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England's ODI cricket bowling woes

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England_bowlers_bowling_ODI_T20I_CricketThe England Cricket Team have begun their march into the World Cup next year with a series of consistent performances in ODIs, most of which have been led by their hard-hitting and dangerous batsmen who are capable of smashing the ball out of the park at will. The likes of Jason Roy, Jos Buttler, Eoin Morgan and Jonny Bairstow have cemented their places as the most feared batsmen in this generation, influencing the national side in its rise to the top.

The team have played 44 games in the two years since 3rd July, 2016, winning 33 matches, taking their win percentage to a stunning 75%. The Indian team comes a close second, winning 72.5% of their games, while South Africa are a distant third, emerging victorious in 64.5% of their battles.

Even though Virat Kohli’s India give a stiff battle to England, the Eoin Morgan-led team have impressed with their records, both at home and away, winning through sheer brute force and power to emerge as huge favourites for the World Cup that will be held on their own turf.

They have scored in excess of 300 in 20 matches, winning 15. The impact of this can be gauged from the fact that the second-most dominant team from July 2016, India, have scaled the 300-run mark on just 11 occasions.

But, in comparison, while India have conceded 300 runs on 7 occasions, the side from United Kingdom have given away 300 runs on 12 instances. In fact, this is more than any other top-six teams in this period.

 

Teams

Number of times they conceded more than 300 runs since July 3, 2016

England

12

Australia

10

India

7

Pakistan

7

South Africa

5

New Zealand

5

 

The English bowlers have been dismal, especially at home, where they have allowed their rivals to cross the 300 mark 6 times. While this can be blamed on the placid pitches that are being prepared for ODI cricket in the country, in accordance to the strengths of the national team, the poor form of the bowlers stands out in comparison to how visiting bowlers have performed in England.

Against all sides, when playing in England, the Indian team has given away 300 or more runs in two of their 5 games (40%). South Africa have played 6 games there, conceding 300 twice. Pakistan have been the most impressive side, having conceded 300 thrice in the 10 matches that they have played in England. So, what ails the English bowling side?

It is clear is that the presence of a number of big-hitters in the team has allowed a sense of complacency to leak into the bowling unit. When chasing, the English batsmen have overhauled a target of 300 three times and have failed to do so only twice. Batting first, the batsmen have crossed 300 fifteen times.

While this record is impressive, the fact that their bowlers have allowed the opposition to get close to the target quite often shows that the top ranked team is not as settled as they appear to be. Though they have won 12 of the 15 games when they have put up above 300, they have allowed the opponents to run close and get to a total above 265 seven times, including above 300 on three occasions. This is much more than what the second-ranked team India have given. When the Men in Blue have made more than 300 runs, their bowlers have ensured convincing wins most of the times, allowing their rivals to get to 255 only thrice.

What is really interesting that out of the 10 games that England have lost in the last two years (one game was abandoned), England’s bowlers have allowed the opposition to chase down totals over 300 four times, with targets over 330 being chased down on three occasions.

Additionally, they have lost two games, against India and Scotland respectively, even after they got to a score of 366 and 365. India had scored 381 runs in the second ODI in Cuttack last year while Scotland surprised with a huge win after they made 371 in their quota of overs.

The biggest cause of concern has been the inability of the bowlers to stick to a consistent line and length. Ten bowlers who have played for England in the last two years have conceded runs at more than 5.75 runs an over. Out of them, Liam Plunkett has an economy rate of 5.78, while his bowling partner David Willey gives away more than 5.87 runs an over.

Contrast this to the economy rates of the new-ball bowlers from the other sides and the picture will get clearer. Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuveshwar Kumar concede runs at 4.82 and 5.20, respectively. Mohammad Shami has an economy rate of less than 5 in the last two years. Adam Milne, Billy Stanlake, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Kagiso Rabada, Mohammad Amir, Nathan Coulter-Nile and the trio of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood have all given away runs at a lower economy rate than Plunkett and Willey.

Unless the bowlers from England pull up their socks, they risk yet another disappointing World Cup campaign. 

 

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