‘Kya chance hai Pakistan ka? Teray numbers kya kehtay hain?’ (What are the chances of Pakistan? What do your numbers say?), asked my friend when I met him recently. Many teams around the world have realized the importance of numbers in cricket and embraced big data. So what does the previous data and results say about Pakistan’s chances of success at the ICC Champions Trophy 2017?
Before I start my case for Pakistan, I just wanted to clear that this article will purely be based on statistics and numbers of Pakistan and other teams in recent ICC Trophies. It will NOT take into account the recent form of the team or the squad depth. Teams have been ranked on their Win % in ICC Tournaments/Champions Trophy. Win % accounts for the percentage number of wins by teams in their completed, result-oriented matches in the tournament.
Pakistan’s win percentage in matches in ICC tournaments puts it at number 7 with a win % of only 54%. Australia boasts the highest win % among all teams winning 74 of their 101 completed matches. Their trophy win % is also the highest as they have won 6 of the 18 ICC Tournaments in the 50-over format. Trophy wins % accounts for a team’s chances of winning this ICC Trophy based on their performance in ICC tournaments before this. Pakistan has won only 1 of the 18 trophies, which puts them at joint-6th if ranked by trophy win %. England is ranked lowest among the top 8 teams having won no ICC 50-over format trophy till date.
Analyzing the Pakistan’s leaders in recent ICC trophies, Shahid Afridi appears of be the most successful among them all. He first captained Pakistan in ICC Champions Trophy 2009 in Younis Khan’s absence vs West Indies, leading his side to victory. His sublime captaincy in WC 2011 helped Pakistan qualify for the semi-final stage in World Cups for the first time since 1999. He has lost only two matches in ICC tournaments,boasting a win % of almost 78. Younis Khan is Pakistan’s worst captain in ICC tournaments with a win % of only 33%.
Shahid Afridi is also Pakistan’s best captain at ICC Champions Trophy, winning his only game in 2009. Inzamam-ul-Haq follows him with 2 wins in 3 at the 2004 event. He remained unbeaten in the group-stage but lost to West Indies in the semi-final. Younis Khan is the only Pakistani to lead in two ICC Champions Trophies, 2006 and 2009. He led Pakistan to the semifinals in 2009 but has won only 2 of his 6 matches in the tournament altogether.
If you are a Pakistan fan and believe in patterns and superstitions, then history and its pattern suggests that Pakistan will qualify for the semi-final of ICC Champions Trophy 2017. They have managed to do it in alternate tournaments, 2000, 2004, 2009 and went back home after just the group-stage/pre-semi final stage in 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2013.
If that doesn’t helps you believe me, Pakistan’s win % against its group members from the 2017 edition will help you believe me. Champions Trophy is the only ICC event where Pakistan has actually beaten India, twice and its record against Sri Lanka in encouraging for us to believe that 2017 could be our year. Our record against South Africa is not at all encouraging but at the end, it’s Pakistan – the most unpredictable team in the tournament.