Cricket World Cups bring with them the enthusiasm and the thrill that keep the viewers glued to their television screens. Spectators sit at the edge of their seats, especially if the result is decided on the last ball of the final over. And this World Cup being held in Australia/New Zealand, looking like a rollercoaster ride already, promises the rise of a new champion, or a former one reclaiming the throne. It’s not over till it’s over but based on the statistics of the past 10 Cups held from 1975 to 2011 cricket enthusiasts do have some predictions.
During the semi-finals played from 1975 to 2011, no team could post a first innings score of 300 or more. The runs scored in both innings range between 200 to 250, and it is expected that the semi-finals of the 2015 World Cup will see all four teams score between this range. However, only one semi-final from history, England versus Australia, from the 1975 World Cup, saw both teams score less than 100 runs. During the semi-finals of the 2015 World Cup, there is only a five per cent chance that both teams will score less than 100 runs while there is a 45pc chance for the teams to score between 200 and 250.
All semi-finalists will score between 200 and 250.
It is interesting to note that the teams batting first in the semi-finals have won 70pc of the matches while the teams batting second have won 30pc.
Here are some predictions for the final clashes of the ICC World Cup currently under way in Australia and New Zealand
Out of the 40 semi-finals played, the side batting first won the match 10 times while eight times it was won by the teams batting second.
The teams batting first in the semi-finals have a higher chance of winning matches.
Of the 40 teams that played the semi-finals from 1975 to 2011, 43 players have scored half centuries while only four players managed to score centuries. No batsman could score a half century during the semi-finals contested in the World Cups of 1975, 1979, 1983, 1992, 1996, and 2011.
There is a higher probability that at least one batsman each from the four semi-final teams will score a half century. However, there is a 10pc chance that only one batsman will score a century during the semi-finals.
It has happened only thrice that a bowler has taken five wickets in the semi-finals. This feat was achieved during the semi-finals of 1975, 1987, and 1999.
Only one bowler will be able to take five wickets in the semi-finals.
Only once in the history of the World Cups (1999) did we see a semi-final end in a tie when South Africa lost all 10 wickets on 213 during the 1999 semi-final against Australia. In 1996, however, the semi-final between India and Sri Lanka ended in no contest and the match was awarded to Sri Lanka.
The semi-finals of the 2015 World Cup will determine a clear winner and there will be no ties. However, there is a meager 2.5pc chance that a tie will occur.
However, we saw teams score between 100 and 200 runs five times. Among the 10 finals, seven were won by the teams batting first while teams batting second have won only thrice.
West Indies, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka were the only four teams during the last 10 World Cups that won the final match when appearing in it for the first time.
There is a 40pc chance that a first-time finalist will win the World Cup. However, this does not apply to a team which has already won a final or a runner up. A team playing the 2015 World Cup for the first time, have a higher chance of winning it.
Most finals played
All the previously held 10 final matches have been collectively played between six teams, namely, Australia (appeared six times), India (appeared three times), Sri Lanka (appeared three times), England (appeared three times), West Indies (appeared three times) and Pakistan (appeared two times). Australia has the highest win ratio by becoming champions four times; West Indies and India have become champions twice while Pakistan has taken home the trophy only once.
Australia, India and Sri Lanka have a higher chance of playing the final.
During the 10 finals played from 1975 to 2011, there were seven teams each which scored runs between 200 to 250 and between 251 to 299, respectively. However, we saw teams score between 100 and 200 runs five times.
Among the 10 finals, seven were won by the teams batting first while teams batting second have won only thrice.
Teams batting first in the finals have posted a target of less than 200 runs once; have posted only once a target between 200 to 250 runs; have given a target of between 250 to 299 runs four times and only once has a team scored a target of more than 350 runs, when Australia made 359 against India in 2003.
The team batting first will win the World Cup. Chances are that the team batting first will score runs between 250 to 299.
Looking at 40 opening batsmen during the last 10 World Cup finals, only once has an opener scored more than 150 runs. On the other hand, only three openers lost their wicket on a duck (0). Forty per cent (16) openers scored between 11 to 50 runs, while 32.5pc openers (13) have scored less than 10 runs in the finals.
All openers from both teams during the final will score less than 50 runs with a possibility of one opener scoring 100 or more.
It is interesting to note that during the past 10 World Cups, a total of six batsmen have scored centuries while 20 have scored half-centuries. However, a batsman who scored a century in a final once could not score again in the World Cup. Moreover, the same trend is seen among batsmen who scored half centuries except for Australia’s Adam Gilchrist, the only one to have scored half centuries twice in World Cup finals; 1999 and 2003.
The batsman scoring a century and a half century in the 2015 World Cup final will be doing it for the first time.
Bowlers dream of a five-wicket haul in a final, however, it was only during the World Cups of 1975 and 1979 that a bowler took five wickets.
There is a 20pc chance for a bowler to take five wickets in the final. If it does happen, then only one bowler will be able to do so from either one of the teams during the World Cup final.
2015 World Cup finalists
West Indies and India have a 20pc chance of playing the World Cup final in 2015 while Australia has a 40pc chance. There is also a 40pc chance for one team from South Asia to play the final.
The final match of the 2015 Cricket World Cup will witness one of the three situations; Australia versus a South Asian team; both South Asian teams; or a South Asian team versus England/New Zealand.
Published in Dawn, Sunday Magazine, March 1st, 2015