In this blog I wanted to take a brief break from refining our Expected Runs and Expected Wickets models and instead use these metrics, in their current form, to analyse the recent India v England T20I series. India came back from 1 nil down to win the series 2-1. The table below shows a summary of the series in terms of the total xR and xW for each team in each match. To give some context, batsman outperformed in this series overall, scoring 875 runs compared to a total xR of 828.8. In contrast, there were 35 wickets lost (excluding run outs) compared to a total xW of 34.81.
In the first match, England bowled reasonably well to restrict India to 147-7 in their innings. This was 6 runs below their total xR suggesting their relatively low score was due to poor batting more than good bowling. In reply, England outscored their total xR by nearly 26 runs. This, along with losing nearly 2 wickets fewer than expected suggests a pretty good batting performance overall. In the next match, both teams performed near enough as expected in terms of both runs and wickets.
In the final match, India significantly outperformed their xR to post a total of 202-6. While England did too, it was nowhere near enough to challenge India’s score. Slightly outperforming an already low xR total won’t win you many games. The most damning aspect however, is England losing more than double the expected number of wickets. In fact, their xW for that match was the lowest of the series highlighting just how inept that batting collapse was.
We can look at how individual batsmen performed throughout the series. The table below shows some statistics for the top 10 series run scorers.
Although Joe Root top scored in the series, he did under-perform according to his xR. However, he did have the lowest wickets/xW of any batsman suggesting he had to dig in at times. He was dismissed only twice even though India bowled well enough to him to dismiss an average batsman more than 5 times.
The beehive plot above shows how India bowled to Root in the series. I think there was a definite plan to bowl very straight and wide of leg stump, with fielders out on the leg side boundary. This seemed to work as he was mainly restricted to singles in this area and ended up with an overall strike rate of just over 100.
The heat map above shows the extent of India’s bowling plan along with Root’s 2 dismissals. The darker the green the greater the number of balls bowled in that region.
MS Dhoni had a similar story to Root – scoring below xR, but batting well enough to survive periods of good bowling from England.
This heat map shows an even more pronounced plan from England to bowl at the top of leg stump and occasionally full and outside off stump to Dhoni. The purple balls shows all of Dhoni’s boundaries which accounted for 44 of his 97 runs in the series. His overall strike rate of 139 suggests this plan didn’t quite work for England, in contrast to India’s plan to Root.
Also from the table above, it seem Sam Billings had a pretty poor series after giving his wicket away nearly 3.5 times more than expected. The beehive plot below shows his dismissals and every other ball he faced in the series.
It shows how we was undone by the surprise bouncer from Ashish Nehra in the 2nd T20I, which had an xW of 0.136 – the highest he faced. His other 2 dismissals had xW’s of 0.045 and 0.034. He faced 8 balls which had higher xW’s from which he scored 17 runs. Although he is an opener, this perhaps shows his need to work on picking the right ball to hit.
England vs spinners
Another theme to come out of this series was, predictably, England’s poor batting performance against spinners. We can see if this is borne out with our xR and xW metrics. The table below compares England’s xR and xW for both seamers and spinners.
England produced an average performance against seamers, scoring and losing wickets more or less in line with expectation. Against spinners, they over-performed in terms of scoring runs but lost nearly 3 more wickets than expected. If we exclude Suresh Raina from India’s list of spinners, England’s runs/xR drops to 1.064 and wicket/xW increases to 1.63 i.e. nearly 4.3 wickets more than expected. This can only confirm how dreadfully poor some of England’s shot selection was in this series against spinners.
The heat maps above show how India’s spinners bowled to right and left-handed batsman with their wickets in red. The dark green patches tend to be wide but quite flat. This suggests that their spinners get quite consistent bounce and rely on movement off the pitch for variation. We can compare this to England’s spinners, again bowling to right and left-handed batsmen.
Interestingly, the heat map is more narrow and less flat. This suggests the England spinners relied more on variation in length rather than line.
Overall, we’ve shown how the xR and xW metrics, together with some visualisations, can be useful in a post-match analysis. We can make use of this data to confirm or challenge any conclusions that commentators or we as viewers may make about team or player performances. As I refine these models further, I’ll be sure to do some more match analyses in between to make sure the metrics remain valid.
If there’s anything you think I could add, let me know here.