Above Average Performance Needed to Win the World Cup
Posted on April 2nd, 2011

Dilrook Kannangara

 The last time when Sri Lanka won the World Cup in 1996, it was exceptional performance of the team that led to the victory. Our opponents were cruising with more than a hundred runs on the board with just one wicket down. The breakthrough came with above-average performance by experienced Aravinda. Motivated fielding, taking all catches and cutting off runs helped restrict Australia. In the batting department Gurusinghe rose up to the occasion after many failures before.

 Above average performance is what is needed today. Past performance is no guarantee of the future but it shows what the averages look like and what is probable to happen. On average Sri Lankan team that played New Zealand is a year and a half older than the Indian team that played Pakistan but the Indian team is more experienced with 184 matches on average compared to Sri Lanka’s 147. Accumulated experience of the entire team may come handy in pressure cooker situations.

 Average batting ability of the teams is compare below based on each batsman’s strike rate (SR) and average.


Sri Lanka          
Tharanga 74 36           49                 49       36
Dilshan 88 37           42                 90       73
Kumar 76 38           50               141     111
Mahela 77 33           42               183     143
Thilan 70 28           40               223     171
Silva 70 30           42               265     201
Mathews 85 35           41               300     230
Malinga 68 9           13    
Herath 44 4             9    
Mendis 68 8           11    
Murali 78 7             9    
Sehwag 104 35           34                 34       35
Sachin 86 45           52                 86       81
Gambhir 87 40           46               133     121
Kohli 82 45           54               187     165
Yuvraj 88 38           43               230     203
Dhoni 87 48           55               285     251
Raina 90 36           40               300     264
Harbhajan 81 13           16    
Khan 73 12           17    
Nehra 57 6           10    
Patel 66 7           10    

 India on average can score 264 runs whereas Sri Lanka on average can only score 230 with the same teams they won recently. However, India’s batting superiority is dented by Sri Lanka’s bowling superiority once again based on historical averages.

Dilshan 4.72 40 24 0.6
Mathews 4.65 31 23 0.7
Malinga 4.97 26 50 1.9
Herath 4.09 30 41 1.3
Mendis 4.27 20 43 2.2
Murali 3.92 23 39 1.7
TOTAL     219 8.4
Yuvraj 5.04 37 50 1.3
Harbhajan 4.31 33 43 1.3
Khan 4.90 29 49 1.7
Nehra 5.19 32 52 1.6
Patel 4.87 30 49 1.7
TOTAL     243 7.6

 Sri Lankan bowling can restrict India to 219 with 8 to 9 wickets down whereas Indian bowling can restrict Sri Lanka to 243 with 7 to 8 wickets. The tussle may lead to totals between these ranges. India has the edge.

 That is why above average performance is needed from the Lankan team to beat India. Bowling, fielding and batting has to be above average of each player to defeat India.

 Sensible batting is needed from the top order with a reasonable run rate and keeping wickets intact. Gurusinghe and Aravinda in 1996 must be emulated in building or rebuilding the innings. Hard yards must be done, footwork must work and no room for uppish or slog shots. Under-performing batsmen should take the opportunity to prove their worth.

 Indian wickets must be taken down regularly. Lowering the run rate alone is not going to work. Fielding must completely support bowling. Any dropped catches mean the same fate of Pakistan. Many have pointed out the futility of relying totally on spinners. The Indian top order has fallen to fast bowlers; not to spinners. Spinners and fast bowlers combination in alternative overs is another option.

 Pressure is on India as a lot is at stake for India. The match is played in India with tremendous ground support. A couple of bad overs for India puts tremendous pressure on the home team. This is possibly Sachin’s last World Cup. At 38, he is not likely to play in the next World Cup at which time he will be 42. He has played six world cups but his team has not been able to win any. He is tremendously concerned of winning it this time which will most likely be his last. And that is pressure. India produces a very large number of quality cricketers annually which means the future of the current team depends to a good extent on their team winning or losing the World Cup. These weaknesses must be capitalised by Sri Lankans.

 Both Asian ODI cricketing superpowers are tussling out to become the first Asian team to win the World Cup twice. Sri Lanka with three appearances in the final during the last six world cups deserve to win this over India which only made it twice during this time.

 Good luck Sri Lanka! We want above average performance from you today and you can do it.

12 Responses to “Above Average Performance Needed to Win the World Cup”

  1. NeelaMahaYoda Says:

    But Sangakkara lost his marbles even before the World cup final–
    See the Yahoo News-

    India favourites to win World Cup, says Sangakkara By AR Hemant, Yahoo! Cricket
    Mumbai: Kumar Sangakkara looked unusually glum today; his voice lacked the usual thrust and firmness, his nose pointed lower than where it generally is as he addressed the media ahead of Saturday’s World Cup final with India.
    The tired-looking disposition apart, Sangakkara said he believed his team would turn up to do what they do best, despite fitness worries. All-rounder Angelo Matthews will skip the match due to a side strain; off-spinner Suraj Randiv will replace him while veteran seamer Chaminda Vaas was asked to join the squad as backup.
    Sangakkara admitted India were favourites to win. “They have got to the finals so everyone will look to the Indians to keep doing that and keep playing as well as they have,” he said.
    “We’re not underdogs, we’re a pretty good unit,” he added. “But we have to understand the fact that the Indians, over the last year or two have been tagged as the favourites to win this World Cup. I’m sure they will be looking at themselves as favourites too. We will just turn up tomorrow and play as well as we can.”

  2. Dham Says:

    Some arithmetical mistake 111+33 = 144 and 201+35 = 236 . Therefore the answer is 237 not 230. Slightly better. But India 287 bad for us.

    but a lot more errors here. Even the balls do not add up. Your excel sheet has some problem. Please check.

  3. Dilrook Says:


    Appreciate your thorough check. No; there are no errors there. It doesn’t add down whole number to whole number due to rounding. Averages are rounded in the presentation but are taken into the calculation.

    In the calculation for the last batsman leading to 300 balls, the average cannot be added. It has to be proportionate to the available balls (Remaining balls times strike rate). = (300-265)*85 = 29.75. Considering rounding, 29.75+200.6=230.35 (230)

    The same goes for the adding of balls. Presentation is rounded but the addition takes into account 2 decimals.

    Anyway it doesn’t change the conclusion – we need above average performance to win. And we are capable of it.

  4. Dilrook Says:


    That is very disappointing. So not Sanga like. Thanks for the link.

    Hopefully this is not the entire story yahoo news refers to.

    It is a fact that India has the edge as per the calculations but that means we have to do just a little bit better. And we win. It’s the same in 1996. Australia was way ahead of us in averages but Aravinda, Gurusinghe, Jayasuriya and the rest of the team performed above their historic numbers in bowling, batting and fielding (subject to a few exceptions). And that won the match for us. We have been there before. We certainly can do it.

  5. Kit Athul Says:

    Every one of you guys are wrong. Sri Lanka must go with the thought that we beat India at war and now in peace time; we can beat them in Sports. I bet Sri Lanka will win!

  6. Dham Says:

    Thanks Dilrook. You are right. We have to perform a bit better.
    Sanga will try. If he plays above average he can surpass Tendulkar. DIlshan too can whack Indian bowlers.
    India will be under pressure than us. They will spill catches.
    Who knows, Kulasekara might strike early if lucky.
    I have a feeling we are going to win anyway.

  7. Kit Athul Says:

    Dilrook, Ha, ha, You were wrong! so are most of you. At 270 SL is going to WIN,WIN. Did any one predit Perera to hit a SIX?

  8. Kit Athul Says:

    Dilrook, You were right and I was wrong. What happed to Murali?

  9. Dilrook Says:

    Kit Athul,

    Unfortunately I was not proven wrong. A sad day for all Sri Lankan cricket lovers. Murali bowled reasonably well. It was Kulasekera and Perera who got hammered. Malinga wasn’t supported by a fast bowler. We subsidised poor batting with average bowlers who batted better than 2 dedicated batsmen! They did a marvelous job batting but failed bolwing. The two passengers didn’t contribute anything. Herath, Mendis or Dilhara should have replaced one of them. Kapugedara is a big pretender. He dives after the ball has passed!

    Anyway the good thing is we made to consecutive finals a feat not matched by many teams recently. It means we are “hanging in there”. We must be doing something right. Keep doing it and fix the shortcomings. ICC final should be held in neutral venues. Not that it matters much but it takes out irrelevancies from the equation.

    A match to forget.

  10. Dham Says:

    We spilled catches not Indians. Kularsekara was a disaster. In fact my team and your team was the same but your predictions were correct.
    It is shame we wasted a world cup because of too much emotion of playing Murali.

  11. Rohan Says:

    @Kit Athul what’s war got to do with cricket. I don’t get it. Yes games like Chess and Cricket mimic military strategy very closely. But kingdoms are built or destroyed in these without blood being shed or very little in Cricket’s case. Bringing war into it is very silly, as people suffer immensely in war losing loved ones and destrutction of property etc both sides suffer. To campare the great evil of war to cricket and say, yes because we beat them in war we can beat them in a sport. This kind of thinking should be banished and it cannot be healthy. Also congratulations to India they played marvellous to win the world cup on home soil.

  12. Dilrook Says:


    That’s right.

    Yes, along wth Murali we played other “big names”, not real performers.

    There were a few fighters but its a team thing.

    2015! That’s what we should think now. In planning terms, 4 years is not too long.

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