ODI WC: Spinners dominate initial stage of tournament

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | October 17, 2023 IST

Ravindra Jadeja

New Delhi, Oct 17: If there’s one theme which stands out from the initial stage of the 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup, it is spinners emerging as a crucial test for teams to pass if they were to win matches in the tournament and keep themselves in the reckoning for the knockouts.

As per the data from 15 matches of the tournament given to IANS by Cricviz, the official analytics provider of the World Cup, some patterns emerge: off-spin and orthodox spin are ruling the roost, followed by leg-spin and unorthodox spin.

If by 2020, wrwrist spinnersere calling the shots in ODIs, then the 2023 World Cup has seen off-spin and orthodox spin come back into the picture and take major space in it.

Till now, off-spinners have taken 27 wickets at an average of 39.22, with a strike-rate of 42.6 and an economy rate of 5.51 and a dot-ball percentage of 47.5%. On the other hand, orthodox spinners have taken 29 wickets at an average of 34.93, with a strike-rate of 40.4 and an economy rate of 5.18, plus a dot-ball percentage of 48.7.

Compared to this, leg-spinners have fetched 18 wickets, at an average of 36.61, with a strike-rate of 39.1 and an economy rate of 5.6, with their dot-ball percentage being 43.2. Talking of unorthodox spin, a rare breed, they have taken seven wickets at an average of 22.14, with a strike-rate of 32.4 and economy rate of 4.09, with their dot-ball percentage at 56.3.

The better results for off-spin and orthodox bowlers also reflect in the list of leading wicket-takers in the World Cup: New Zealand’s Mitchell Santer, a left-arm orthodox spinner, is the joint leading wicket-taker with eight scalps, followed by fellow spinner, India’s Ravindra Jadeja at five scalps and left-arm unorthodox spinner Kuldeep Yadav taking the same number of wickets.

New Zealand have paired up Santner with left-arm spin all-rounder Rachin Ravindra and part-time off-spin of Glenn Phillips. India have majorly used Jadeja and Kuldeep, with ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin making a last-minute entry, while the Netherlands have also used off-break bowler Aryan Dutt over leg-spinner Shariz Ahmad.

In the first week of the competition, pitches were more on the drier side in the first innings, resulting in spinners getting a lot of wickets in that phase of the game. By the time, the second innings arrived, it became easy to chase under lights. For example, in the tournament opener at Ahmedabad, New Zealand’s spinners got five wickets in the first innings and didn’t give any wickets to England’s spin attack in a comfortable run chase.

In a day game at Dharamshala, Bangladesh’s spinners took six Afghanistan wickets and chased down the low total easily. In the day-night game in Chennai, India’s spin trio of Jadeja, Kuldeep and Ashwin took six wickets collectively in the first innings and despite being reduced to 2-3, the hosts completed the chase, as Australia’s spinners couldn’t take a single wicket.

The script began to change in the second innings for spinners when Santner took a five-wicket haul to lead New Zealand to a 99-run win over Netherlands. More recently, in New Delhi, Afghanistan’s spin trio of Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi took eight wickets collectively, as compared to five scalps by England’s spinners, to script an improbable 69-run win.

It also helped that the pitch became slower to bat in the second innings, offering turn, bounce and grip for Afghanistan’s spinners in New Delhi and dew didn’t play much of a role too, apart from Rashid, Nabi and Mujeeb having plenty of experience of bowling on Indian pitches due to IPL, as well as Lucknow, Greater Noida and Dehradun being Afghanistan’s previous home venues.

With venues like Pune, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru set to host league stage matches as the competition progresses, expect the spinners to continue their good showing in the World Cup and continue challenging the teams in the competition. (IANS)

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