Monday, 28 March 2011

Head vs heart

People have asked me who I'm backing in the New Zealand semi-final match. Unfortunately my head is going against my heart on this one.

I've got a couple of statistical explainations for your geeky perusal.

I made a bit of a fool of myself in a discussion recently saying that it would be stupid to bat first in Colombo in a day/night game, because the dew makes it very difficult to bowl in the second innings. While it might make it more difficult to bowl, Premadassa is one of only three grounds in the world where we can be statistically confident that it is better to bat first. (The other two are Newlands and Sydeny, interestingly all are at sea level). So there is actually a significant advantage to any team batting first in Colombo.

The historical statistics are not good for New Zealand. Over the past 5 years only India have tormented New Zealand more than Sri Lanka, with New Zealand wining 3 and losing 8. Likewise of the test playing nations, only Bangladesh and Zimbabwe have a worse record against Sri Lanka than New Zealand.

Sri Lanka also have a better record in semi-finals as well. New Zealand have won just 2 of 12 semi finals, while Sri Lanka have won 3 of 8. (this includes all tournaments that have semi-finals, not just world cups). Only South Africa and Kenya have a worse record than New Zealand.

Also, while teams from Asia have only won 44% of matches against non-asian opponents outside Asia in the last 5 years, they have won about 60% of the equivalent matches in Asia. (hence it's not really surprising that all 3 top teams have made the semi-finals.

Oh and also 5 of Sri Lanka's 6 bowlers have averaged under 21 against New Zealand over the last 5 years, with only Mendis (43.00 at 4.03 rpo) dragging the chain.

So those are some of the reasons that my head is disagreeing with my heart as to what is going to happen in the first semi-final.

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