Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Predicting the Predictable

Now that I have contracted Foot in Mouth disease for suggesting that Test cricket is better of because of boring draws, I should refrain from discussing the virtues of Test cricket. Though I do hope by this time next week order is restored and we can talk of dull boring draws on dead pitches as a thing of the past.

Anyway, this post is more to do about the One-Day game and less to do with Test cricket (though they are related in a vague sort of way).

Before reading any further, ask yourself this question; when you sit down to watch a one day game does a par score cross your mind, i.e., a score after the first innings that gives both Teams an equal chance of winning? And after the 1st innings is over, do you have a gut feeling as to who will win (or lose) the game? And are you more often right then wrong?

If the answer to all these questions is no, then you haven'’t watched enough one day cricket, but read on nevertheless J

And if the answer is yes, then welcome to the club. In this case, pick up a pen and paper and write down the rough par scores that come to your mind based on all* ODIs played:

- World wide since the early 70'’s

- World-wide since Jan 1st 2000

- In the sub continent

- Outside the sub continent

* Excluding games decided by D/L (or similar) method, less than 45 overs (as they distort the numbers) and those that did not result in a +ve result (mainly due to rain, but occasional Ties)

I am looking for four answers here (one for each) but let me clarify, I do not expect anyone to come up with accurate answers. The main idea (apart from a bit of fun) is to see if such numbers do spring to mind.

Now to proceed. I had mentioned in one of my earlier posts that higher the 1st innings score, the more the chances of the team winning. As a refresher, here is the graph from that post (ignore the comparison with Test cricket for the moment) …











(click on this and other images to enlarge)

And since we know that in the one day game, unless there is rain interruption or a tie (which is very rare), if you are not winning, you are losing. If we exclude these '“No Result' games, the losing line is a mirror of the winning line, we get a graph in which the lines cross each other at the 50% mark (donating a point when the chance of winning or losing is equal, or at Par).

(Based on all* Games world wide)


As you can see, the lines cross somewhere between the 200-225 & 225-250 band, thus giving us an indication that roughly in the 215-230 range is a par score in ODIs (Tick or cross your first answer but let me remind you this is not an attempt to find an accurate number).

And there is another striking aspect of the game; not only does the chance of winning (or losing) change dramatically once you move from the par score, the margins of victory (or defeat) also change dramatically.

(please note, I have used nr of balls left as the margin of victory if Team batting 2nd wins as opposed to the traditional wickets margin).

Now, in my opinion, these graphs highlight some of the most important attributes (and also flaws) of the One day game:

  1. Some kind of par score exits
  2. It exists EXACTLY in the middle of the game
  3. If the game moves away from this par score, the chances of winning and losing change dramatically. And so do the margins of victory and defeat.

So the moment the 1stinnings score moves away from the par score, its starts becoming predictable move. So how many games finish around the par score and how many out side it?


As you can see, only about 25% -30% games do finish around the par score. So about 70-75% games finish outside the par score and the further they are from that score, the more one sided they get.

Now, in the ideal world, it would be great if all games finished around the par score. But that would mean that the 1st Innings would be come predictable and boring J We can'’t win, can we…

Anyway, got to rush now. Travelling, work etc will keep me away for a couple of days.

But don't throw away your tiny sheet of par scores as we still need to find out how the game has changed in the last few years and how sub continental games differ from elsewhere. And feel free to revise those scores. After all, there are no prizes for guessing correctly J


13 comments:

muthu said...

i thought the par scores exist and are based on each wicket the match is being played rather than for ALL ODIs in history. flat - around 300, fast and bouncy/slow wickets of subcontinent - around 230. you cannot have a par score of 230 for ODI in karachi/rawalpindi/hyderabad/bangalore. par score is minimum of 300 in these venues.

Saurabh Wahi said...

I agree muthu.

But like I mentioned on my blog, my idea was to find out if a par score exists in ODIs. And eventually I want to discuss why it exists and can it be eliminated to make the One day game more exciting.

Wait for my next post where I will disect it on the other three parameters. And now that you mention it, I will try to group Grounds based on the average scores and see how their par scores compare...

Cheers,

FtheAussies said...

Sure it varies with each ground...but on a sporting pitch my take - 250 would be par before the Powerplay/Supersub era 300 in the new ODI era!!
By extension :
For subcontinental pitches add 30-40 runs to above ...hehe!...you get the idea !

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