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T20 Cricket - A Few Thoughts

James Faulkner's Hitting

During the strategic timeout in the Rising Pune Supergiants against Gujarat Lions, the pundits were discussing potential changes for the Gujarat Lions and, in particular, the option of James Faulkner. One of the benefits of Faulkner was supposedly that he is 'capable of hitting big shots in the middle order'.

While there are a number of areas that James Faulkner is strong in, big hitting is certainly not one of those. Indeed, of all the players that have scored at least 1000 runs in T20 cricket, James Faulkner actually requires the most balls per boundary hit. Faulkner is elite at avoiding dot balls and rotating the strike, but hitting boundaries is really not his strong point. Just as knowledge of exactly how some players play does not appear to be the strong point of certain pundits.

Keeping Wickets in Hand

We always hear commentators talking about how teams should not take risks early on in order to keep wickets in hand for later in the innings. However, how much does keeping wickets in hand actually help?

The chart shows the number of runs scored in the final 5 overs of a T20 innings based on the number of wickets that have fallen by the start of this period. As we can see, each extra wicket in hand is generally worth around an additional 2 runs during the final 5 overs, although this does drop off dramatically if you have lost most of your wickets, but this is hardly a surprise. In reality, it seems that conserving wickets at the expense of scoring runs earlier might not necessarily be the best plan.

Use of Jason Roy

There were a few raised eyebrows at Jason Roy being brought in way down the order at #6 for the Gujarat Lions against the Mumbai Indians. Whilst it is understandable having Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum opening the batting, particularly given their long history of opening together for the Chennai Super Kings, it was a strange decision to not bring him in at the fall of the opening wicket.

Jason Roy is a player that scores 45.0% of his runs from fours, whilst not necessarily being a big six hitter. This is one reason why he is a very strong player in the powerplay overs, where there are limited players allowed outside the circle, and he is able to pick the gaps well and pick up the fours. Outside of the powerplay, there are less gaps to find those boundaries. We can see in his stats that during the powerplay, he hits a four every 5.07 balls compared to every 11.1 balls outside of the powerplay.

Jason Roy has a strike rate of 147.3 during the powerplay compared with 142.6 outside of it. In contrast, Suresh Raina, who came in at the fall of the opening wicket, has a strike rate of 127.0 during the powerplay compared to 139.1 outside of it. So, Gujarat effectively brought in a player that scores better once the fielding restrictions are relaxed during the powerplay, rather than a player that thrives under those conditions.


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