicting outcomes.

Tomorrow I will post about the key individual players to watch, according to these same statistics.

Continue reading “BBL – each squad’s batting/bowling stats”

Welcome to Strike Rate

Welcome to my new blog, which will be covering the statistics of Twenty20 cricket over this summer.

Last summer, during the Big Bash League, I became interested in using stats to give myself a sense of how likely a team was to win. Twenty20 cricket is a new game, and I didn’t have a good sense of what sort of score gave you a very good chance of winning.

I built a small dataset, just of the topline results from the BBL and its state-based predecessor the Big Bash over the last ten years, and used that to post graphs during games that were underway.

(You can follow this blog on Twitter, where I may well do similar analysis this summer).

This time I’d like to go much bigger, providing analysis about specific matches based on a much larger dataset, and trying to answer broader questions about how the game works.

This is a tentative first step, and initially I’m going to focus on describing the game as it exists, not trying to make predictions of likely results. I’d appreciate any feedback on statistical methods which might help me make stronger conclusions, or about particular questions you’d like answered. At some point I’ll work on producing guides to some upcoming matches, and I’d also appreciate feedback on which bits of information are the most useful.

I’m going to focus entirely on Twenty20 cricket, both men’s and women’s. I’ve built a database which covers all men’s domestic and international Twenty20, women’s internationals and selected women’s domestic Twenty20 competitions (the data gets a bit sketchy here). Next week I’ll do a post outlining what I’ve included and how much data there is, but there’s over 6000 matches worth of data in the database.

I was planning more of an introduction explaining what I was doing, but I’m going to come back to that introduction next week, and keep this short.

The inaugural Women’s Big Bash League starts this Saturday, with three games played over the weekend (I’ll be at the Sydney derby in Penrith on Sunday).

Because of this impending deadline, I’m going to prioritise a couple of posts explaining the main statistical differences between men and women’s cricket, for anyone who is interested in women’s cricket but doesn’t understand (for example) what kind of score would likely mean a team is in a winning position. Then I will follow that up with an analysis of the stats for those players signed to play in the WBBL.

Next week, I’ll start doing some analysis building up to the Big Bash League. I’m expecting the blog will be a mix of pre-analysis of games coming up, analysis of ongoing competitions, and analysis of deeper questions (how does the proportion of runs scored in fours and sixes affect the team’s likelihood of victory?) which should apply more broadly across the game.