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Session-dashboard - Tracking Test Matches as they progress.
Tracking T20 run-chases in an innovative manner - See here.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Tracking Run-chases in T20

For many years, the chases in any ODIs have been captured by the 'Required Run Rate' factor. This is usually the number of runs per over the chasing team has to score in an over to overhaul the score set by the team batting first. With the spurt of T20s to be played in the next few months (IPL2 and then the ICC T20 World Cup), I realized that this factor is probably not enough to capture the excitement of the game. So, I set out looking at what could be an alternative parameter that can be tracked through the 20 overs.

I have taken the recent Australia-South Africa T20 International as reference. The first chart shows the comparison of two teams - how both the teams have fared in the corresponding overs. But, when one looks at it, does it give us a clear number on how much the chasing team has to score in the next few overs, to come near the required score? No.

The second chart shows the Required Run Rate. Yes, this is better than the previous chart. It gives exactly how many runs per over the chasing team should score. This suits the 50 over matches perfectly where there is enough time for the viewers to judge how the chase is being executed.

In a T20 over match, however, each ball is significant. Hence, we arrive at the (R-B) factor. This is the difference between the Runs to be hit and the Balls remaining. This clearly shows how many additional runs have to be scored (assuming that the team is scoring 6 runs per over or run-a-ball) to meet the score. This factor has to reach 0 or get into negative zone for the chasing team to feel secure. It also gives the batsmen at the crease, an idea of when to launch the aggressive strokes and when to go for rotating the strike. At the end of the 20 overs, this factor will be the winning margin of the match.

Let us take it a step further. Let us divide the R-B factor by the Overs remaining. This will give you the number of runs (more than 6) that needs to be scored by the batsmen. If you notice closely, this is nothing but the Required Run Rate.

Let us take the Wickets factor then. What happens if you factor the Wickets remaining in the equation. The equation shows a steady rate when wickets are in the bag but increases dramatically, once they start falling.

If you take the combination of Overs and Wickets with the R-B factor, a ratio of 1 seems to be the ideal one. More than this, the chart zooms up rapidly, thus showing the desperation need to be displayed by the chasing team.

Even though the last chart represents the situation very well, the calculation gets a bit complicated for the average viewer. Hence, it is better to go back to the R-B factor. This seems to be the simple factor that will help the chasing team figure out how to launch their chase in the coming overs. How many runs close to 0 they get to, will determine the health of the chase.

This definitely, will help viewers in following the T20 matches in the next few months. When the pace of the game is changed, the parameters that one uses to follow it needs tweaking as well. I am sure all of us will enjoy the game further by following the R-B parameter. Let me know your comments on this.

Update: I have added another worm that is shown as 'R-E' rate. This is nothing but what would be the ideal way a team would be able to chase down the target. This can show how the chasing team is doing with respect to the actual scores.
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