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Why teams are opting to field first more often now in T20Is

Mohammad Bilal
Mohammad BilalSep 03, 2022 | 18:00

Why teams are opting to field first more often now in T20Is

Babar Azam and Rohit Sharma arrive for the toss for the second match of Asia Cup 2022. Photo: AFP

Toss has started to play a key role in international T20 cricket these days. Nine out of 10 times, teams are willing to chase a target rather than setting one.

For example, in the ongoing Asia Cup,  in the five matches played so far, teams chasing has won four times. In the T20 World Cup last year, in 10 games played, 9 times the team chasing a target won the game.

Tosses win matches: The most glaring example to show toss as a deciding factor is the India vs Pakistan T20I recently played. India having won the toss opted to bowl first and easily chased down the target. Last year in T20 World Cup, Pakistan won the toss and decided to bowl first and Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam easily guided Pakistan to victory. Even against New Zealand, India batted first and lost the game and was shunned outside the tournament.

Especially in Dubai, there is a high probability teams chasing a total winning the game.

Apart from this there are several other advantages of batting second:

Pitch condition: At times, pitch might be fresh and there might be grass on it in the first innings, which can help the bowling side. Moreover, there might be moisture on the pitches. All these advantages might not be there in the second innings. Any captain will try to cash in on to these advantages by winning the toss and having an upper hand in the game.

Setting a strategy: While chasing, the batters have a clear idea of a run-rate to keep in mind while batting. This also makes the captain change the batting order and hence the teams can easily chase the target. For example, in a recent game against Pakistan on August 28, Ravindra Jadeja, who bats down the order, was promoted at number of four. Jadeja played a good knock of 35 off 29 balls.

Ravindra Jadeja batting against Pakistan in the first qualifying match of Asia Cup 2022. Photo: AP

A statistical ananlysis done by The Print revealed that in three out of four pitches in Dubai except the Abu Dhabi wicket, teams batting second were more likely to win. So, in the upcoming matches of Asia Cup 2022, toss will be a big deciding factor.

In short, a clear pattern has emerged in T20 cricket, win the toss, bowl first and win the game.

Last updated: September 03, 2022 | 18:00
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