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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Top-order batting gives Sri Lanka an edge

Pakistan v Sri Lanka, ICC World Twenty20 final, Lord's

Top-order batting gives Sri Lanka an edge

Cricinfo looks at the important numbers ahead of the ICC World Twenty20 final

June 20, 2009

The path to the final has been quite a contrast for the two teams, with Sri Lanka winning six in a row and Pakistan losing two along the way, but none of that will matter when the two teams clash for the title in the 2009 ICC World Twenty20 final at Lord's on Sunday. Cricinfo looks at the important numbers ahead of that final.

The overall numbers

Sri Lanka have been consistency personified in the tournament so far, winning all six games, and are only another victory away from equalling South Africa's record of seven wins in a row. Standing in their way, though, is a resurgent Pakistan outfit, who have shrugged off two defeats early in the tournament, and were particularly impressive in their semi-final win against South Africa.

The form book still favours Sri Lanka, but not by much. They have been the better team with the bat so far, with a higher average and run rate, while there's little to choose between the bowling efforts of the two teams. Sri Lanka have taken 50 wickets so far - the highest by any team in the tournament - while Pakistan are second-best with 46, but there's hardly any difference between the bowling averages and the economy rates of the two teams.

Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the tournament so far
TeamBat averageRun rateBowl averageEcon rateDiff in aveDiff in R rate
Sri Lanka27.488.0816.267.0911.220.99

The first six overs

Thanks largely to Tillakaratne Dilshan, Sri Lanka are clearly the better batting team at the start of the innings, scoring plenty of runs, and doing so without losing too many wickets. Dilshan has scored 317 runs so far - the highest in the tournament - of which 156 have come in the first six overs. He has only been dismissed once during this period, which gives him a fantastic average of 156, at a strike rate of 9.73 runs per over during the Powerplay overs. In comparison, Sanath Jayasuriya has a strike rate of 6.70 in the first six. Dilshan has hammered 25 fours in the 90 balls he has faced in the Powerplays, and how Pakistan control him early in the innings could have a huge bearing on Sunday's result.

Pakistan, on the other hand, have been sluggish at the start, averaging only 7.38 runs per over in the first six, which is less than the rate at which they have conceded runs during this period. As the table below indicates, Sri Lanka have generally taken the initiative at the start, while Pakistan have relied on fightbacks in the later overs to make up for lost ground in the early part of the innings.

Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the first six overs
TeamBat averageRun rateBowl averageEcon rateDiff in aveDiff in r rate
Sri Lanka63.208.7723.727.2539.481.52

The middle eight overs (7-14)

This is where Pakistan have generally begun their fightback. The batting has been solid, while the bowlers have taken 18 wickets, the highest by any team during the middle overs. Sri Lanka's bowlers have been effective too, with 15 wickets at an excellent economy rate, but their batsmen have tended to lose the momentum of the early overs, averaging less than seven runs per over.

Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the middle eight overs
TeamBat averageRun rateBowl averageEcon rateDiff in aveDiff in r rate
Sri Lanka27.756.9319.266.028.490.91

The last six overs

Pakistan have been outstanding with the ball during this period, taking 20 wickets at an exceptional economy rate of less than seven runs per over. Sri Lanka have taken more wickets during this period - 24 - but they've also gone at more than eight-and-a-half per over. Both teams have had exceptional bowlers to handle the final overs: Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal and Lasith Malinga have all taken eight wickets at sub-ten averages and excellent economy rates (5.25 for Ajmal, 5.55 for Gul, and 7.44 for Malinga).

Sri Lanka have been the better team, though, averaging almost one run more per over (8.94 to 7.96).

Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the last six overs
TeamBat averageRun rateBowl averageEcon rateDiff in aveDiff in r rate
Sri Lanka17.388.9410.958.576.430.37

Partnership stats

The table below again illustrates how important the opening partnership has been for Sri Lanka: they've scored 300 runs at an average of 50 and a rate of 8.57 per over, which is far superior to Pakistan's effort at the top of the order. Pakistan's best efforts have been for the second and fourth wickets, while Sri Lanka have slipped up slightly during these periods. Overall, though, Sri Lanka have had far more meaningful partnerships than Pakistan - seven half-century and one century stand for the Lankans, compared to just three fifty partnerships for Pakistan.

Wicket-wise partnerships for Pakistan and Sri Lanka
WicketPak - ave standRun rate100s/ 50sSL - ave standRun rate100s/ 50s
First22.167.180/ 050.008.571/ 2
Second31.668.440/ 021.507.160/ 1
Third18.336.600/ 132.007.430/ 2
Fourth39.167.870/ 227.838.350/ 2
Fifth24.007.020/ 020.008.450/ 0
Sixth22.007.540/ 028.009.330/ 0

Run-scoring patterns

Contrary to what one might expect, Pakistan have played out fewer dot balls, taken more singles, twos and threes, and hit fewer boundaries. Sri Lanka have struck 107 fours to 69 for Pakistan, though Pakistan are slightly ahead in the sixes tally (17 to 14). Dilshan alone has smashed 46 fours, the highest in the tournament - Jacques Kallis, in second place, has 28.

How Pakistan and Sri Lanka have scored their runs
TeamDot ballsPercentage1s, 2s, 3sPercentage4s & 6sPercentage
Sri Lanka27238.0932144.9612116.95

Sri Lanka have also bowled more dot balls at their opponents, though Pakistan have been more stingy in terms of conceding boundaries.

How Pakistan and Sri Lanka have conceded their runs
TeamDot ballsPercentage1s, 2s, 3sPercentage4s & 6sPercentage
Sri Lanka30544.3329142.309113.23

The extras factor

Pakistan have bowled eight no-balls to just three by Sri Lanka, with Gul and Sohail Tanvir each contributing three. Sri Lanka have been guilty of conceding more wides, though - 28, to 24 by Pakistan. Malinga leads the tally with 12, while Isuru Udana and Gul have bowled seven each.

Bat first or field first?

Both teams have shown a clear preference for batting first and then putting the pressure on the opposition with their incisive bowling attacks. Five out of Sri Lanka's six wins have come when batting first (the only exception was against Australia, when they chased down 160), while Pakistan have won every time they have batted first. Of the three occasions when they have batted second, they have lost twice, with the only win coming against New Zealand. Given that it'll be a high-pressure game on Sunday, it's almost certain the team winning the toss will choose to bat first.


Pakistan and Sri Lanka have played each other four times in Twenty20 internationals, and each team has won twice. This includes a meeting in a final, of a four-nation tournament in Canada, which Sri Lanka won by five wickets.