Cricket World Cup: The stats behind India's batting and bowling dominance

The tournament hosts have impressed in their four games so far and are living up to their favourites tag

Virat Kohli led India's latest successful run chase at the World Cup with a century against Bangladesh. Reuters
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Such has been India’s dominance at the 2023 Cricket World Cup, their batters are yet to go the full distance, chasing down the set targets in less than 42 overs in every game. India have won all four matches and sit second place in the table behind New Zealand.

Opposition bowlers have found it tough to dismiss India’s batters; in four matches the tournament hosts have lost just 12 out of 40 wickets.

For the first time in World Cup history, India batters are striking at 100-plus (100.55 to be precise), which is significantly higher than their previous World Cup campaign (91.98).

Change in Rohit’s approach

The driving force behind India’s aggressive approach with the bat is captain Rohit Sharma, who has amassed 265 runs in four innings at this World Cup at a strike rate of 137.30, helped by hitting 13 sixes (the second most after Sri Lanka batsman Kusal Mendis' 14).

In the last five years, Rohit has hit 114 sixes in 63 innings, the most by any opener in ODI cricket. The next best, in a distant second, is Paul Stirling (63 sixes in 52 inns).

Rohit used to be a slow starter but in recent years there has been a big change in his gameplay. Between 2015 and 2019, his strike rate in the first Powerplay (overs 1-10) was 75.81 in ODIs. That figure has jumped to 106.28 in the recent four years (2020 to 2023).

Chase maestro

Virat Kohli has once again showed at this World Cup why he is the greatest chaser in the history of ODI cricket.

When India were three down for just two runs in a chase of 200 against Australia in Chennai, Kohli took India to safety with his 85 off 116 balls. He followed it with an unbeaten 55 against Afghanistan in Delhi.

He was getting starts in the World Cups but wasn’t able to convert those to centuries. His unbeaten 100 against Bangladesh in Pune was his first ton in 20 World Cup innings, going back to the 2015 edition when he scored one against Pakistan in Adelaide.

With these performances, Kohli’s average while chasing in ODIs now stands at 65.24, the highest ever in the format's history. He also has 27 centuries in chases, 10 more than the next best Sachin Tendulkar (17).

Best year for India’s fast bowlers

While there is no shortage of batting talent for India, their fast bowlers have made significant strides in recent years.

In 2023, India’s seamers have taken 129 wickets at an average of 22.78, which is their all-time best for any calendar year in ODIs.

Their pace attack is led by Mohammad Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah.

Siraj, with 35 wickets, is the leading wicket-taker among fast bowlers in ODIs this year, whereas Bumrah, since his return from injury in September, has 18 wickets in 10 ODIs at an average of 18.27 with an impressive economy of 4.44.

India’s miserly spinners

A winning factor in India’s World Cup campaign so far is their spinners, who aren’t only taking wickets but also not leaking runs.

Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja combined have not gone for more than 90 runs in any of the four games so far. They conceded just 85 in 20 overs against Bangladesh, 73 in 19.5 overs against Pakistan, 78 in 18 overs against Afghanistan and 70 in 20 overs against Australia.

The overall economy of India spinners in the World Cup 2023 is 3.87, the best for any team.

Updated: October 20, 2023, 12:34 PM