ICL: Indian Cricket League

Ponting and McGrath have point to prove


pontingWest Indies’ head-to-head against Australia since 2003 is 5-9, but in the last ten matches, both teams have won five each. Cricinfo looks at some of the other relevant stats on the eve of the opening Super Eights clash.

On the eight occasions that the two sides have met in World Cups, West Indies hold a 5-3 edge, thanks to their early dominance, but they have lost three of the last four games. West Indies won the toss in only one of those matches - in 1975 - and since then have lost it seven times in a row.

Class acts at the top

Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden have scored more runs for the first wicket than any other Australian pair - their 4426 runs have come at an average partnership of 49.17 - but West Indies loses nothing in comparison. Chris Gayle and Shivnarine Chanderpaul average 51.81 in the 40 innings in which they have opened. Both Ricky Ponting and Brian Lara will expect significant salvos from their opening acts.

There is also little to choose between how Australia and West Indies have tackled the first 20 overs in ODIs since 2006. Australia average 40 runs per wicket and score at 4.40 runs per over during this period, which is only fractionally better than West Indies’ 39.49 at 4.05.

Middle order

After Hayden and Gilchrist have done their bit, Australia’s formidable middle order has usually ensured that the good work is carried forward. In the overs between 21 and 40, they average 53.06 runs per wicket, at a scoring rate of 4.95 runs per over. That’s a passage of play during which West Indies come off second-best by comparison - they average only 35.21 runs per wicket, at a rate of 4.30.

West Indies, though, can take heart from the fact that Australia’s top batsman hasn’t fired against them. Ponting averages only 30.59 against the Windies, with just one century in 35 innings. That hundred, though, came in a World Cup match, at Jaipur in 1996, a game which Australia lost by four wickets. In his last eight completed innings against them, Ponting has six single-digit scores.

Lara has done better against Australia, with three hundreds in 49 innings, and an average that is only marginally below his career mark. Lara’s main ally in the middle, Ramnaresh Sarwan, has clearly underperformed against Australia, though, with just one half-century from 14 innings.

Aussie slog power

With a middle order that boasts Andrew Symonds, Michael Hussey and Shane Watson, it’s hardly surprising that Australia score at almost seven-and-a-half per over in the last ten. Not only that, but they also do so without losing too many wickets - they average nearly 30 runs per wicket during this period. West Indies come off a distant second-best again, averaging just 20 per wicket and 6.3 per over.

The McGrath factor

If Australia’s leading batsman has underperformed against West Indies, then so has their most experienced bowler. Glenn McGrath averages more than 27 per wicket against West Indies, conceding almost five runs more than his career stats, but his performance in the West Indies is even greater cause for concern. In 14 games, he has taken only 16 wickets at 30.62, with an economy rate of 4.36 runs per over, well above his career mark of 3.87.

The main threat to West Indies’ batsmen could well come from Nathan Bracken. He has been Australia’s most consistent ODI bowler, and his stats against the Windies suggest Lara and co. would do well to watch out for him. In eight games against them he has taken 15 wickets at 16.86.

Source:Cricket Worldcup

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