Now that every team (bar Pakistan) have played, I can use the batting and bowling records of each starting XI to paint a picture of what we can expect to happen in the group stages.
This is a quick and dirty piece of analysis – I’ve only used ODI and T20I data between the top nine teams. Scarcity of T20I data meant ODI was used as a proxy – scaling down the averages by 76% and increasing the strike rates by 147%. Time will tell how good this method is.
Somehow watching sport without understanding context and probabilities no longer satisfies me – I want to know what is happening, and to do that data is required. Hence this piece.
The below chart ranks batting strength on the x-axis (expected runs on an average pitch against an average attack). The y-axis is the same but for runs conceded. The ideal team would be in the bottom right of the chart.
The big three stand out: Australia, New Zealand and England. These are consistent with the ICC rankings.
Let’s look at the groups.
Group A is marginally stronger. Despite beating Australia, India aren’t all that hot at batting – remove Shafali Verma early and the rest of the order are unlikely to score at much over a run a ball. Both India’s wins have come after Verma set a platform. Bangladesh have what is on paper an economical bowling attack, though having slipped up against India, they’ll have a tall order containing Australia and New Zealand.
Current expectation is that two of Australia, New Zealand and India should go through. Australia vs New Zealand on 2nd March is the final game of the group, and is likely to decide both who goes through and the position they go through in.
Group B is more clear cut. England lost to South Africa, which was seen as something of an upset, though player data indicates the sides are fairly well matched.
Aside from Chloe Tryon, South Africa aren’t an explosive batting unit. What they have in their favour is that they are dependable. Strong averages down the order mean they will rarely get rolled. That should be good enough to get them three wins out of four and into the semi finals. Note that the women’s version of T20 cricket is subtly different – with lower averages, teams are at much greater risk of being bowled out: so the averages of the lower middle order matter.
England are a similar proposition to South Africa – no stars with the bat, yet a top eight who should all yield more than a run a ball. Hard to see anyone other than England and South Africa progressing.
Being frank, West Indies and Pakistan are holed below the water line once three wickets are down. Look out for them wasting good starts.
Wrapping up, it’s hard to look past the big three teams. Still, South Africa at odds of 14-1 look tempting since I’d expect them to be the fourth semi-finalist. (Odds as at 25th Feb).