The upcoming One Day International (ODI) World Cup is set to take place in India, where pitches usually favor spinners. However, during day-night matches, the situation changes drastically due to the dew factor. Spinners become less effective, and fast bowlers face challenges. This shift in conditions can significantly impact the outcome of the game.
The World Cup is scheduled to run from October 5th to November 19th. During these months, dew tends to fall in most Indian cities, raising concerns about the impact of winning the toss, choosing to field first, and ultimately winning the tournament. In this blog, we will delve into the statistics of day-night matches in India over the last decade to determine which cities are more likely to witness dew playing a crucial role.
Understanding the Dew Factor:
In day-night matches, winning the toss often prompts captains to opt for bowling first due to the dew factor. When asked, captains often cite the dew as a significant factor in their decision-making. Dew causes the outfield and pitch to become damp, affecting the game.
When a batsman plays a shot on dew-soaked grass, the ball tends to skid, making it challenging for fielders to grip the ball. Spinners struggle to get turn on the ball, and pacers find it hard to maintain control. As a result, batsmen gain the upper hand, making it easier to score runs. The team chasing the target benefits from these conditions.
When Does Dew Start to Set In?
In most Indian cities, dew tends to start falling after 9 PM. In colder weather, its impact can be felt as early as 7:30 PM. Dewdrops form on the upper blades of grass, referred to as “dew.” These dewdrops persist from night until the early morning hours.
Using Chemicals to Combat Dew:
During the World Cup, anti-dew sprays will be used to reduce the impact of dew on the grounds. However, these chemicals may not be as effective against dew in India. Even during the Indian Premier League (IPL), anti-dew sprays are used, but they do not have a significant impact on countering dew, providing an advantage to the chasing teams.
Why Hasn’t the Match Timing Been Adjusted?
Several former cricketers, including Ravi Ashwin, suggested changing the timing of World Cup matches to reduce the dew factor. Ashwin proposed starting matches at 11:00 AM or 12:00 PM to finish them before the dew sets in, depriving the chasing team of an advantage. However, it is believed that the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have not altered match timings due to broadcaster pressure. Broadcasters prefer to keep matches in prime time (from 7 PM to 10 PM) to maximize viewership and advertising revenue.
Effect of Dew on India in Past World Cups:
Dew has played a crucial role in India’s performance in recent T20 World Cups. Here are three instances where dew impacted the outcome of World Cup matches:
- 2016: India vs. West Indies (Semi-Final)
During the 2016 T20 World Cup, India faced West Indies in the semi-final in Mumbai. India batted first and scored 192 runs. West Indies began their innings after 9 PM, by which time dew had already set in. Despite having quality bowlers like Jasprit Bumrah, Ravi Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, and Ashish Nehra, India couldn’t grip the ball effectively. West Indies won the match by 7 wickets, preventing India from reaching the final.
- 2021: India vs. Pakistan (Group Stage)
In the 2021 T20 World Cup, India faced Pakistan in a group-stage match in Dubai. India batted first and posted 151 runs for the loss of 7 wickets. During Pakistan’s innings, dew made the pitch easier for batting. Pakistan’s openers took advantage of the conditions, and they won the match by 10 wickets, marking their first-ever T20 World Cup victory against India.
- 2022: India vs. England (Semi-Final)
In the 2022 T20 World Cup, India faced England in a semi-final match in Adelaide. India batted first and scored 168 runs for the loss of 6 wickets. Dew played a significant role in the second innings as England comfortably chased down the target of 169 runs within 16 overs. Indian bowlers couldn’t take a single wicket in the dewy conditions.
Impact of Dew in the Upcoming World Cup:
Based on the statistics from the past 10 years of One Day Internationals and IPL records at all ten World Cup venues, it is evident that dew can significantly affect the outcome of matches in certain cities. Here’s a look at two stadiums where dew is likely to play a crucial role:
- Ahmedabad – Providing an Edge to Chasing Teams:
Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad has hosted day-night ODIs since 2013. Out of the four matches played here, chasing teams have won twice. The pitch, though generally batting-friendly, has favored chasing sides over the past two years in the IPL, with teams batting second winning more than 52% of the matches. Dew makes batting easier in the latter innings.
- Mumbai – Known for Challenging Dew Conditions:
Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai has hosted four day-night ODIs in the last decade. Chasing teams have won three out of four matches, indicating that dew poses a significant challenge. The pitch is generally not favorable for spinners, with 78% of wickets falling to pacers since 2013.
Dew is expected to play a substantial role in the upcoming ODI World Cup matches, particularly in certain cities like Ahmedabad and Mumbai. Teams winning the toss and choosing to bowl first may have an advantage due to the dew factor, making it easier to chase targets. However, the impact of dew on the tournament’s overall outcome remains to be seen, as other factors like team strategy, form, and adaptability will also play a crucial role in determining the champion of the Cricket World Cup Series, Part 7.