JOHANNESBURG. – South Africa head to the ICC Cricket World as one of the strong favourites, behind only co-hosts Australia as one of the teams that could potentially win the whole tournament, but one or two doubts still hang over the Proteas, not least their bowlerâs ability to perform in the âdeathâ overs.
But one-day international (ODI) stats for the last two years show that the Proteas have the most miserly attack in the world in the last 10 overs of an innings.
In 51 ODIs since January 2013, South Africa have conceded an average of just 6,91 runs to the over in the last 10 overs of an innings.
The next best economy rate at the âdeathâ with the ball in hand belongs to India, who have conceded an average of 7,29 runs to the over in the last 10 overs of a match while Australia have conceded an average of 7,32 runs to the over.
There has been concerns about which bowlers the Proteas will entrust with the last 10 overs of an innings but in Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Imran Tahir they have three bowlers whoâs stats are as good as just about anyone in the one-day game.
Looking just at their performances in the last 10 overs of an innings since January 2013, Steyn has 15 wickets at an average of 18 and economy rate of 6,94 – Morkel has 20 wickets at an economy rate of 7,16 – and Tahir has 10 wickets at an average of 20,20 and an economy rate of 5,29.
Stats can be misleading of course but the aforementioned stats do show that South Africa may have a few more options up their sleeve for the thankless task of bowling the âdeathâ overs than many fans and pundits fear.
South Africa have been the most efficient team in ODI cricket when it comes to bowling across an entire innings since January 2013.
The Proteas take a wicket every 33,5 balls at an average of just 27 while conceding 4,95 runs to the over.
Australia are the next best on the list, taking a wicket every 36,8 balls at a cost of 31,41 while conceding 5,11 runs to the over.
The South Africans have a lot of faith in the ability of legspinner Tahir to take wickets during the middle overs, a time when batting teams are usually content to score runs methodically to set them up for a big charge at the end of their innings.
South Africaâs bowling performances during the middle overs may provide the key as to why they have been so efficient, stats wise, during the âdeathâ overs.
South Africa average a wicket every 29,55 runs between the 10th and 40th overs, a world-leading figure, and the picking up of wickets during those overs means that oppositions teams often enter the âdeathâ overs against South Africa with less wickets in hand than they would like.
The Proteas will also be boosted by the fact that their three biggest opponents in Pool B in the World Cup all concede on average more than seven runs to the over during the last 10 overs of an innings. India average 7,29, Pakistan average 7,45 and West Indies average 7,46 runs to the over. – Cricinfo.