T20 World Cup: Bowling Analysis

It is difficult to analyse bowling because, in essence, T20 cricket just encourages batting, batting, batting. Many feared the Art of Bowling would be reduced to a quivering mess at fine leg, and to an extent, they’re right. Yet, from the ashes of fast bowling emerged the brave spinners to save the day.

Top 25 Economy Rates in T20 World Cups (with ten or more wickets):

economyrate

All of the top five are turners, and top ranked T20 side, West Indies, looking good in this department with Narine included in their squad (despite currently being suspended from bowling for a suspect action) and Badree hoping to team up with Narine in the spin-friendly conditions of India.

Nathan McCullum is perhaps the most under rated of those above, and might end up as the main stay in the Black Caps’ attack. Despite his advanced years, his experience of bowling in 18 World Cup matches, including 62 overs, with 20 wickets at 18.9, but crucially, an elite level economy rate of 6.08, the brother of recently retired T20 maverick Brendan is certainly one to watch.

Angelo Mathews – who is deputy to Lasith Malinga (perhaps the most devastating strike bowler in T20 history) in the current holders’ side – is listed as a right-arm fast-medium bowler, yet in reality it is his ability to bowl pinpoint accurate cutters that causes his inclusion in this list of bowlers to watch. He is the highest rated, currently playing, member of the ‘pace’ bowling Miserly Club, with figures including: 66 overs across 26 matches, with 18 wickets at 23, but a superb economy rate of 6.42. Add in the amount of runs he’s likely to score, and the rate he does it, Mathews is a good bet for best all rounder of the tournament.

England don’t have any current players who make it onto the list above, but do have Adil Rashid, who performed admirably in the recent Big Bash in Australia. This analysis by Will Macpherson outlines his contribution and ability:

It is little surprise that Adil Rashid is the sort of cricketer to inspire a cult following. There is much to fall in love with; the drifting, spinning, fizzing legbreaks, delivered with those supple wrists atop that twirly, balletic action, and so often followed by that cheeky grin…

Rashid finished the group stages as the tournament’s leading wicket-taker, with 15 in eight games at an economy rate (6.38) better than any bowler with more than ten wickets.

Australia are struggling in the spin department, with Ashton Agar and Glenn Maxwell not exactly following Warne in terms of fear factor, although plenty of their players do have IPL experience.

Pakistan will be without the best leg spinner in the world after Yasir Shah failed a drug test and received a three-month ban. However, they do have two players in their squad who make it onto the above list: Mohammed Amir and Shahid Afridi.

Both bowlers have economy rates below seven, and Afridi is one of the most experienced in the history of the tournament, sending down 119 overs and taking 35 wickets with his straight-on ‘leg’ spinners. Despite his lack of turn, Afridi will be a valuable asset as captain, big-hitter, go-to bowler and all round legend of Pakistani cricket, in surely his final swansong?

Imran Tahir has recently won limited over matches for South Africa against England, and appears alongside Dale Steyn as one the best at restricting runs. Tahir only has 20 overs to his name, nevertheless, he was one of the most difficult bowlers to get away in the last tournament, and as he showed against England recently, he can win you matches by preventing runs during the middle overs, and taking wickets at crucial times.

India, probably considered favourites by many, will have a top quality spin attack to call on, in conditions that will decided by committee beforehand in order to ensure maximum edge for the hosts (just ask any South African if you don’t believe me).

In Ravi Ashwin and Harbhajan Singh, India possess vast experience of not only T20 World Cups, but also the IPL. Both have taken 16 wickets, and they have 28 matches experience between them. Ashwin is one of the best ever, albeit from a limited sample (which is something that needs to considered throughout this), with a scrooge-like economy rate of 5.61. Singh is slightly higher with 6.78, but he has bowled more overs. As a partnership, they match anything offered by any other country (unless Narine is allowed to play).

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