This is part three of the cricket season in review. This article analyses the bowling in the 2nd innings of limited overs Premier Division cricket.
Whatever you run target you set, the flip of setting runs in limited overs is having a good defence with the ball.
In West’s two games won, the opposition were bowled out 66 runs short. This is a trend that is true across the league, where - in chases - 10 wickets occur 79% of the time, 63 runs short on average. In the losing games, West took 5.5 wickets on average. Slightly better than the 4.8 league average, but not enough to warrant an excellent performance.
Two of West’s games batting first went to the last over. Both resulted in losses that could have easily been wins by a close margin. Nevertheless, there are very few close games in the league. Most matches have a large winning margin, whoever wins. This was broadly reflected in West’s performance: The average win by 60 runs, the average loss by 5 wickets.
SO how do you measure your performance accurately in these situations?
One of the best ways to see how well you defend a target is through Win%. It’s more useful because it considers the context of the chase. Other stats can’t do that. The result is great knowledge of performance with the ball: If you can’t defend a low Win% from the opposition, you are being out-skilled:
Five games went as Win% predicted. Two games bucked the prediction, with Stirling putting in the most outstanding chase against the halftime odds. West performed as expected in most games, with three one-sided results.
The ease of the Greenock victory should be lauded as a confident performance considering the 42% win% at the start. The tight games against Poloc and Clydesdale show the step up in standard. Last year those games would most likely have resulted in a win, this year the opposition made it over the line in a tight finish.
The loss to Stirling was the least effective defence of a score that was likely to win.
How did individual bowlers contribute to this?
This chart shows the Defence Impact (how well bowlers did in chases). Those at the top in the positive bowled better than expected, conceding fewer runs than the opposition needed to win. Those in minus numbers conceded more runs, meaning their overall impact on defending run chases was negative. This provides more context than plain averages.
The other important factor is wickets. Taking wickets prevents teams from scoring runs (both tactically as run rates slow around wickets, and in terms of getting the best batsmen out). As we know, West did slightly better than the league average. So, let’s break that down further:
Generally, an average of 15.00 or lower is considered excellent. Considering West’s average score batting first, anything below 17.60 would also be strong. A strike rate below 25.00 paints a similar picture.
Lowtop wins the prize for average and strike rate, both showing the mark of excellence. He also took 2.66 wickets per match, bowling 7.55 overs per game. He bought his wickets with a worse than average Defence Impact (above).
There was then a pack of similarly performing bowlers: Quicksky was top wicket taker. His 0.60 wickets in 6.61 overs per match were perhaps slightly unlucky as he had more drops at slip than any other bowler. Northflood took 1.40 wickets per match (with an exceptional Defence Impact, making him a dot bowler in defence) and Kodak 1.14. All solid performances.
The rest were disappointing in taking wickets. The one name to note is Winter. The seamer was somewhat unlucky, having three drops from his bowling (66% success compared to the team’s overall 78%). He also was the most effective in keeping the run rate down to put the opposition under pressure, so his role may be changing.
From here you can see a clearer development picture building.
Even with low scores to defend aside, defending scores is inconsistent compared to Win%
Taking wickets is important. West did slightly better than average, but to finish at the top requires more bowlers striking in the second half to take 10 wickets.
Some bowlers are measurably better at bowling second, meaning those who have struggled this season need to find a method to better bowl at a chasing side.
In the next article, we will move on to some more general analysis of bowling.