Champions Trophy 2013 Tournament Preview

Making predictions during a preview for a tournament such as Champions Trophy has a fundamental problem. It is too short a tournament with too few chances of getting back in the fray after a poor start. More than any other ODI event in the world, this is the one where a team with a few well-timed lucky performances can make it all the way.

Still, it is interesting to look at the relative strengths of the teams based on the squads selected. Especially given the quintessentially misleading picture that emerges from practice matches, especially in England (for those who remember how India famously lost to Minor Counties during the 1983 World Cup warm-ups).

We also have an additional parameter here based on ODI performances in English conditions. The numbers then are not quite as straight-forward as we try to give our reasoning by combining the findings here.

This is the Team Chart for all squads on various Impact parameters.

Teams Batting Impact Bowling Impact Runs Tally Impact Strike Rate Impact Pressure Impact Chasing Impact Wickets Tally Impact Economy Impact Failure Rate SDs Overall Impact
Australia 1.93 1.79 1.41 0.07 0.1 0.06 1.61 0.15 28 15 2.58
India 1.6 1.76 1.24 0.07 0.11 0.07 1.56 0.07 33 18 2.55
Sri Lanka 1.54 1.63 1.23 0.05 0.11 0.04 1.39 0.13 31 17 2.15
South Africa 1.7 1.49 1.39 0.11 0.07 0.06 1.26 0.11 28 5 2.09
West Indies 1.47 1.43 1.18 0.08 0.08 0.04 1.36 0.02 30 3 2.05
England 1.5 1.8 1.24 0.04 0.07 0.05 1.66 0.08 30 8 2.04
New Zealand 1.29 1.69 0.99 0.09 0.12 0.06 1.36 0.18 33 6 2.03
Pakistan 1.25 1.4 1.03 0.04 0.07 0.05 1.13 0.17 31 4 2.02

Interesting to see Australia top the Impact charts here. They have the highest impact squad along with excellent big match experience ( SD column). They are, by a distance, the highest impact batting team (notwithstanding their practice matches), and very nearly the highest impact bowling team too (with the right attack for these conditions). Given their 0-4 Test drubbing in India, they would be very hungry too. On these numbers, and without injuries, likely to be a finalist.

Highest Impact Player: Shane Watson (minimum 15 matches in all cases)
Highest Impact Batsman: David Warner
Highest Impact Bowler: Mitchell Starc

India are up and away as the next highest impact side. They have the best chasing team (mainly due to Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Dhoni) and also have the most big match experience. Curiously, they have a strong bowling side this time (amongst the strongest in their history for a tournament in England) which could be their biggest strength. However, post-IPL fatigue (a proven disease for Indian teams in the last 5 years) and the fallout from the controversies back home could take a significant toll on the official world champions. Their impact in English conditions is not amongst the best either. Still, purely on cricketing impact, they can be seen as prospective semi-finalists (as also the fact that they are in the easier group).

Highest Impact Player: MS Dhoni
Highest Impact Batsman: Virat Kohli
Highest Impact Bowler: Irfan Pathan

Sri Lanka has a surprisingly high impact side in this edition. Though you wouldn’t consider them a favourite in these conditions, their English Impact numbers are also surprisingly high (thanks to Chandimal, Matthews, Mendis, Malinga, Jayawardene and Sangakkara). Maintaining a strike rate and chasing down targets are a bit of a problem with this team though.

Highest Impact Player: Kumar Sangakkara
Highest Impact Batsman: Kumar Sangakkara
Highest Impact Bowler: Lasith Malinga

South Africa have a strong batting side but a surprisingly low impact ODI bowing attack, given the names that adorn their team sheet. Absorption of pressure is a problem with the bat and wicket-taking a serious problem with the ball. They have the best strike rate impact amongst all squads though and that could count for a lot, given how deep they bat. However, their English Impact is not too great.

Highest Impact Player: Hashim Amla
Highest Impact Batsman: Hashim Amla
Highest Impact Bowler: Morne Morkel

West Indies run South Africa close on Impact despite a considerably lower batting impact and marginally lower bowling impact . Their consistency is slightly better than South Africa’s and they have more all-round talent. Despite a high English Impact in this side, there is an inadequate track record of chasing and the lack of big match performers in this format is also a big problem for this side.

Highest Impact Player: Sunil Narine
Highest Impact Batsman: Ramnaresh Sarwan
Highest Impact Bowler: Sunil Narine

England are the dark horses in this tournament. Despite middling recent form (their loss to New Zealand at home, for example), they actually have the highest impact bowling in the tournament amongst all the squads primarily because of a propensity to take wickets. Their batting overall is middling but their predictably impressive impact in home conditions could have quite an impact in this edition.

Highest Impact Player: Steven Finn
Highest Impact Batsman: Jonathan Trott (Joe Root is higher, but only 10 matches)
Highest Impact Bowler: Steven Finn

New Zealand are not as strong as their 2011 World Cup team. Despite the ability to absorb pressure as a group ( Pressure Impact ) and score at a fair clip ( Strike Rate Impact ), their huge problem is quite simply their inability to score adequate runs as a unit ( Runs Tally Impact ).

Highest Impact Player: Brendon McCullum
Highest Impact Batsman: Ross Taylor
Highest Impact Bowler: Kyle Mills

Pakistan are not anywhere near as good an ODI side as they are a T20 team, despite some big names in the squad. There is a lot of new talent that is still finding its feet which is why they do not show up high on the Impact scales. Their batting is particularly shaky, and their bowling has not been very impressive in this format as well. Of course, being Pakistan, they will probably be very comfortable with being written off, so that they can confound everyone around them in style. As dark as dark horses can get, this is the perfect tournament format for them.

Highest Impact Player: Mohammed Hafeez
Highest Impact Batsman: Nasir Jamshed
Highest Impact Bowler: Saeed Ajmal

 

OBSERVATIONS:

1. Favourite teams for Semi-finals:

Australia (Team Impact 2.58)
India (2.41)
Sri Lanka (2.15)
South Africa (2.09)

Out of the 10 highest impact players in this tournament, India and Australia combined have 7 of them so their presence is completely expected here. Sri Lanka’s presence is a bit of a surprise but they have the second-highest number of big match players amongst all the teams in this tournament. The ODI record of their players in English conditions is also the second-highest amongst all the overseas teams in this tournament. If they play to potential, they can more than pack a punch. South Africa boast a strong side but lack in big-match players, it may come down to haunt them in the latter stages of the tournament as it has so many times in the past.

2. Dark Horse: England
With the advantage of home conditions, England have the strongest bowling line-up in this year’s tournament and may provide a surprise or two. Even though they have an enviable ODI record in home conditions for the past year or two, their recent series loss to New Zealand was a big setback. If they are to mount a serious title challenge, their batting needs to fall in shape quickly. Cook, Bell, Morgan and Trott are experienced campaigners but are still to hit their stride this season. If their batsmen can back up their brilliant bowling attack, this may be a side worth putting your money on (fittingly, betting is legal in England).

3. Team with propensity to score most runs: Australia
Hughes, Bailey, Watson, Clarke and Warner have a high runs tally impact . Together, this could be an important factor.

4. Team with a weakness in run-making: New Zealand
Barring Ross Taylor and Martin Guptill, the rest of the players in the batting line-up have a very poor runs tally impact .

5. Most attacking batting unit: South Africa
Amla, de Villiers, du Plessis, Miller and Duminy have a very high Strike Rate Impact . None of them except for Miller are conventional hitters in the ODI arena and their ability to keep the runs flowing without going for high risk shots is what separates them from the rest. If they get going, it could spell doom for many bowling line-ups.

6. Most sluggish batting unit: Pakistan
Nasir Jamshed is their highest Strike Rate Impact batsmen and three batsmen from their top 6 have a negative Strike Rate Impact . They seriously lack a big-hitter.

7. Team with ability to absorb maximum pressure while batting: New Zealand
Conditioned to batting collapses more often than not, it is interesting to note that the New Zealand batsmen have the highest Pressure Impact amongst all the teams (which is their tradition anyway). Munro, Elliot, Taylor and Williamson are the batsmen who lead this particular parameter.

8. Strongest chasing team: India
The best chaser in the history of ODI cricket is present in this team and it has been Virat Kohli who has more often than not set up India’s chases in the past. Apart from him, Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina are all outstanding in this regard.

9. Team most susceptible in a chase: Sri Lanka and West Indies
Both of them have the lowest Chasing Impact amongst all the teams in the tournament.

10. Highest wicket-taking team: England
They have an exceptional bowling attack and it is no surprise to see them topping this list as well. Tredwell, Finn, Broad and Anderson lead the side in this particular parameter.

11. Team with a wicket-taking problem: Pakistan 
Saeed Ajmal and Wahab Riaz are their best bowlers in this regard but apart from them they have a very new look pace bowling attack and none of them have considerable ODI experience under their belt. Their bowling attack is a bit of an unknown mystery as they have 4 bowlers who have played less than 30 matches (2 are yet to debut).

12. Most economical bowling unit: New Zealand
Daniel Vettori, Mitchell McClenaghan and Kyle Mills constitute high impact on this count for their team.

13. Most uneconomical bowling unit: West Indies
Apart from Narine and Sammy to a certain extent, none of their bowlers have a high Economy Impact and it could be a genuine weakness for them.

14. Most mercurial side/s (high failure rates): South Africa
Consistency is an issue for South Africa and even though they have a lot of high impact players in their side, this could be their Achilles heel in this tournament. One major reason for their inconsistency can also be attributed to them having no proper all-rounders in their squad as the chances of a team failing collectively is very high when it is filled with single-skilled players.

15. Most imbalanced side: New Zealand (bowling far stronger than batting)
Their bowling is more or less assured but their batting is very iffy, if their batsmen can deliver above their potential like they did in the ODI series against England, they can be a dangerous unit.

16. Most number of big-match performers in a side: India
MS Dhoni leads the count with 8 series-defining performances followed by Irfan Pathan who has 3. Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja have 2 series-defining performances each. If India play to their potential and reach the semis, their big-match performances can give them a huge advantage.

Which is what this is all about eventually which teams can play to the potential depicted above via their Impact numbers, without accounting for injuries and form. Or which team can surpass theirs maybe this tournament is made for those kind of performances.

 

Jaideep Varma
Soham Sarkhel