Numbers don’t lie. Well, mostly. And in the world of sport, every passing day throws fascinating numbers at us to analyse and dissect. Many sports fans are statistics-nerds by default, because who doesn’t like to show off how good the team or player one supports is. With that in mind, The Field brings you to a weekly series on the numbers that made the news from around the sporting world, across varied publications.
Here’s a look at the key statistics that we came across in the past week (and a little more).
Since the start of the Premier League season, the Manchester City juggernaut has steamrolled their opponents. With 17 wins from 18 matches, Pep Guardiola’s men have secured the best start in the league’s history. The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager making his sides unstoppable. City is yet another team that has benefitted from his Tiki-Taka style of play and are on course to obliterate records. [The Field]
In India’s first ODI against Sri Lanka, the home side were dismissed for 112 runs – their lowest total since 2000. MS Dhoni, the sole resistor made up over 58 per cent of the runs. At 29 for 7, the former captain’s 87-ball 65 run stand was a lesson in patience. With ten fours and two sixes, he batted with an inexperienced tail to steer India away from an embarrassing double digit score. [The Field]
From 2010-2015, New Zealand missed just a little over a fifth of their chances to dismiss a batsman. The best among all teams. On other hand, India’s horrendous fielding have missed over 27 per cent of their chances – the third worst among all Test playing nations. Though India have been touted as one of the best fielding sides in the world, their inability to grab these chances could prove costly in South Africa. [Cricket Monthly]
Former World number one, this was Tiger Woods’ ranking after he played his first tournament of 2017. Woods has been out for most the year due to recurring back injury, among other things, but a ninth place finish at the Hero World Challenge was a promising sign for the 14-time major champion. Woods who has barely played over the last few years can’t seem to get back to his best. Despite high hopes from fans every time the 41-year-old steps onto the golf course, he’s been unable to deliver. [PGATOUR.com]
Throwback - 467 runs
The highest ever innings score by the Indian women’s Test cricket team. A record that stretches back to 2002. A young lower order batswoman, Mithali Raj scored 214 in the first innings to tee up her side for a memorable victory at Taunton. A patient Raj constructed a 157 run partnership with Jhulan Goswami against the English attack. The Indian captain has been part of three of the top four Test partnerships for India. All have been at Taunton. [Cricket Archive]
Mohun Bagan and East Bengal have both registered their 100th win in the I-league this season. Despite a storied history for both clubs, only Mohun Bagan have won the league in 2015. Both have a similar home to away win ratio. East Bengal have won 62 games at home, whereas Mohun Bagan have won 65. [The Field]
The secret behind Roger Federer’s incredible 2017? He made gear and personnel changes – tweaks that strengthened a part of Federer’s game that had long been targeted by his opponents. His backhand. The larger frame of the new racket allowed for a bigger sweet spot and thus, more power was on tap. Although this did not begin paying dividends in terms of titles immediately, it was evident that there was a new freedom with which the former world No 1 was hitting his backhands.
For instance, since 2014, there is a continuous increase in his percentage of winning backhands on breakpoints. To give an example of how large these improvements have been, consider this: in 2014, Federer won 18% of break points where he tried to hit a backhand winner. In 2016, that number was up to 35% and reached 55% in 2017. [The Field]