Friday, 27 March 2009

New Zealand in Charge!

Now's the time to deploy that headline. I'm not too fond of today's effort, either, about a relentless New Zealand. Rather, I wonder about this curious fact: when Franklin was out the Black Caps' chances of winning were actually higher than at the end of the innings.

New Zealand certainly were the most 'sabermetric' of sides, it seemed back when I started analysing cricket in this way. They surely know, if any side does, that there is a chance of diminishing returns if one keeps batting for runs in the first innings. Yet they have done exactly this in a series where they are one match down. As things turned out, their chances of winning are exactly 50/50 by my reckoning. What they have successfully done is put any chance of losing out of the picture.

The Indians are, to my mind, still the same group that was once (and may still be) the best batting side in the world. You have to respect that, but I wonder if New Zealand took it too far. It's a question of how much confidence they have in their attack, I suspect.

At this stage, though, they are looking smarter than me.

India opened with a .322 success rate, against a New Zealand one of .500.
The first wicket (Gambhir-Sehwag) advanced them to .430 for a gain of .108
The second wicket (Gambhir-Dravid) regressed them to .314 for a -.116.
The third wicket (Dravid-Sharma) regressed them .067 for a -.247.

CLARIFICATION: A better writer would have made it more clear that the Success Rate reflects the chance to win the match, and thus excludes draws. So the Black caps had a 50 per cent chance of winning and a 50 per cent chance of losing when I wrote the above, but no chance of losing. [z0345]

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