In their last 193 matches that ended in a result, Bangladesh have taken 116 run outs. In the matches where they haven't taken a run out they have won just over a quarter, 25.9%. In the matches where they have taken at least one run out they have won just under half, 48.2%.
A similar (but not so dramatic) difference is true for most teams. Here are the winning percentages from the last 200 matches for each team (I've excluded Zimbabwe as they have not played sufficient matches against reasonable opposition recently):
|Team||No run outs||With run outs||Improvement|
It is fairly clear that run outs make a significant difference to a teams winning percentage. Only Bangladesh and West Indies have losing records if they manage a run out, and then it's only by a couple of matches.
The surprising exceptions here are South Africa and Australia. South Africa are the team most likely to run someone out, taking .78 run outs per match, but they actually do better when they don't manage to run anyone out than when they do. There are a couple of possible reasons for this. Run-outs are often a result of pressure, and so when a team is under pressure they are more likely to get run out. However, if a team has a reputation as being very good at fielding, then teams take less risks. Taking less risks results in less runs. It may be that the times that South Africa don't get run outs is when their opponents are not taking risks, and as a result they are scoring less anyway.
Breaking the numbers down further, it is interesting to see how they work in more detail.
Here are the winning percentages by number of run outs. This covers 1634 completed innings, but there were very few innings with 3 or 4 run outs, so the numbers are less reliable for those two categories (4 run outs have occurred only 6 times in this time period.)
|Team||0 run outs||1 run out||2 run outs||3 run outs||4 run outs|
If we look at the overall rate, we can get an idea as to what a run out is worth. Every run out roughly adds 8% to the winning percentage.
However this does not adequately explain the data, as there is a big fluctuation between the better teams and the worse teams. A better option is to look at the losing percentage. It turns out that every run-out reduces the chance of losing by 19%. For example Pakistan lose 51% of their matches when they have no run outs. If they have 1 run out that is reduced by 19% to 41.3%, so we expect them to win 58.7%. If we look at the table above they actually win 58.1% which is remarkably close.
This is nice, but what does it actually mean in a game situation?
This sort of skill is as likely to turn a game as bowling a wicket maiden or hitting a quickfire cameo is, and as such it is something that captains and fielders need to think about, and plan for.