Archive for cricket

Par scores in T20 cricket

Posted in Cricket with tags , , on July 26, 2017 by telescoper

So last night Glamorgan won a Natwest T20 Blast match against Gloucestershire by 25 runs having batted first and scored 176 off their 20 overs. Glamorgan are now top of the `South Division’, despite having three games rained off. They play second-placed Surrey on Friday. Weather permitting.

Anyhow, last night when I saw the result I got to wondering what the par score is for a first innings in Twenty20 (i.e. median score for a winning side batting first).  Would you have expected them to win with a score of 176? The answer – and the answers to many other questions – can be found in this interesting post.

P.S. If you can’t be bothered to read the post, the median winning score for men’s T20 matches is about 164 so Glamorgan had a better-than-even chance of winning after their first innings.

Strike Rate

I haven’t blogged for the last two weeks – partly because life has been busy, but also because I’ve struggled to come up with anything to say that provides particular insights about individual BBL or WBBL matches that are being played. I will return to this, and will continue to post key stats about various matches on the Strike Rate twitter account.

In this post, I’m posting my analysis of ‘par scores’ for T20, and how they vary between the men’s and women’s game, and in different parts of the world. This is useful for understanding what sort of score can be expected in particular conditions.

Par scores are calculated as run rates, which can be converted into total scores by multiplying by 20. This is more useful than raw total scores, since not all innings last for the full 20 overs. When a team wins in the second innings…

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Farewell, Captain Cook

Posted in Cricket with tags , , on February 6, 2017 by telescoper

So Alastair Cook has resigned from his post as Captain of the England (and Wales) Cricket team, having been skipper for 59 test matches since 2012. After their drubbing in India this is hardly surprising, but I hope he finds his form and continues as an opening batsman. He’s only 32 so should have a few more years in him.

When he started as captain I felt that he was far too cautious, something perhaps he inherited from his predecessor Andrew Strauss. I think he got marginally better as time went by, but I always felt he didn’t have sufficient presence on the field to be a great team leader and too often let things drift when England were fielding. Anyway, I don’t want to be too harsh – he did lead England to two Ashes victories!

Farewell, then, Alastair Cook. But who should take his place? Is it the youngster, Joe Root? Or should Geoffrey Boycott come out of retirement to wield his stick of rhubarb in the corridor of uncertainty once more?

End of Summer, Start of Autumn

Posted in Biographical, Cricket with tags , , , on September 22, 2016 by telescoper

It’s a lovely warm sunny day in Cardiff today, but it is nevertheless the end of summer. The autumnal equinox came and went today (22nd September) at 14.21 Universal Time (that’s 15.21 British Summer Time), so from now on it’s all downhill (in that the Subsolar point has just crossed the equator on the southward journey it began at the Summer Solstice).

Many people adopt the autumnal equinox as the official start of autumn, but I go for an alternative criterion: summer is over when the County Championship is over. It turns out that, at least for Glamorgan, that coincided very closely to the equinox. Having bowled out Leicestershire for a paltry 96 at Grace Road in the first innings of their final Division 2 match, they went on to establish a handy first-innings lead of 103. They were then set a modest second-innings target of 181 to win. Unfortunately, their batting frailties were once again cruelly exposed and they collapsed from 144 for 4 to 154 all out and lost by 26 runs. That abject batting display sums up their season really.

Meanwhile, in Division 1 of the Championship, Middlesex are playing Yorkshire at Lord’s, a match whose outcome will determine who wins the Championship. Middlesex only need to draw to be champions, but as I write they’ve just lost an early wicket in their second innings, with Yorkshire having a first-innings lead of 120, so it’s by no means out of the question that Yorkshire might win and be champions again.

Another sign that summer is over is that the new cohort of students has arrived. This being “Freshers’ Week” there have been numerous events arranged to introduce them to various aspects of university life. Lectures proper being in Monday, when the Autumn Semester begins in earnest. I don’t have any teaching until the Spring.

This time of year always reminds me when I left home to go to University, as thousands of fledgling students have just done. I went through this rite of passage 34 years ago, getting on a train at Newcastle Central station with my bags of books and clothes. I said goodbye to my parents there. There was never any question of them taking me in the car all the way to Cambridge. It wasn’t practical and I wouldn’t have wanted them to do it anyway. After changing from the Inter City at Peterborough onto a local train, me and my luggage trundled through the flatness of East Anglia until it reached Cambridge.

I don’t remember much about the actual journey, but I must have felt a mixture of fear and excitement. Nobody in my family had ever been to University before, let alone to Cambridge. Come to think of it, nobody from my family has done so since either. I was a bit worried about whether the course I would take in Natural Sciences would turn out to be very difficult, but I think my main concern was how I would fit in generally.

I had been working between leaving school and starting my undergraduate course, so I had some money in the bank and I was also to receive a full grant. I wasn’t really worried about cash. But I hadn’t come from a posh family and didn’t really know the form. I didn’t have much experience of life outside the North East either. I’d been to London only once before going to Cambridge, and had never been abroad.

I didn’t have any posh clothes, a deficiency I thought would mark me as an outsider. I had always been grateful for having to wear a school uniform (which was bought with vouchers from the Council) because it meant that I dressed the same as the other kids at School, most of whom came from much wealthier families. But this turned out not to matter at all. Regardless of their family background, students were generally a mixture of shabby and fashionable, like they are today. Physics students in particular didn’t even bother with the fashionable bit. Although I didn’t have a proper dinner jacket for the Matriculation Dinner, held for all the new undergraduates, nobody said anything about my dark suit which I was told would be acceptable as long as it was a “lounge suit”. Whatever that is.

Taking a taxi from Cambridge station, I finally arrived at Magdalene College. I waited outside, a bundle of nerves, before entering the Porter’s Lodge and starting my life as a student. My name was found and ticked off and a key issued for my room in the Lutyens building. It turned out to be a large room, with a kind of screen that could be pulled across to divide the room into two, although I never actually used this contraption. There was a single bed and a kind of cupboard containing a sink and a mirror in the bit that could be hidden by the screen. The rest of the room contained a sofa, a table, a desk, and various chairs, all of them quite old but solidly made. Outside my  room, on the landing, was the gyp room, a kind of small kitchen, where I was to make countless cups of tea over the following months, although I never actually cooked anything there.

I struggled in with my bags and sat on the bed. It wasn’t at all like I had imagined. I realised that no amount of imagining would ever really have prepared me for what was going to happen at University.

I  stared at my luggage. I suddenly felt like I had landed on a strange island, and couldn’t remember why I had gone there or what I was supposed to be doing.

After 34 years you get used to that feeling…

 

Sussex versus Glamorgan

Posted in Biographical, Cricket with tags , , , on July 29, 2016 by telescoper

It was an interesting coincidence that, last night, on the eve of my last day working at the University of Sussex before moving to Cardiff University, there was a game of cricket between Sussex and Glamorgan at the County Ground in Hove. Naturally I decided to go along and was fortunate to have Dorothy Lamb along for company. To be precise this wasn’t “proper cricket”, but a Natwest T20 “Blast”. Unfortunately the weather dampened the squib considerably. Yesterday’s weather forecast predicted rain in the afternoon clearing by the time the game started (at 18.30), but when we got to the ground it was still drizzling:

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After a lot of faffing about play did actually get under way at about 19.50, the match to be reduced to 14 overs a side because of the late start.

Cricket_2You can see the full scorecard here. Glamorgan batted first, struggling right from the start despite some wayward bowling from Sussex.  Having been 62 for 8 at one point they were probably relieved to get into three figures, though they only just managed this: they were all out for 101 in the last over. Sussex batted and got off to a much better start, but then the rain came back so they went off. They then came back again but only one ball was beowled before the rain (which was really just drizzle) started again so they went off again. And so on. In the end only four overs and one ball were possible before the rain came back for good and the match was abandoned with no result. The upshot of this was that Glamorgan qualified for the Quarter Finals and Sussex didn’t. Glamorgan were lucky. Sussex were 30-1 when play was halted but a minimum of five overs have to be bowled for a result to be declared. A few minutes more play and Sussex would almost certainly have won. Such is life.

 

Moeen, Man of the Match

Posted in Cricket with tags , , , on December 30, 2015 by telescoper

He may not have won this year’s Beard of the Year award but Moeen Ali did his best to compensate this morning by taking three quick wickets as England bowled out South Africa to win the First Test in Durban by the impressive margin of 241 runs.

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With overall figures of 7 for 116 including the key wicket of AB De Villiers early on this morning, he thoroughly deserved his Man Of The Match award. Beard power strikes again!

South Africa had been set a total of  416 with a day and a half to play (140 overs). Some were arguing that Cook should have declared but I think he was right in batting on. I said so on Twitter and my comment made it onto the bbc Web feed

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I felt an earlier declaration would have been reckless and unnecessary: There was plenty of time to bowl out South Africa on a turning wicket so why give them even a sniff of victory?

As it turned out there was no declaration anyway: England were all out for 326 in their second innings. South Africa batted well to start with, scoring steadily at five an over, but lost key wickets to close on 136-4 last night. Had they been able to bat all the last  day they would not only have saved the game but have had a chance if winning it, but once De Villiers was out, in Moeen’s first over, South Africa were doomed.

Well played Moeen and the rest of the England team!

R.I.P. Brian Close

Posted in Cricket with tags , , on September 14, 2015 by telescoper

I heard today of the death, at the age of 84, of former Yorkshire and England cricketer Brian Close. Close was an abrasive character whose personality made him more than a few enemies, but he had a very successful playing career and was a tough but effective captain both on the field an in the dressing room. Above all, he was an exceptionally brave batsman. I can think of no better example than this video of him facing Michael Holding (“Whispering Death”) at Old Trafford in 1976. He struggles to lay bat on ball and is hit several times on the body but he always gets into line. This is from an era in which batsmen didn’t wear head protection; this nearly cost him serious injury, as you will see in the clip. Even with a helmet I would have been terrified. Cricket is not a game for faint hearts…

At the age of 45 Brian Close had been brought in to open the England batting earlier in the series in an attempt to stiffen their resistance to the West Indian attack. He wasn’t the greatest player in the world nor the cricketing world’s most agreeable character, and as you can tell he wasn’t in the first flush of youth in 1976 either, but there is no denying his courage and determination. Here he is enduring a vicious battering at the hands of Michael Holding. One short-pitched delivery in this sequence came within a whisker of hitting him on the head; had it done so the consequences would have been horrendous. As it was, he “only” had to take a succession of blows to his body. He scored 20 runs at Old Trafford, off 108 balls in 162 minutes, and was dropped for the next Test, as was his opening partner John Edrich, although both had stood their ground and defended their wickets (and themselves) manfully.

R.I.P. Brian Close (1931-2015)

The Ashes Regained!

Posted in Cricket, Poetry with tags , , , on August 8, 2015 by telescoper

Well, there you have it. England’s cricketers have won the Fourth Test of the Ashes series at Trent Bridge (in the Midlands) by an innings and 78 runs, to take an unassailable 3-1 lead with one game to play. When I settled down to watch the opening overs of the opening match in Cardiff I really did not think England had any chance of winning the series, and even after England won in Cardiff I felt that the Australians would come back strongly. That horrible defeat at Lord’s in the Second Test confirmed that opinion, but emphatic victories in the Third and Fourth Test have proved me wrong. The amazing first day at Trent Bridge, during which Australia were all out for a meagre total of 60 with Broad taking 8-15,  made an England victory and the Ashes virtually certain. It all just proves how little I know about cricket.

At one point it looked like the game would be wrapped up yesterday, inside two days, but Adam Voges and the remaining Australian tailenders clung on doggedly in the fading light of yesterday evening to end the day on 241-7 in response to England’s first innings total of 391-9 declared. The main question this morning was whether they could accumulate the 90 runs needed to make England bat again.

As it happened, neither Starc nor Hazlewood nor Lyon could cope with the swing of Wood and Stokes. Hazlewood in particular led a charmed life for 10 deliveries, during which he never really looked like putting bat to ball, before finally losing his middle stump to Wood. Moments later, Lyon fell in the same manner. In some ways it’s cruel sport when bowlers have to bat in a futile attempt to save a game that’s lost, but the end was mercifully swift.

Nevill battled well to end on 51 not out, but he might have tried a bit harder to protect his tailenders. No doubt he was hoping a not out score would improve his chances of continued selection.

Commiserations to Australian cricket fans. Their team just wasn’t as good as England, with bat or ball. They have a lot of rebuilding to do, and I think it won’t just be the Captain Michael Clarke who won’t be playing another Ashes series, but you can be sure they’ll be back challenging for the Ashes again before long.

And as for England, there are some interesting questions about the next Test at the Oval. Will Jimmy Anderson return, or should England rest him even if he is fit? Does Adam Lyth get another chance to establish hismelf with the pressure off, or do England try to blood another opener? And although Moeen Ali  is an excellent find as a batting all-rounder, he’s not the kind of bowler that’s likely to bowl a team out at Test level. Can we find a world-class spinner to balance the attack? Answers on a postcard, please.

It’s been an extraordinary series so far, consisting of four relatively one-sided matches (three to England and one to Australia). A far cry from the brilliant Ashes series of 2005 which had so many close games, so I guess it’s not been such a great series for the neutral. But then I’m not neutral, so I don’t mind at all..