World Cup Group H

Hello, welcome to the next blog in my series previewing the World Cup. All 7 other groups are looked at further in my blog so please go check them out let me know who you think the favourites are. The final group contains Columbia, Poland, Japan and Senegal. This promises to be quite an interesting group and there’s not one team that stands out as an absolute favourite.


Looking at the ages of the four squads Senegal have what looks to be the youngest squad in the group with 2 players under the age of 20 in the squad. The medians for the 4 teams, however, are about the same. Japan seems to have the highest age players but nothing too high. They all seem o have most of their players around peak ages which should mean they are in peak condition.


Looking at the caps distribution Poland looks to have the flattest range of caps with no overload of experienced or inexperienced players. The Senegal squad looks to be the least experienced squad most probably because as we have seen it has a lot of younger players. We have seen most teams in the tournament have squads with players in that have over 100 caps however it none of the squads in Group H have that.


Now the Senegal squad composition looks interesting. They don’t have too many midfielders compared to the other teams and lots of attackers. It looks like Senegal could be a fun team to watch in the tournament. The other squad’s don’t look to have too many different options with them all having the same amount of midfielders and then just a small difference between defenders and attackers.


Now finally we look at the chances of each team in the World Cup. First of all, I think its the closest group to call because the expected favourites Columbia have the lowest percent chance of all the favourites we have seen so far. Japan also could think that they have a half decent chance of getting through the group with it being so wide open. It will be fascinating to see how this group with no so-called big nations turns out. It might be the most exciting of the tournament. As for the chances of the teams, Columbia possibly has an outside chance but the none of these are among the top favourites.

That’s it for the last in this series of blogs looking at each group in the world cup. I hope you have enjoyed them and they have increased your understanding of the teams in the World Cup.


World Cup Group G

Welcome to today’s blog, these are all part of my series looking at all the team in the tournament group by group. Check the others out if you haven’t already and let me know your thoughts. Today is our second last group and it is group G which contains Belgium, England, Tunisia and Panama. As an Englishman myself hopefully this world cup doesn’t end up with a penalty shoot-out heartbreak.


As you know if you have read the other blogs we start with the age comparison first. England looks to have overall one of the younger squads in the competition. Not many players at peak age, therefore, it could be a tournament too early for this group of England players. Belgium on the other hand look to have the perfect squad makeup with most players at peak age suggesting this tournament is at the correct time for their golden generation. Panama has possibly the oldest squads in the group but also players of all ages. Tunisia squad is generally just slightly older then Englands.



Looking at the caps breakdown for all teams within group G. Belgium are showing the common trend of the squad being split in two with having a group of younger players will low caps but also a group of players with experience that can guide everyone. England probably has one of the squads with the lowest total caps we have seen in the tournament this strengthens the view that this might be a tournament of building for England. The positive is England don’t have many players with the baggage of the last world cups. Tunisia seems to have a similarly inexperienced squad as England which aligns with its also low squad average age. Panama has the most experienced squad in the group with a lot of players with over 100 caps.


Now, let’s take a look at the squad compositions and first things first it looks like Tunisia have abandoned the midfield. I don’t think a team in this World Cup have had a lower amount of midfielders then Tunisia. They have plenty of Defenders and Attackers so should be interesting to see how they play. Belgium has gone the opposite of Tunisia and gone with more midfielders at the expense of defenders and attackers.


Now finally let’s take a look at the chances of all four teams in this tournament. On the face of it, this looks an easy group with the top 2 already decided. However, because these are based on bookmaker odds England might be slightly over priced due to lots of expectant England fans out there. Looking at the chances for the whole tournament Belgium have a good chance, however, will they bottle it on the biggest stage again.

That’s it for today’s look at the world cup groups as always please let me know your thoughts and if you have any questions

IPL Preview – Royal Challengers Bangalore

Hello welcome to the 7th part of this series reviewing the rosters of all the IPL teams for the upcoming 2018 season. Please go and check the other posts as there’s some interesting insights to be find and let me know what you think. Today’s review we are looking at the Royal Challengers Bangalore, who could be termed as the unlucky team. Three times they have made it to the final of the tournament and lost all three times. Currently their captain is the world class Virat Kohli who has been with the team since its 2008 inception. They are coached by Daniel Vetori who has been the coach since 2014 and has a reputation as an expert twenty 20 coach.

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Overall Bangalore have a decent sized squad compared to the other teams. Age wise most of their players are towards the higher age bracket but probably the most dense grouping around peak ages for a player. There is a good amount of experience throughout the squad when compared to the other teams but there are a few players towards the lower end which could effect them

treemap bangalore

Big value has been spent on Virat Kohli as you would expect but also Chris Woakes. He is the most expensive all rounder in the team and this is likely due to his ability to bowl at the death and restrict runs. He will be a key component in the bowling attack. There is also a good selection of fast bowlers to back up and good spin options in Moeen Ali and Chahal. Having both makes playing two spinners a lot easier due to Moeen’s ability with the bat.

bangalore batting

In the treemap it looked like Bangalore had spent big money on Batsmen and it looks like that investment has paid off. The batting line up looks capable of threatening any team with high strike rates and high averages indicating long innings. I think this is clearly the best batting line up of the teams we have see so far.

bowl bang

All rounders it looks clear that they have aimed to go for bowling all rounders with good economy rates. This looks to be a smart move when the batting line up is as strong as it is.

bowl baga

When you look at the bowling attack its understand able why they have mostly aimed to go for bowling all rounders. It looks particularly weak especially for conceding runs. They will hope the bowling all rounders such as the likes of Woakes and De Grandhomme will supplement the attack.

Overall Bangalore clearly have a super strong squad with particular strength in the batting line up. If the all rounders can contribute as much as a bowler can then look out for Bangalore going far in this years tournament.

IPL Preview – Mumbai Indians

Hello and welcome to the next IPL preview. This is part of a series of 8 posts looking at all the team playing in the IPL this year trying to look at the weaknesses and strengths in each squad. All the others are on the blog so please go check them out let me know your thoughts. Today we are covering the Mumbai Indians, the holders of the title and the favourites for this years competition. Mumbai are possibly the most successful team in the IPL and have a big reputation to live up to. They are coached by the great Sri Lankan Mahela Jayawardene and captained by Rohit Sharma.

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Mumbai have the largest squad in this years competition so will be interesting to see if the squad is quantity and quality.  Overall Mumbai are one of the younger squads in the IPL this year however most of the players are clustered around the peak ages which could be an advantage. Finally in terms of IPL experience it is definitely on the lower end however they do have a couple of players with lots of experience. This seems to be a well structured squad for age and experience so lets look where the money was spent.

mumbai treem

Mumbai seems to be another team which has spread its money between batsmen, all rounders and fast bowlers. The big money has been spent on Rohit Sharma the captain and who the pressure will rest on to get them up to the big scores.

mumbai batsmen

Overall the batting line up looks extremely strong with generally high strike rates and a few batsmen able to the play long innings that underpin the big scores. I really like the balance here this is clearly a squad that has been well thought out.

mumbai all rounders

The Mumbai all rounders could be the slight weak spot. They are still generally good however compared to some of the others are maybe lacking in the bowling or batting facet depending on the player.

mumbai bowlers Finally the bowling attack looks excellent. Two bowlers in the attack able to take wickets and restrict runs which is the perfect combination.

Overall Mumbai is clearly a well balanced and though through squad. The money has been spent well across all departments and I can see why they have the tag as favourites. whether i agree with that though we will have to see what the rest of the teams have to offer.

IPL Preview – Kolkata Knight Riders

Hello and welcome to another of my IPL previews today’s is looking at the Kolkata Knight Riders. If you want to look at the others there all in the blog so go and check them out. The team from Kolkata have been in the competition since it was founded and won the tournament in 2012 and 14 under the stewardship of Trevor Bayliss. Since 2016 Jacques Kalis has been the head coach. They will be hoping to go further then the play offs this year. So lets dissect their squad see if that might be possible.

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The first thing that stands out is that the Knight Riders have by far the smallest roster in the competition. Will this cause issue an issue if players are out of form or injuries. Loking at the average ages for the squad it looks like there is a good spread of ages and also experience of the IPL which should stand them in good stead.

kolkate tree

The treemap above shows each player in the Kolkata squad with how much they cost in the IPL auction. What stands out that in three key areas of the team they decided to spend big one name. This should mean they have a spine in the team of top world class players and therefore Kolkata could be a team of seeing how the other players play around the top players.

kolkata batsmen Overall the batsmen are generally high strike rates which will give them a good chance of scoring good runs. They seem to be lacking in batsmen who will stick around however the two batsmen they have that will do that could allow the ones with the higher strike rates to play around them. This therefore could be a well balanced batting lineup.

kolkata all rounder

on the all rounder front there seems 2 out of the three all rounders are much more bowling all orunders then batting. This will therefore strengthen the bowling attack more then normal all rounders at the expense of the batting line up.

kolkata bowlers

Finally we look the bowlers, in which Kolkata’s big problem is shown. To start with there are only 4 bowlers in the squad and only three of them have a twenty 20 record. When you add in the fact their top bowler, Mitchell Stark, is currently out injured and probably wont play in the competition. This could then mean the team lack the required firepower in order to win matches. It is also where having a small squad is going to hurt them as they dont have many options for replacement.

In summary I think despite what appears to be a well balanced batting line the lack of numbers for all rounders and in the weakness in the bowling attack could mean Kolkata are in for a struggle in this years competition. It will be interesting to see what they do to cover for Starc and times ticking for them tov come up with a plan as opening game is less then a week away as i write this.

IPL Preview- Delhi Daredevils

Hello and welcome to the second of my previews of this years IPL. If you didnt catch my first one on the Chennai super kings please go check it out let me know what you think. Today’s preview is focusing on the Delhi Daredevils. The Delhi daredevils were one of the founding members of the IPL however they have been less then successful. They have never won the competition and in the last 5 editions of the competition have never got any further than the league stage.


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Delhi have the second largest roster in the competition which is one of the youngest squads and consequently one of the least experienced. Their captain Gautam Ghambir is their most experienced player and they only have 3 players with over 100 IPL games experience.

dehli treemap

The treemap above shows which areas of the squad the most money was spent on. Overall it looks quite balanced spending across the whole of the squad. The most money has been spent on All rounders with strong twenty 20 all rounders like Glenn Maxwell and Chris Morris. There seem also to be a good strong spin options within the team so look out for Delhi to be strong one turning pitches.

dehli batsmen

Above is the summary of the batsmen and wicket keepers record in twenty 20. On the face of it they look a little underwhelming with the squad seeming to lack one gun twenty 20 batsmen. Overall they seem to have a few batsmen with decent twenty strike rates but seem to lacking in the ability to score big runs. This could mean this team could struggle to reverse their misfortunes in this competition.

delhi all rounders The all rounders is were the picture is slightly rosier. Delhi seem to have a good selection of all rounders who are both strong with the bat and ball with also good economy rates. This looks to be the strongest area of the team and with weak batting is an area of the team which must fire if they are going to be successful

delhi bowling

The bowling attack looks to be the weakest area of the team. With most of the bowlers in the low threat high runs box the worst box on the graph. With only one bowler who looks to be able to take wickets and keep the score in check. This is only going to further put pressure on the all rounders in the team.

Overall Delhi despite having an obvious good selection of all rounders the squad seems lacking in a few critical areas therefore I don’t think this will be the year Delhi wins the trophy.


Analysing the Bowling Performances in the IPL

The IPL finished at the end of May with the Mumbai Indians winning the title on the last ball of the match against the now defunct Rising Pune Super Giant. I decided to take a new look at evaluating bowling performances. Currently bowlers in all cricket are judged based on the amount of wickets they have taken, their economy rate or their bowling average. I think there could be a new way of reviewing performances. If you take the batsmen average as an indication of how good the batsmen is the batsmen with higher averages must be harder wickets to take. Therefore if you record the average of the batsmen the bowler took the wicket of you can make a judgement of the quality of the bowling. Has the bowler took a lot of wickets but where they all lower order less quality batsmen or are they good at taking the top order wickets.

I have used this approach to review the bowling performances in the 2017 IPL. To qualify for this review the bowler had to have taken more then 5 wickets which left me with 44 bowlers. The first graph below shows the amount of wickets taken by bowler against the number of balls they bowled:


Stand out performances from that graph are clearly Unadkat and Bhuvneshwar Kumar taking lots more wickets then anyone else who bowled a similar amount of balls. Sunil Narine looks to have had a significantly lower return of wickets then he should have done with  the amount of balls bowled. Now if we look at the quality of the batsmen the bowlers got out shown in the graph below:


As you can see our second ranked bowler based on wickets taken has one of the lowest average batting quality rating (have to come up with a better name!) at 18.45, suggesting that he often got his wickets from lower order batsmen. Kumar got his wickets at an Batsmen average of 22.33 which is a respectable value slightly lower then the average for all bowlers. The two highest bowlers where Chawler and Nadeem both only took 6 wickets but didn’t bowl many balls  (only 120 and 107 respectively). Would be interesting to know why they played only 6 games as they both looked to have troubled a lot of higher ranking batsmen.

That’s it for this first look as a way to review bowling performances. I think this can be explored a lot more and will definitely look to do that. The weakness of the method is the amount of games a batsmen has played as one that has played few will possibly have an unrepresentative average.