Anantha Narayanan

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T20 Bowling: A look after the Mendis special

After 3 years, Ajanta Mendis at last got
the ball to do the talking, albeit only in a T20 game. In one match, he
re-wrote most of the bowling records. So I thought it is time to look at the
T20 bowling scene. Readers would do well to remember that this refers only to T20
Internationals and not IPL and related matches, which, in my opinion, are not
International matches.

 

Bowler

Ctry

Overs

Mdn

Runs

Wkts

Avge

StRt

BB

RPO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shahid
Afridi

Pak

161.5

3

1005

53

18.96

18.3

4
for 11

6.21

Umar
Gul

Pak

116.1

1

752

47

16.00

14.8

5
for  6

6.47

Saeed
Ajmal

Pak

108.0

0

693

43

16.12

15.1

4
for 19

6.42

Mendis
B.A.W

Slk

76.0

2

425

39

10.90

11.7

6
for 16

5.59

Malinga
S.L

Slk

102.0

0

743

37

20.08

16.5

3
for 12

7.28

Vettori
D.L

Nzl

108.1

1

580

35

16.57

18.5

4
for 20

5.36

Johnson
M.G

Aus

101.1

1

723

35

20.66

17.3

3
for 15

7.15

Broad
S.C.J

Eng

101.1

0

751

33

22.76

18.4

3
for 17

7.42

Swann
G.P

Eng

76.0

1

496

32

15.50

14.3

3
for 14

6.53

Steyn
D.W

Saf

78.0

0

531

29

18.31

16.1

4
for  9

6.81

Sammy
D.J.G

Win

64.3

0

401

29

13.83

13.3

5
for 26

6.22

Tait
S.W

Aus

71.4

2

498

28

17.79

15.4

3
for 13

6.95

Nannes
D.P

Hol

61.0

2

459

28

16.39

13.1

4
for 18

7.52

Botha
J

Saf

88.0

0

555

27

20.56

19.6

3
for 16

6.31

McCullum
N.L

Nzl

67.2

0

426

26

16.38

15.5

4
for 16

6.33

Mills
K.D

Nzl

81.4

0

701

25

28.04

19.6

3
for 37

8.58

Bond
S.E

Nzl

77.3

2

543

25

21.72

18.6

3
for 18

7.01

Morkel
M

Saf

62.5

2

395

25

15.80

15.1

4
for 17

6.29

 

First the bread and butter table of T20
wickets captured. Only those who have captured 25 wickets or more are included.
The table is dominated by Pakistan,
who have the first three bowlers and Sri Lanka, who have the next two
bowlers. Shahid Afridi is the only bowler to capture 50 wickets or more. A
total of 18 bowlers have achieved the mark of 25 T20 wickets. 

 

However, this tells only one side of the
story. Merely capturing wickets is not enough, especially in T20 matches. In
Test matches wickets are paramount but in T20 matches other factors come into
play. These are bowling averages, bowling strike rates and RpO values.

 

In the next table, I have presented these
key factors from the best bowler's point of view, as an index value.

 

Bowler

Ctry

Wkts

Avge

Index

StRt

Index

RPO

Index

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mendis
B.A.W

Slk

39

10.90

100.0%

11.7

100.0%

5.59

100.0%

Sammy
D.J.G

Win

29

13.83

78.8%

13.3

87.7%

6.22

89.9%

Swann
G.P

Eng

32

15.50

70.3%

14.3

82.1%

6.53

85.6%

Morkel
M

Saf

25

15.80

69.0%

15.1

77.6%

6.29

88.9%

Umar
Gul

Pak

47

16.00

68.1%

14.8

78.9%

6.47

86.4%

Saeed
Ajmal

Pak

43

16.12

67.6%

15.1

77.6%

6.42

87.1%

McCullum
N.L

Nzl

26

16.38

66.5%

15.5

75.3%

6.33

88.3%

Nannes
D.P

Hol

28

16.39

66.5%

13.1

89.5%

7.52

74.3%

Vettori
D.L

Nzl

35

16.57

65.8%

18.5

63.1%

5.36

104.3%

Tait
S.W

Aus

28

17.79

61.3%

15.4

76.2%

6.95

80.4%

Steyn
D.W

Saf

29

18.31

59.5%

16.1

72.5%

6.81

82.1%

Shahid
Afridi

Pak

53

18.96

57.5%

18.3

63.9%

6.21

90.0%

Malinga
S.L

Slk

37

20.08

54.3%

16.5

70.7%

7.28

76.8%

Botha
J

Saf

27

20.56

53.0%

19.6

59.8%

6.31

88.6%

Johnson
M.G

Aus

35

20.66

52.8%

17.3

67.5%

7.15

78.2%

Bond
S.E

Nzl

25

21.72

50.2%

18.6

62.9%

7.01

79.7%

Broad
S.C.J

Eng

33

22.76

47.9%

18.4

63.6%

7.42

75.3%

Mills
K.D

Nzl

25

28.04

38.9%

19.6

59.7%

8.58

65.2%

 

Mendis has the best average in this group,
an outstanding 10.90. He is ahead of the next best bowler by a whopping 21% and
the third placed bowler by 30%. That is almost Bradmanesque. And look how far
ahead of Mills he is, a matter of 61%. Truly, Mendis is the best T20 bowler, by
a mile.

 

Now the bowling strike rate (Balls per
wicket) measure. Mendis captures a wicket every 2 overs. That is an average of
2 wickets per match, which would be great in ODI matches. Sammy and Swann also
have good figures.

 

Now the last measure, Runs per over.
Despite being a spinner, Mendis concedes fewer than 6 runs per over. It is only
in this measure that there is a bowler better than Mendis. Surprisingly,
another spinner, Daniel Vettori of New Zealand. Vettori conceded only
5.36 runs per over and has a decent average. Who is the third bowler? Another
spinner, of course, Shahid Afridi. Did I hear someone say that spinners are a
liability in T20 matches?

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