By Soham Sarkhel and Jatin Thakkar
The retirement of Kevin Pietersen in the shorter formats of the game (bizarre, because Pietersen is the highest impact batsman in T20 internationals) had left a question for the selectors and a chance for youngsters to grab a spot in the English side. However, for the time being, both the parties seem to have a mutual agreement.
If it was the dominance of Ian Bell in the ODI series, 23-year-old Notts batsman Alex Hales made sure he would be a top contender for the opener’s slot in the T20 World Cup after helping England chase down a competitive total of 173 against the West Indies in the one-off T20I. As was the case in the ODI series, the West Indian bowlers again let their team down and ended the tour without a win- the start of which had been quite promising.
Here is the match through the lens of Impact Index.
Alex Hales, as expected, was the highest impact performer of the match (Match IMPACT 8.50). In a tough chase of 173, he lost his opening partner Craig Kieswetter quite early (Pressure IMPACT), and then rebuilt the English innings along with Ravi Bopara (Partnership Building IMPACT) to take England to a comfortable victory. His innings was easily also the highest Batting IMPACT performance in the match.
It’s interesting that Hales has been a consistent performer for Nottinghamshire in the Friends Life T20 Trophy as well (English County T20 Championships). In the 2011 season, he was the fourth-highest impact batsman amongst all the players (Batting IMPACT 2.66). Out of the three players who were above him on that chart, one was an Australian - Andrew McDonald (Batting IMPACT 2.93) and the other two were English – Luke Wright (Batting IMPACT 2.90) and Alex Wakely (Batting IMPACT 2.67). If the horses-for-courses method is indeed applied, both these names should be discussed when the selectors meet to select the English T20 World Cup team. England’s recent inclusions in the shortest format of the game, Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow are at the 62nd and 82nd position in the same list, respectively.
Ravi Bopara, who himself is staking a claim in the T20 international team, did his chances no harm and was the third highest impact player in the match (Match IMPACT 5.23). His innings was also his career best in this format and he is a strong contender for the Number 3 spot.
Out of the four highest impact performers in the match, two were from West Indies- namely Dwayne Smith (Match IMPACT 5.62) and Dwayne Bravo (Match IMPACT 5.02). The 77 runs partnership for the fourth wicket between Bravo (Pressure IMPACT 0.96) and Smith (Pressure IMPACT 0.96) came in at a time when West Indies were under tremendous pressure (30 for 3 in 6.2 overs) and helped them through to a highly competitive total of 172.
As has the case been throughout this tour, the West Indian bowling again let their team down in an expected manner. Ravi Rampaul (2-37 off 4, Bowling IMPACT 2.46) was their best bowler and was in fact the only West Indian bowler other than Marlon Samuels (Bowling IMPACT 1.06) to have had a Bowling IMPACT of above 1. In comparison, 3 English bowlers had a Bowling IMPACT of above 1, with Steve Finn delivering the highest Bowling IMPACT performance in the match (4.21).
While four West Indian bowlers (Ravi Rampaul, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard and Marlon Samuels) registered a negative Economy IMPACT in the game, only Jade Dernbach for England registered a negative Economy IMPACT.
England registered a Team IMPACT of 1.49 in the match as compared to West Indies’ 1.18. The Team Batting IMPACT for England (1.86) was only marginally better than West Indies’ (1.74), showing that in terms of batting both the teams were closer in this match. The difference mainly came from the Team Bowling IMPACT in the match – England’s was 1.11 as compared to West Indies’ 0.63, a difference of almost 76%.
West Indian cricket has its task very clearly cut out.
For more information, please go to www.impactindexcricket.com