Sri Lanka v India – only T20 International Preview

Tomorrow’s T20 International at the R Premadasa Stadium in Khettarma, Colombo represents last orders at the last chance saloon for Sri Lanka.

Having lost their home Test series against India 3-0, and followed it up with a 5-0 drubbing in the ODI series that followed, the Lions are staring down the barrel of an unprecedented home cross-series whitewash by their northerly neighbours.

India will be string favourites such is the form they are in, and such is the malaise that Sri Lankan cricket finds itself in. Riddled by injury, suspension, and resignations of captains and selectors alike, this has not been a few weeks to remember for the islanders, and they must be looking forward to this portion of their season ending.

The only glimmer of hope is that they have had marginally more success in the shortest format of the game, having beaten admittedly weakened Australian and South African sides in recent times.

India by contrast are rampant, racking up all manner of records in the Tests and ODIs that preceded this game. If they do make it a 9-0 series clean-sweep, they will match a record set by Australia when they beat Pakistan by a similar margin across all three formats in 2010.

History between the sides in this format doesn’t bode well for Sri Lanka either – of the ten games played, India lead 6-4, whilst their hosts have never beaten India at home.

So plenty to play for – a record and a clean-sweep in the sights for the visitors, while the Lions will be out to save their pride.

From an individual player persepective, its no surprise that India’s two superstars will be the ones to keep watch of:

Virat Kohli (India)

India’s supreme leader and inspirational batsman plays his 50th T20 International in Colombo.

He currently sits in fifth place in the all-time T20I run-makers list with 1748 runs to his name. 32 runs will see him leapfrog Afghanistan’s Mohammad Shahzad into fourth place, while a score of 59 will see him move one notch higher to third, past New Zealand opener Martin Guptill.

MS Dhoni (India)

Fresh from breaking Kumar Sangakkara’s world ODI stumping record with his 100th such dismissal in the last ODI (also his 300th game in that format), former captain Dhoni has more dismissal and appearance records in his sights.

This will be MS’s 78th T20 International game, moving him up into joint fifth place all-time, alongside Pakistan opener Mohammad Hafeez.

In this format, Dhoni has racked up 66 dismissals – 43 catches and 23 stumpings. Four more will see him move to 70, and enough for a share of the world record with South African megastar AB de Villiers.

Evin Lewis stars in West Indies v India T20I

All the hype (including it must be confessed, here) leading up to Sunday’s T20I between West Indies had been about local hero Chris Gayle’s recall to the hosts’ team. However, it was his fellow opening batsman Evin Lewis that stole all the headlines during the game itself.

Prior to tonight’s game in Jamaica, only two men had ever scored more than one T20I centuries. The Universe Boss himself, and New Zealand’s former captain Brendon McCullum had previously achieved this.

There are now three, with Trinidadian Evin Lewis’s astonishing 125 not-out off 62 balls leading the home team to a comfortable 9-wicket victory over Virat Kohli’s Indians with nine balls to spare.

Evin had previously hit a 20-over century against the very same opponents in Florida in August 2016. He is the only player to have two centuries in the shortest format against the same opponents.

With this being the only game in the series, the reigning world T20 champions West Indies also claimed a series victory, in some consolation to losing the five-game ODI series 3-1 earlier in the month.

No other players notched up any particular personal milestones in this game. Virat Kohli fell short of the 71 runs he needed to move up to 4th place in the all-time run scorers list, and Samuel Badree going wicketless when two scalps would have seen him join Dwayne Bravo as the West Indies all-time leading T20I wicket-taker.

 

West Indies v India – July 2017 T20I preview

Fresh from India wrapping up the ODI series 3-1 against their hosts the West Indies,  the focus now shifts to the shortest form of the game.  The tour concludes with a one-off T20 International on Sunday 9th July at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica.

For the hosts, it is a chance to show their T20 muscle, being the reigning world champions in the format, and comes on the back of a 3-0 series win against an up-and-coming Afghanistan team the last time they played in this format in June.

The last time India played a 20-over series was in January/February this year when they edged England 2-1.

So both sides are in good form in the format and will be looking to finish off the tour in style.

From a personal player point of view, there is plenty to focus on:

Chris Gayle (West Indies)

The pre-match news has been dominated by the surprise inclusion of self-styled Universe Boss and T20 specialist Christopher Henry Gayle in the West Indies squad. This is the first time Gayle will have appeared for the Windies since the famous night in Kolkata in April 2016 when the Caribbean superstars stunned England in the World T20 final.

It will also be the first time he has played a T20I at his home ground in Jamaica.

Gayle currently has 1,519 T20I runs, placing him in 13th spot in the world overall. He is also one of only two players (alongside the now-retired New Zealander Brendon McCullum) to have scored two 20-over international centuries.

If he can turn up the heat with a century in this game it will take him past Mohammad Hafeez into 10th place in the all-time runs scorers list (and past Eoin Morgan and AB de Villiers in 11th and 12th along the way) as well as giving him the outright world record for T20 International centuries.

Samuel Badree (West Indies)

Spinner Badree brought up 50 wickets in T20 internationals during the recent Afghanistan series, and now sits in second place in the Windies all-time T20 wicket-takers list. Three more wickets in this game will see him overtake Dwayne Bravo’s 52 and move into top spot.

Sunil Narine (West Indies)

Fellow slow-bowler Narine has 48 shortest-form international wickets, so will be looking for two more to bring up his half-century.

Virat Kohli (India)

India’s captain-superstar has scored 1,709 runs in this format of the game for his country, a total which sees him in fifth place worldwide.

71 more runs will see him move past the suspended Afghani Mohammad Shahzad into fourth, and 98 will see him edge past New Zealand’s Martin Guptill into third.

MS Dhoni (India)

India’s veteran but evergreen keeper Dhoni currently has 65 dismissals to his name in T20 Internationals, comprised of 42 catches and 23 stumpings.

It’s a long shot, but five more dismissals in the on-off game will give him a share of the world record with South African superstar AB de Villiers, who has 70.

 

 

West Indies v Afghanistan T20I Series Review

Although they were made to fight a little harder in the final game tonight, World Champions the West Indies duly claimed a 3-0 clean sweep against Afghanistan in the T20I series held at Warner Park Oval in Basseterre, St Kitts and Nevis.

From an individual player point of view, there were a couple of career milestones of note to come out of the series, both of which we foreshadowed in our series preview.

Mohammad Nabi (Afghanistan)

As expected, all-rounder Nabi played in all three games, bringing his personal tally to 58 games played in the shortest format, and making himself Afghanistan’s joint highest appearance maker of all time, alongside absent wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad.

Samuel Badree (West Indies)

Spinner Badree picked up a solitary wicket in each game, taking his career T20I total to 50, and now sits just two wickets behind the West Indies’ leading wicket-taker in the format, Dwayne Bravo.

West Indies v Afghanistan – June 2017 bilateral T20I series

The West Indies host Afghanistan for a three game bilateral T20I series, starting on 2nd June, with all three games to be played at the Warner Park ground in Basseterre, the capital of St Kitts and Nevis.

With the Champions Trophy under way in the UK, the series will fall well below the radar for many outside of the Caribbean or Afghanistan, but it is no less important to the two competing teams.

The Windies are the reigning World T20I champions, and smarting from their failure to qualify for the big show going on in England and Wales, will be very keen to demonstrate their dominance in the shortest form of the game.

Leading Associate nation Afghanistan on the other hand will relish a rare bilateral series against a full ICC member, and although they will start as underdogs, have shown they are no mugs competing at the top level, and won their only warm up game against a strong West Indies Cricket Board XI earlier in the week.

Keep an eye on the following:

Afghanistan

Mohammed Nabi

With current leading appearance maker, keeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad, out of the squad for this series, all-rounder Nabi has a chance to move joint equal with Shahzad at the top of the appearance table for his country – having made 55 T20I starts compared to his compatriot’s 58.

Ashgar Stanikzai and Samiullah Shenwari

Shahzad is currently the only Afghanistan batsman to score 1000 T20I runs for his country. Captain Stanikzai and all-rounder Shenwari stand an outside chance of joining him with 842 and 841 runs to their name respectively.

Shahzad is also the only Afghani to make a T20I century, so if any of his teammates can clock one up in this series, they’ll move joint top of a very short list!

West Indies

Marlon Samuels

With top scorer and walking T20 God (in his own eyes at least) Chris Gayle not in the squad for this series, Samuels has an outside chance of overhauling him at the top of the Windies all-time T20I scoring list. Gayle currently has 1519 runs in the shortest format, so Marlon would need a whopping 243 to topple him, but stranger things have happened.

Lendl Simmons

Simmons needs 131 runs to reach 1000 international runs in the T20I format.

Samuel Badree

The Twenty20 specialist spinner currently has 47 wickets in the format, and sits in second place in the all-time T20 wicket-takers list for his country. He needs three more scalps to reach 50, and a further three to overtake Dwayne Bravo (52) as the Windies’ top bowler.

Sunil Narine

Not far behind Badree though is Narine, with 44 wickets in his column – enough for joint third place with Darren Sammy. He’ll be looking to take third place outright and put pressure on Badree and Bravo above him.

Evin Lewis

The young Trinidadian is one of only two West Indians to score a T20I century. The aforementioned Gayle is the other, and he has two. If Lewis can notch up a century not only will he draw level with the “Universe Boss”, but he’ll become only the third batsman worldwide to score two in the short format.

The Opening Statsman takes guard for the first delivery

Hello, and welcome to my new site, which I hope you will find entertaining and informative!

First up, let’s address the elephant in the room – yes, this is another cricket statistics website, and yes I’m aware there are bigger and more comprehensive ones out there that are much more well-known and beloved of most cricket fans. I know that because I love those sites too, and that’s kind of why we’re here!

I have been a fan of international cricket since I was a child. I don’t come from a cricket-playing or cricket-loving family, and none of my friends growing up either played or were even slightly interested in the sport, but I fell in love with it through the medium of BBC Televisions’s Test match broadcasts in the long and usually wet school summer holidays of the mid-Eighties, when I’d sit mesmerised by the scenes being piped in from Trent Bridge, Edgbaston or Lord’s to our huge valve-powered colour TV.

It will come as no surprise that as a future accountant, one of the things that fascinated me the most about watching the cricket back then was the scorecards, graphs and charts that would pop up during the day’s coverage.  Now, I appreciate as much as the next man a good drive though the covers,  a shoulder-high bouncer, or a stunning one handed grab at second slip,  but I also loved seeing those yellow numbers superimposed over the action, ever so slowly changing at the end of every over throughout the day’s play. My first knowledge of the statistical concept of an average was taught to me not by my teacher at school, but by the wonderful Tony Lewis discussing Bob Willis’s bowling figures!

As I’ve grown up, so has the depth of statistical knowledge and information available. Television now has all manner of sophisticated charts to display in real time, radio commentators cut to regular stats based insights from scorers such as Andrew Sampson or Andy Zaltsman, and of course specialist websites such as the unbeatable ESPNCricinfo’s Statsguru database grant us access to practically anything we could wish to find out if only we’re willing to spend the time framing the question correctly.

To some fans, stats are just a by-product of the sport not to be much bothered with, but to others such as myself they are integral to our enjoyment. As I watch or listen to a game, I will also sit refreshing the live scorecard on my computer waiting to see if a player has clocked-up a significant milestone, or moved into the top ten for his country or even the world for a particular statistical category. Country records fascinate me, world records more so. In a sport with such a great history, seeing a modern-day player emulate or overtake a great of the game’s past achievement brings me tremendous pleasure, whoever they play for.

Because of my fascination with stats, and partly as a hobby project to keep my computer skills sharpened through a period of unemployment a few years ago, I managed to build from scratch (with the assistance of my software developer wife) my own basic database of historical statistics, focusing largely on international players rather than the teams they play for. I loaded up every male Test, ODI and T20I player to ever play international cricket into my database with a basic summary of their key batting, bowling and fielding stats, which I now update after each international match to keep current.

At some stage, after more fine-tuning and web design to make it look shiny, I may publish that database for others to see, but in the meantime what I noticed through playing with my data was that by filtering and sorting after each update, I could spot upcoming statistical milestones in players’ careers, or whether they were coming close to overtaking historical players in one area of the game or another. For instance, ahead of yesterday’s third ODI between England and South Africa, I knew that Hashim Amla only needed 23 more runs to pass 7000 ODI runs, and only 13 runs to overtake Graeme Smith as South Africa’s fourth highest ODI runs scorer of all time (he duly achieved both!). Knowing these potential milestones ahead of time enhances my enjoyment of watching a game – not only do I get to enjoy the game itself, but I get to keep an eye on a particular players’ achievements within it and to silently urge them on to pass that marker, whether or not the player is even aware that he is approaching it!

So, I thought to myself if I enjoy keeping an eye out for these things, then surely some other cricket fans would too – so here we are!

Ahead of each match or series, I will aim to publish a brief update as to what player stats and milestones to keep an eye on in the game. For Test matches, I will do this ahead of each individual match, however for bilateral ODI and T20I series, I will post as a minimum ahead of each series (just to manage workload – I now have a proper job which eats into my stats time!) and more often if possible. For major tournaments, starting with this week’s Champions Trophy, I will conduct reviews for each team participating and post a collective summary ahead of the tournament. I will include stats for those countries that have official International Cricket Council status for the particular form of the game – Test, One Day International or T20 International.

I will also publish a summary after each Test Match or ODI/T20I series/tournament highlighting which players reached their milestones as anticipated, and which will have to wait that little while longer.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I intend to enjoying writing it!