Friday, 30 January 2015

Why Knight & Edwards Should Open In T20

On the Women's Cricket Blog Audiocast, Martin Davies argues that Nat Sciver should open the T20 batting for England. I can see the logic - open with your biggest hitters to get off to a flyer - the "pinch hitter" strategy.

The problem is that the numbers really don't support the theory of Sciver in that role. Here are England's T20I Strike Rates for the past two years:

PlayerMatchesS.R.
Holly Colvin7140
Anya Shrubsole11138
Arran Brindle8121
Heather Knight12106
Charlotte Edwards20105
Lauren Winfield11102
Sarah Taylor21101
Natasha Farrant7100
Beccy Grundy6100
Lydia Greenway2099
Jenny Gunn2192
Nat Sciver2290
Susie Rowe288
Dani Hazell2284
Danni Wyatt1683
Amy Jones872
Tammy Beaumont1072
Jodie Dibble10

As we can see, ignoring the obvious non-starters, the leading candidates are... Heather Knight and Charlotte Edwards; while Nat Sciver languishes some way down the order, despite having had 22 matches in the past two years to prove herself. 

I believe that, in the absence of a genuine Alyssa Healy-style "bully", England have to open with their best two batsmen; and when those best two batsmen also happen to have the highest strike-rates... then it really is a no-brainer!

4 comments:

  1. Ahhhh. Flawed logic though. Whoever bats in the first 6 overs will (you'd hope) inevitably have a better strike rate due to the fielding restrictions. NS has not had that chance in any of her 22 knocks as far as I know.

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    1. Heather only opened in 3 of those 12 games; and actually in 4 of them she came in at 6, BEHIND Nat.

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  2. Not really convinced that those stats make a solid case.

    1. Winfield scored 74 as an opener in England's most recent T20 (something that the above stats do not bring out) and surely has earned another crack as a T20 opener on the back of that. Crickey, I mean Beaumont got selected in the T20 WC in 2014 having scored 2, then still got picked after a duck, and then got picked for the Final after a 2).

    2. Knight batted 10 times in those 12 matches and scored only 79 runs (granted she scored them as more than a run a ball but volume of runs also matters and 79 is pretty poor).

    3. You've picked the last 2 years but that's arbitrary. Taylor has had a better career T20 scoring rate than Edwards since 5th Sept 2012.

    4. One point to better support your case: Edwards' SR when opening in T20 is 107.11

    For me, Winfield has earned being opener in the 1st T20 in NZ on the back of that 74.
    After that its a straight fight between Edwards and Knight for the other opening spot. Both have good cases. Both were in Oz this winter and Knight batted better than Edwards. Edwards, as you point out, is our best batsmen.

    Whether it is Edwards, Winfield, Knight or Sciver, let's hope the opening partnerships form the basis of some 150+ scores.

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  3. Um .... a bit more statistical analysis raises one more interesting angle (and a bit more substance to my claim that just looking at the most recent 2 years isn't solid). Ask the question what do the career Scoring Rates look like for squad members when playing as T20 opener and :-

    Edwards 107.11
    MARSH 102.86
    Winfield 101.63
    Taylor 99.83
    Wyatt 95.58
    Knight 93.75

    Marsh, the forgotten T20 opener. Marsh and Edwards have opened together 31 times (the most of any combination) and amassed 939 (more than any other combination).

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