ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 witnessed some outstanding bowling feats © Getty Images
ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 witnessed some outstanding bowling feats © Getty Images

As has always been the case, batsmen were the poster-boys of ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, but it was eventually bowlers who decided the fate of the matches, especially as the tournament reached its climax. Bharath Seervi analyses the bowling statistics of the World Cup 2015 in depth. ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: The CricketCountry XI

In the end, bowlers win you cricket matches (or, as Ravi Shastri would say, “In the end, bowlers are the winners”). In a so-called batsmen’s World Cup, the Man of the tournament was a Bowler. In seven out of 11 World Cups, the highest wicket-taker of the tournament was from the winning side, but the highest run-getter’s team have lifted the trophy only twice. ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Top 10 most memorable moments

With the conclusion of the 11th World Cup (in Oceania), let us analyze the bowling statistics (the batting statistics covered in the last article). ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Top 10 innings

Distribution of runs conceded by bowlers of each team

Team Runs Balls Dots Ones Twos Threes Fours Fives Sixes
Afghanistan 1348 1521 811 446 92 16 132 2 22
Australia 1491 1901 1124 470 120 19 141 2 25
Bangladesh 1614 1745 869 577 98 15 160 0 26
England 1287 1431 752 434 77 17 129 0 22
India 1655 2137 1256 579 95 14 157 0 36
Ireland 1737 1700 834 520 112 29 162 0 43
New Zealand 1750 2116 1229 554 99 14 182 0 38
Pakistan 1600 1905 1053 545 106 17 156 0 28
South Africa 1671 2113 1235 581 81 8 172 0 36
Scotland 1412 1430 738 425 73 13 142 0 39
Sri Lanka 1734 1857 944 578 110 18 180 0 27
UAE 1460 1488 726 479 94 21 139 0 29
West Indies 1804 1907 993 556 125 14 179 0 40
Zimbabwe 1730 1804 886 605 112 7 142 0 52
Total 22293 25055 13450 7349 1394 222 2173 4 463

India bowled the most dot balls, whereas UAE bowled the least. Among the Test-playing teams, England bowled the least dot balls. Zimbabwe conceded most singles; West Indies conceded most twos and Ireland most threes. New Zealand conceded most fours (they hit the most fours as well) and Zimbabwe were the only team to concede more than 50 sixes. ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Top 10 spells

Distribution of percentage of runs conceded by each team

Team Dots % 1-3 runs % Fours % Sixes %
Afghanistan 53.32 36.42 8.68 1.45
Australia 59.13 32.04 7.42 1.32
Bangladesh 49.80 39.54 9.17 1.49
England 52.55 36.90 9.01 1.54
India 58.77 32.19 7.35 1.68
Ireland 49.06 38.88 9.53 2.53
New Zealand 58.08 31.52 8.60 1.80
Pakistan 55.28 35.07 8.19 1.47
South Africa 58.45 31.71 8.14 1.70
Scotland 51.61 35.73 9.93 2.73
Sri Lanka 50.83 38.02 9.69 1.45
UAE 48.79 39.92 9.34 1.95
West Indies 52.07 36.44 9.39 2.10
Zimbabwe 49.11 40.13 7.87 2.88
Total 53.68 35.78 8.67 1.85

The Australians bowled nearly 60% of their balls as dots — highest by any team. Zimbabwe were the only team to bowl more than 40% of balls conceding singles (ones, twos and threes). Scotland nearly bowled 10% of their balls for fours to the opposition and Zimbabwe’s 2.88% deliveries went for a six. ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Top 5 catches

Bowlers conceding most ones, twos and threes in the tournament

Most Dots

Most Ones

Most Twos

Most Threes

Bowler Dots Bowler Ones Bowler Twos Bowler Threes
Trent Boult 336 Daniel Vettori 174 Wahab Riaz 30 Kevin O’Brien 8
Tim Southee 288 Imran Tahir 151 Tinashe Panyangara 29 Mohammad Naveed 8
Ravichandran Ashwin 279 Ravindra Jadeja 145 Tim Southee 27 Trent Boult 7
Morne Morkel 270 Shahid Afridi 129 Trent Boult 25 Lasith Malinga 6
Mitchell Starc 269 Ravichandran Ashwin 126 Jerome Taylor 25 Hamid Hassan, John Mooney 6

Do note the high proportion of spinners on the list. Cricket World Cup finals XI: Players who were outstanding on the day of finals

Bowlers conceding highest & lowest percentage of dots in the tournament (Min. 150 balls)

Highest % of Dots Lowest % of Dots
Bowler Dots% Bowler Dots%
Mitchell Starc 70.05 Krishna Chandran Karate 35.33
Kyle Abbott 67.20 Sean Williams 40.96
Mohammed Shami 66.39 Sulieman Benn 41.71
Trent Boult 65.88 Moeen Ali 42.11
Josh Hazlewood 65.76 Kevin O’Brien 43.48

Bowlers conceding highest & lowest percentage of ones, twos and threes combined in the tournament (Min. 150 balls)

Lowest % of 1-3 runs Highest % of 1-3 runs
Bowler 1-3 runs % Bowler 1-3 runs %
Kyle Abbott 23.12 Krishna Chandran Karate 53.33
Mohammed Shami 23.50 Sikandar Raza 52.08
Vernon Philander 23.84 Moeen Ali 50.44
Mitchell Starc 24.22 Sean Williams 49.08
Trent Boult 25.10 Andy McBrine 48.81

Bowlers conceding most fours and sixes in the tournament

Bowler Fours Bowler Sixes
Tim Southee 62 Tinashe Panyangara 15
Kevin O’Brien 47 Jason Holder 13
Taskin Ahmed 42 Dale Steyn 12
Sohail Khan 42 Andre Russell 12
Trent Boult 42 Kevin O’Brien 11

Bowlers conceding highest and lowest percentage of fours and sixes in the tournament (Min. 150 balls)

Highest % of fours Lowest % of fours Highest % of Sixes Lowest % of Sixes
Bowler Fours % Bowler Fours % Bowler Sixes % Bowler Sixes %
Kevin O’Brien 15.72 Sikandar Raza 2.08 Steven Finn 4.60 Alex Cusack 0.00
Iain Wardlaw 14.89 Daniel Vettori 2.42 Tinashe Panyangara 4.45 Marlon Samuels 0.00
Taskin Ahmed 13.68 Majid Haq 2.91 Jason Holder 3.71 Kyle Abbott 0.00
Tim Southee 12.76 Tillakaratne Dilshan 4.00 Corey Anderson 3.69 Lasith Malinga 0.26
Suranga Lakmal 12.50 Shahid Afridi 4.68 Kevin O’Brien 3.68 Hamid Hassan 0.33

In World Cup 2015, 139 bowlers bowled at least one ball. 135 of them were hit for at least one four. Shaiman Anwar (four balls), Kane Williamson (12 balls), Rilee Rossouw (12 balls) and Michael Clarke (30 balls) were the only ones without conceding a boundary. Top 10 batsmen in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

Alex Cusack and Marlon Samuels were the only bowlers to have bowled more than 200 deliveries without letting the opposite batsmen hit for a six. Top 10 bowlers in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

Bowling most number of dot balls in a match

Bowler Dots Against
Marlon Samuels 50 UAE
Dawlat Zadran 48 Scotland
Daniel Vettori 48 Afghanistan
Morne Morkel 47 UAE
Mohammad Irfan 47 Zimbabwe

In nine matches played by Trent Boult, he bowled more than 40 dot balls in four matches. Top 10 fielders in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

Conceding most fours in a match

Bowler Fours Against
Jerome Taylor 15 New Zealand
Taskin Ahmed 13 Sri Lanka
Kevin O’Brien 12 Zimbabwe
Kevin O’Brien 12 South Africa
Umesh Yadav 11 Australia
Wayne Parnell 11 India
Suranga Lakmal 11 England

–          11 out of 13 fours off Taskin Ahmed were hit by Tillakaratne Dilshan. ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: The Associate XI

Conceding most sixes in a match

Bowler Sixes Against
Steven Finn 6 New Zealand
Jason Holder 6 West Indies
Andre Russell 6 New Zealand
Jason Holder 6 New Zealand
Shapoor Zadran 5 Australia
Matt Machan 5 Sri Lanka
Daniel Vettori 5 West Indies
Tim Southee 5 West Indies

–          Finn conceded all his six sixes to Brendon McCullum and Jason Holder to AB de Villiers. Top 10 wicketkeepers in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

–          In the fourth quarter-final, Andre Russell and Jason Holder conceded six sixes each in the first inning to New Zealand batsmen. In the second innings, Tim Southee and Daniel Vettori conceded five sixes each to the West Indies batsmen. ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Moments that occurred for first time in a World Cup

(Bharath Seervi is a cricket statistician who is obsessed with digging numbers, facts and records related to the game. An active member of Society of Cricket Statisticians of India, he blogs at www.cricketseervistats.blogspot.com. He can be followed on Twitter at @SeerviBharath and on Facebook here)