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When do teams lock their chance of winning?

Last updated on 14 Nov 2023 | 07:17 AM
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When do teams lock their chance of winning?

An analysis of when teams lock their chance of winning in ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 and the factors behind It

The Criclytics Win Probabilities data for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 league matches reveals interesting insights about the likelihood of teams winning at a given stage in a match. The data takes into account both real-time circumstances of the game and historical performance of players in each team to predict a team's chances of winning at various stages of a game.

A closer look at the win probabilities across all the balls in different matches shows that India performed exceptionally well throughout the tournament. We ranked the Win% of each team across all the balls of all the matches and gave percentiles to each value. The bottom 1 percentile of India’s win% stands at 32%. This means that India has very rarely been in a position when their chances of winning were less than 32%. This is staggering in itself. Add to it the fact that no other team comes close to this. The table below shows the Win% values of different teams at different percentile ranks. This not only explains how India made it to the semi-finals but also shows how dominant they have been. 

The 1st percentile signifies the value below which 1% of the data falls (when sorted in ascending order). For example, in the case of Team India, their win probability is 32%, indicating that they have a win probability lower than this only 1% of the time.

Moving on to the four teams that qualified for the semis, we observe that all of them had medians (50th percentile rank) exceeding 65%. This means that more often than not their chances of winning have been more than 65%. South Africa led the way with a median of 81%, while England had the highest median (59%) among teams that didn't advance to the semis. Despite this, England failed to translate their probability of winning into actual victories. Since the past performance data is also considered in this, it explains how much of an underperformance it was from England.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan surprised everyone by exceeding expectations with four wins and a better placement on the points table than the defending champions. Although their median win probability value was relatively low at 38, they still managed to pull off some impressive results. This goes on to show that they have played percentage cricket. Despite being in the game less often than their opposition, they have managed to steal their wins.

In another interesting observation, the winning team tends to secure victory by the 45th over of the first innings. On average, the winning team reached a win probability of over 50% and maintained it until the end of the match (excluding the NZ vs PAK match that was affected by rain). The eventual winners of the match had been ahead in the game since about the end of the first innings.

Furthermore, the average win probability for the winning team at the end of the 45th over is 67.1%. South Africa and India had the highest win probabilities at this stage, with 76.2% and 70.2%, respectively, followed by New Zealand and Australia with 59.7% and 57.9%, respectively. England trailed behind with a probability of 53.4%, indicating that they struggled during the second innings.

To better understand what contributes to teams maintaining a high Criclytics Win probability, we looked at the average number of runs scored per innings at the 45th over when batting first. Unsurprisingly, all the semi-finalist teams occupy the top spots in this category, with South Africa leading the way with an average of 309.6 runs, closely followed by Australia, India, and New Zealand with averages of 280.6, 278.5, and 270.0 runs, respectively.

However, when examining the teams' performances when bowling first, we see that India and Australia rank among the top two in terms of average runs conceded per innings at the 45th over, with 210.6 and 244.8 runs, respectively. Afghanistan leads this list with an average of 209 runs, while the middle three teams show less variation in their ranges, ranging from Australia to New Zealand with values between 244.8 and 250.

India and Australia are the only teams that made it to the top four in both criteria among the semifinalist teams, suggesting a potential India versus Australia final, if they maintain the same streak. 

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