Data of the past 12 editions of the ODI Cricket World Cups indicates that more matches were won by bigger margins & more deliveries to spare in the recent world cups. However, many records are set to be broken during the ongoing 2023 edition of the 13th CWC.
The ongoing 13th International Cricket Council (ICC) One Day International (ODI) Cricket World Cup (CWC) hosted by India is continuing to record heavy run-scoring across different teams and venues with soaring run rates. Of the 37 league matches that have so far been played, a staggering 13 matches have witnessed scores of over 300, with even the scores of 428, 401, and 399, 388, 383, among others. Thus, an average of one 300-plus score is being scored every three matches. Notable among these is the 8th match played between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, which witnessed both sides scoring over 300 runs. In the same match, the Pakistan team created history by chasing 345 runs against Sri Lanka, the highest-ever chase recorded in the history of CWCs. This was almost broken in the 27th match by New Zealand against Australia, where they lost by meagre 5 runs chasing a steep target of 389.
At the same time, there have also been some matches where low scores have been registered in the ongoing CWC. Teams like England, Netherlands, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh have registered scores below 200 in different matches, with even scores of 55, 83, and 90. The 2019 CWC champion England tops this list of low scores with 170, 156, and 129. There have also been matches where teams such as India, New Zealand, Australia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan batting second have won with about 15 overs to spare.
In this context, we look at the history of CWCs and the phenomenon of higher scoring rates and higher margins of victories across different editions of the CWC by teams batting first and second.
The data has been sourced from Dataful, which has compiled the dataset on all the matches played in CWCs with the scores, wickets, teams, winners, and other aspects. The data is used to calculate the run rates of teams that have batted first, second, and overall run rates.
2015 and 2019 CWCs Registered Highest Run Rates (up to the last 2019 CWC)
Out of the 454 matches that have been played across 12 CWCs held so far (up to 2019), a total of 234 matches have been won by teams batting first and 198 by teams batting second. Out of the remaining 22 matches, 4 matches were walkover wins and the 18 matches were either tied, abandoned, or have seen no results.
The lowest and highest run rates across different world cups of the teams that won batting first and second have ranged from 3.3 to 5.4 runs per over, and 3.4 to 5.1 runs per over, respectively. Notably, both the higher run rates of teams batting first and second were witnessed during the 2015 and 2019 CWCs. While the 2019 CWC was held in England, the 2015 CWC was held in Australia and New Zealand in 2019. These countries are known to offer more swing, and bounce and contain bigger grounds (those in Australia). Thus, they make it comparatively harder to score more runs. However, these are the venues that have higher run rates. Interestingly, the lowest ever run rates of 3.3 and 3.4 were registered in the 1979 CWC, which was held in England.
India Registered Highest Run Rate in the 2011 CWC before the ongoing 2023 edition
4 out of the 13 CWCs so far (including the 2023 edition) were hosted by India, along with other Asian Countries. While the 1987, 1996, and 2011 CWCs were jointly hosted by India with Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, the ongoing 13th CWC is hosted by it exclusively. In the 12 CWCs till 2019, India’s overall run rate, either batting first or second, varied from 3. 13 to 5.77 runs per over across CWCs. Whereas the overall run rate of all the teams, including India, varied from 3.3 to 5.3 across CWCs.
From the 3 CWCs that were previously held in the subcontinent, either in India or other Asian countries, the batting run rates registered by India present an interesting phenomenon. The overall run rate of India in 1987, 1996, and 2011 CWCs was 5.24, 4.66, and 5.77, respectively. Thus, the lowest run rates registered among CWCs held in India were during the 1996 CWC and not during 1987. However, in the same 1996 CWC, India’s overall run rate was 4.66, greater than the overall run rate of all the countries combined.
The highest run rate of India across all the 12 CWCs held so far was registered in 2011 with 5.77 runs per over. Its run rates in the 2015 and 2019 CWCs have stood at 5.76 and 5.71, respectively, marginally short of this 2011 CWC run rate. However, in the ongoing 13th CWC, India has been scoring at an average of 6.14 runs per over in the 8 matches it has played so far, registering over 6 runs per over in 5 of the matches. In the context of many matches resulting in higher scores, India could very well beat its own 2011 CWC record in the overall run rates registered across CWCs. Perhaps, it may be the same with some of the other countries playing in the ongoing 13th CWC.
Australia Dominates in Victories with Higher Margins in CWCs
Out of the 198 matches won by teams batting second, there were 15 and 53 matches where the chasing teams won with more than 200 and 100 deliveries remaining, respectively. The run rate of chasing teams in these matches ranged from 3.28 to 10.14. The highest run rate of 10.14 was witnessed in the 2015 World Cup by New Zealand against England. The highest among the teams with a greater number of deliveries left after chasing the target was England in the 1979 World Cup (60 over format) against Canada.
The notable feature among matches that have been won with over 200 deliveries is that they are all won by teams such as West Indies, Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, England, and South Africa, which have won 4, 3, 3, 2, 2 and 1 times, respectively, across the CWCs. Except for Sri Lanka, none of the Asian teams, including India, feature among these teams that won with more than 200 deliveries to spare up to the 2019 CWC.
Victory by more than 100 & 200 Runs more Frequently in the Recent CWCs
Further, out of the 234 matches that have been won by teams batting first up to the 2019 CWC, the margins of victory varied from 1 run to 275 runs with the variation in run rate from 2.68 to 8.34. Out of these, 70 and 16 matches have been won with the margin of victory being over 100 and 200 runs respectively with the variation in run rate being 4.12 to 8.34 and 5.57 to 8.34, respectively. Australia stands as the top team across World Cups with the highest victory margin in terms of runs. Yet again, the record was registered during the 2015 World Cup, where Australia defeated Afghanistan by 275 runs. Australia broke its own record in the ongoing 2023 CWC where they defeated Netherlands by 309 runs. This was the first time in CWC history that the victory was with more than 300 runs.
Even here, the teams that have won by over 200 runs have been major cricketing teams such as South Africa, Australia, England, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and India. While India, Pakistan, England, and the West Indies have only won once with such a margin, Sri Lanka has won twice. South Africa and Australia have won 5 times each by more than 200 runs. Thus, out of the 16 CWC matches that were won with over 200 runs margin, Asian teams feature only 4 times among the winners. India’s solitary entry into the list is from the 2007 World Cup where it won against Bermuda by 257 runs. It was the second highest among the teams with over 200 runs victory in CWCs till 2019. In the ongoing 13th CWC, India broke its own record by defeating Sri Lanka by 302 runs. This is the second highest in terms of defeating the opposition with a higher margin of runs.
The data indicates that the Australian team stands dominant across CWCs, either batting first or second, both in terms of victories with number of deliveries left and margin of victory (runs). This is perhaps the reason for Australia being the winner of five World Cups, the most for any team.
Asian Teams Top the Highest Run Chases in CWCs
21 matches in the history of CWC have resulted in a run rate of over 7 till the 2019 edition. Of these, the teams batting first have registered less than 200 runs in 16 matches. Interestingly, all these matches have been won by teams batting second. The striking victory among these was the victory of Bangladesh against West Indies in the last 2019 World Cup held in England. In the same World Cup, Bangladesh had chased 322 runs target set by West Indies at a rate of 7.76 runs per over with 51 balls and 7 wickets remaining. This was the second-highest-ever chase in CWC history with the first being Ireland. Ireland had chased 328 runs set by England in the 2011 World Cup at 6.69 runs per over. This record now stands broken by Pakistan in the ongoing 13th World Cup. Pakistan may also have registered yet another highest run chase in the CWC history in its last match played against New Zealand. In the same match, chasing the target of 402 runs, Pakistan stood at 200 runs for the loss of one ticket after 25.3 overs. Due to the interruption by rain, Pakistan was declared the winner by D/L method.
The data of the previous 12 CWCs shows that out of the top five chases in the CWC where over 300 runs were successfully chased, four of them were by Asian teams. While Pakistan and Sri Lanka have featured once each, Bangladesh has done it twice against West Indies and Scotland and the 2019 and 2015 World Cups, respectively. India does not feature among these victories.
In the context of heavy run-scoring with higher run rates continuing to get recorded in the ongoing CWC, some of the same records of previous CWCs are already broken and are expected to be broken by the end of the 2023 edition.