With more than 1 billion fans globally and the Indian subcontinent alone boasting of more than 90% of them,  cricket is a sport that gets all the attention in India. India is a cricket-crazy nation and it’s not just a sport in India but a religion connecting millions together. With World Cup 2019 all set to begin, there is excitement across the globe for that one trophy. 10 teams, 11 venues, 48 matches but only one final at Lord’s. Wondering who will win the much-awaited event?   Will the Kohli-led men in Blue take home the trophy? Though it might not be possible to predict with accuracy which team is on the winning side, however, data science can definitely play a crucial role in gleaning meaningful insights on who are the top contenders for the 2019 trophy.

Data science and artificial intelligence are already making a great impact across diverse industries. Sports is no exception. This is not the first time data science is being used in sports. Many big names (NBA and German football team) in sports have used the power of data science to derive valuable insights from data. It’s not only the cricketing stalwarts who are making the big predictions but even data is helping extract valuable insights on which teams are all set to battle it out for one of the most coveted trophies in sport.

Cricket + Data Science = CricScience, a perfect match made in Heaven

Most of the sports fanatics and enthusiasts are of the thought that too much of technology is killing the human factor in cricket. People think that data analysis drives out the mystery from the world cup 2019 or pre-match analysis and prediction changes the game strategy. Well, these thoughts might be subjective to deal with but the reality is that “Data Never Lies” and by applying data science in cricket you can definitely extract value from it. It is not just our men in blue sweating it but data science also working equally hard. Sports authorities across the globe are making the most of machine learning and AI predictions to predict the cricket world cup winner for 2019. The game of cricket not just generates excitement and thrill but also generates huge amounts of data be it the figures that come from batsmen and bowlers,. The insights from this data can be of great help for the broadcasters, players, and fans to make predictions about a team’s performance. The goal of Data Science in Cricket is not just to predict match outcomes but also help improve the game strategies for the teams.

As the cricket sunshine breaks through the Brexit clouds, various trained models are being developed to make predictions from the data collected on the Cricket world cup from 1975 to present.  A predictive analysis model created for 2019 Cricket World Cup  by taking into consideration a total of 65 different stats (such as bowline averages, batting averages, death overs performances, win-loss ratio, power play performances, and more) predicted England and India as the top two contenders for the trophy. The ensemble classification model predicted that team England has a higher probability of winning than India. The reason for this is because the earlier world cups were won by hosting nation teams and England has a fantastic record of winning matches at their home ground. This analysis is not just beneficial to the viewers but also helps various teams plan and strategize their game.

Data science is not merely helpful for predicting the most favorable team for the tournaments but also helps glean valuable insights for other use cases. From players to coaches to sponsors, data science can make a huge difference in cricket.

  • Help the Captain Make Informed Decisions

Data science can be of great help to the captain in critical situations. It can help solve any chanciness attached to a batsman or a bowler’s performance in a given condition. With the use of various statistical tools and trained machine learning models, the probability of a particular player’s performance can be assessed under specific conditions. Applying machine learning is crucial to take impulse and guesswork out of the equation in critical situations of LOSS/WIN. Data analytics can help a captain decide “Which batsman should bat first for a super-over?” or “Which bowler from the team should bowl the last over?” or “Which batsmen have a greater probability to bat under given weather conditions against a right-handed bowler?”. The machine learning models to assess a player’s performance are trained by taking multiple factors into account such as the opposing team’s strengths and weaknesses, the pitch information, ground information, weather conditions, and more. Predicting or classifying any future events helps the captain make the right decision on and off the field.

  • Engage Cricket Fans

Forget about the days when people used to chase cricket, it is cricket today running behind fans with scorecards and data. The statistical data about a single bowler and a batsman highlights the wickets left, runs scored for every delivery faced, the manner in which the ball was swung, the way a player responded to a particular ball, and a lot more. All this data helps   the game in a better manner than just looking at who is winning the match. It is not just the players’ data that fosters for fan engagement but also sports authorities, who have access to fan data through multiple digital channels of communication like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and others. This fan data helps analyse how fans engage with a particular team’s brand so that companies can serve custom-made ads and broadcast content based on the analysis. Fan engagement has a direct impact on the sponsorships for the game as predictions can result in higher spend in  future tournaments.

  • Improve Player Performance

Imagine if an Indian batsman is not performing well. By analysing the past performance and batsman’s other practices, the team can glean insights on what kind of deliveries the performance of the batsman deteriorates. The models can be trained for different conditions and visualizations can help find out which areas the batsman needs to work on to improve his performance. Data scientists can help deliver the most important predictions for players and coaches to make informed decisions for better results on the field.

Will data science be the BIG winner this World Cup 2019?

If all the predictions and AI are to be believed,  our men have only one stumbling block in their path to the cup- the hosting nation England. Only time will tell who will be crowned. If you are passionate about cricket and love analysing cricket performances, get started with learning data science and train your own machine learning models to predict who will take home the trophy.