Winning the toss and chasing

Early in this season I blogged about the trend of teams choosing to bat second. Since that time that trend has become clearer with most teams choosing to bat second when they win the toss.

I’ve updated my analysis and also looked into how often teams win when batting first or second, when you break down the matches based on how close they are. In short, close matches are overwhelmingly won by the team batting second.

I’ve written up this analysis in my first cricket piece at the Guardian Australia.

And here is the most interesting chart, showing break down of results based on margin of victory in BBL06 and WBBL02:


And as a bonus for blog readers, here is the same chart for the last six seasons of the BBL and the WBBL and its predecessor:



Arguing the toss

Josh Pinn on Twitter asked last night:

This is a good question, and one that is easy to answer with my dataset. In this post I’ll look at how the fashion in men’s T20 cricket has shifted towards teams preferring to bowl first, and also whether there is evidence that this works.

Firstly, let’s take a look at how often teams choose to bowl when they win the toss in the Big Bash League.


It’s a dramatic shift. Up until 2011/12, it was rare for teams to choose to bowl. Around 20% took the option in 2007/8 and 2008/9, but in 2009/10 a team chose to bowl first in only one out of 16 matches. We came closer to parity in 2012/13, but only a quarter chose to do so in 2013/14. In 2014/15 the team who won the toss chose to bowl in exactly half of the matches. Last season a small majority of matches saw teams choosing to bowl.

In the first five matches of this season, every team has chosen to bowl. Continue reading “Arguing the toss”