How to Win at Twenty20: A Statistical Analysis

by Devanshu Mehta

As Sri Lanka beat Australia twice batting first, I began to wonder if there was an inherent bias in T20 towards sides batting first, batting second or winning the toss.

So I ran the numbers in StatsGuru, and as always, things aren’t as simple as they seem.

Win % in Twenty20 Internationals

Win % in Twenty20 Internationals

The blue bars are total win percentage of the team. Red bars are win percentage after winning the toss. Green is when batting first, purple is when batting second. These statistics are only for these eight teams when they play each other.

A few things stand out like a sore thumb:

  • Australia do significantly better when they win the toss.
  • India do worse when the win the toss.
  • India like to bat first.
  • Sri Lanka doesn’t care– win the toss, lose the toss, bat first, bat second, their win percentage remains the same.
  • South Africa like to win the toss. And bat first.

Overall, sides batting first seem to have a slight advantage. This was not true in the IPL, at least anecdotally. I’d love to run the numbers for each IPL, to see how they differ and how they have changed over time.