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    March 22, 2007

    Time to review the Net Run Rate rule

    The Net Run Rate calculation is used during multi-team tournaments as a 'tie breaker' when two or more teams are level on points and in their head-to-head results. Net Run Rate for a team is the run rate at which the team has scored runs minus the run rate which the team has conceded in all the games they've played. So if team A played two games, scoring 300 in 50 overs and 120 all out and conceded 280 in 50 overs and 121 in 30 overs, their net run rate would be -0.81 (Their run rate is 4.2 [420 in 100 ov] and they conceded 5.01 [401 in 80 ov]).

    The problem with this method is that teams which are in trouble and need to improve their net run rate will obviously try to do so against weaker opponents, like India did against Bermuda a couple of days ago. My suggestion is that the net run rate calculation should first involve only the teams that are tied on points & head to head results. If that doesn't work (for e.g. if there were two teams tied thus and the game between them, the obvious way to find the NRR in games involving them, was tied/washed out), only then the net run rate calculation should be extended to all matches they played in. Doing so would increase the importance of the matches between these teams and reduce the games against the weaker teams.

    So, if Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka are tied on points and in their head-to-head games (i.e. if India defeat Sri Lanka), the first tie breaker should be the run rates in the Bangladesh-India, Bangladesh-Sri Lanka and India-Sri Lanka games. The calculations would then be a little different, obviously. The NRR, before the India-Sri Lanka game, would be Bangladesh -1.87, India -0.14 and Sri Lanka +3.93, as opposed to the how it looks now (Bangladesh -2.00, India +2.57 and Sri Lanka +4.59). Using such a model, the only possibilities for Bangladesh to go through are Sri Lanka winning against India with India folding up for something like 125 and Sri Lanka getting the runs in 14 overs or so or India making 200 and Sri Lanka making 201 in 18 overs or so.

    In fact, I wanted to put up this post yesterday, complete in the knowledge that this sort of net run rate calculation would mean that India would have been at a disadvantage. Bangladesh have done themselves no favours by losing so heavily to Sri Lanka. But Sri Lanka are looking awesome and it's going to take more than a special last-ditch effort for India to win. Sri Lanka would obviously like Bangladesh to qualify along with them so that they take two points into the Super Eight stage. So we're definitely not going to see any lack of effort on their side, since a loss decreases their chances of qualifying.

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    Thus spake Jagadish @ 10:17 AM |
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    4 sledge(s):

    Your proposed solution is probably a better system. It is slightly more complicated, but better.

    By Blogger Reenen (22-Mar-2007, 2:22:00 PM)  

    I think you mean' Sri Lanka folding for 125 etc.

    Obligatory comparison with another sport: in the group stages of football's Champions League, the ordering is like this.

    1. Points
    2. Head-to-head record:
    2a. Points
    2b. Goal difference
    2c. Away goals scored
    3. Goal difference
    4. Goals scored
    5. UEFA coefficient (ranking)

    This was designed for exactly the reasons given above, and is eminently sensible (the only slight wrinkle being 2c).

    I think Sri Lanka have the best attack in the tournament. The only question is, as Reenen's post said, how much of a difference the bowlers will make.

    By Blogger Geoff (22-Mar-2007, 3:33:00 PM)  

    reenen: I thought of this mainly because it disgusts me that teams (India, for e.g.) perform hopelessly and try to make up for it against 'weaker teams' and have a chance to progress. This'd also prevent situations of collusion between teams. Let's say Bermuda allowed themselves to be all out for something like 20, Bangladesh got the runs in an over and Sri Lanka beat India. Then Bangladesh and Sri Lanka would go through. If the net run rate calculation only happens for games involving the teams that're "tied", then you do rule out a lot of the collusion.

    geoff: I've updated the post. I should have said something like 'and India scoring' rather than 'or India scoring'. The current system in cricket is similar, isn't it. Replace goal difference with NRR. There's no 2c, 3 and 4. Would it be fair to use total runs scored/wickets taken? Again, then those should be restricted only to the games involving the tied teams. Sri Lanka's problem is the middle order. Once a team gets past Jayawardene and Sangakkara, the rest haven't done enough to suggest that they can prevent a collapse.

    By Blogger Jagadish (22-Mar-2007, 4:09:00 PM)  

    I don't think it would be fair to use runs scored, simply for the obvious reason that it favours teams who bat first, or who fail to roll over minnows that bat first. The ideal situation for a major team fielding would be to let the minnow rack up 200-odd, bowling them out in the last over, then try to knock them off in less than 20 overs. Make it a 50Twenty game. I don't think anyone would want to see that.

    On Sri Lanka: Chamara Silva's in pretty good form, no? Scored a hundred against India in his last match against them. They really could do with a man for a crisis in the mould of Boucher or Hussey or all of the New Zealand players. the other question is whether a team wants to be playing this well early in the tournament. New Zealand and West Indies have barely woken up and they've both cruised through.

    By Blogger Geoff (22-Mar-2007, 4:47:00 PM)  


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