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Is Strike Rate Overrated?- A Case Study Of S Meghana For RCB In WPL 2024

WPL 2024: S Meghana has been a formidable force to reckon with since her domestic cricket days. Her entry to Team India on the back of good performances was also not very surprising. After a lukewarm season with Gujarat Giants in WPL 2023, S Meghana was picked by the Royal Challengers Bangalore for the second season of the WPL. Her selection would augur well for the set-up, which was in dire need of an ideal #3.

In WPL 2024, S Meghana has raked up 168 runs in 6 innings at an average of 33.6 and she currently sits on the third position in the highest run-getters list of this edition of the WPL. Now, these numbers look great for a player who is coming in at #3 or is opening (on some occasions) and has scored runs when the team needed her to step up.

But the pertinent question is what is her strike rate? It is a middling- 112.75. This might seem criminal in the men’s game but in the women’s game, it is not all that is looked down upon but then, why are we discussing it for S Meghana?

For the uninitiated, a batter’s strike rate gauges their ability to score quickly by determining the average number of runs they make per 100 balls faced. A higher strike rate reflects a batter’s proficiency in scoring swiftly.

But is it still worth investigating deeper into?

Player Runs Strike Rate
Smriti Mandhana (RCB) 243 153.79
Meg Lanning (DC) 201 122.56
Amelia Kerr (MI) 174 138.09
S Meghana (RCB) 168 112.75
Alice Capsey (DC) 167 135.77
Grace Harris (UPW) 166 143.1

Table 1: Strike Rates of the top 6 highest run-getters in WPL 2024 [Updated till MI v UPW- Match 14 of the WPL]

ALSO READ: WPL 2024: Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) – SWOT Analysis

A quick comparison with the other top run-getters in this list indicates that S Meghana has a lesser strike rate in comparison to her compatriots. While she has piled on the runs for RCB and has contributed but the concerning trend is that of her inability to accelerate and score boundaries at will, switch rotation and scour for more singles and convert them to doubles, poor running between the wickets and the piling on dot balls in the powerplay are among the many areas that have come under the scanner.

S Meghana has blown hot and cold for RCB. [Image: Getty]
S Meghana has blown hot and cold for RCB. [Image: Getty]

But how have S Meghana’s other teammates in RCB fared in this regard?

Player Runs Strike Rate
Smriti Mandhana (RCB) 243 153.79
S Meghana (RCB) 168 112.75
Ellyse Perry 157 131.93
Richa Ghosh 139 152.74
Georgia Wareham 81 155.76

Table 2: Strike Rates of the top 5 highest run-getters for RCB in WPL 2024 [Updated till GG v RCB- Match 13 of the WPL]

S Meghana’s middling strike rate in the WPL 2024, as evidenced by the comparison with her teammates and other top run-getters, raises concerns about her effectiveness in high-pressure situations and her ability to accelerate the scoring rate when needed.

This was especially highlighted in RCB’s high-scoring run chases especially in the match versus DC in the Bangalore leg where in the run chase of 194, she scored an indifferent 36 off 31 and in the match against Gujarat Giants in the Delhi leg where in the pursuit of 199, she scored a dismal 4 off 13 balls which was disappointing and drew the ire of fans and experts alike.

In the latter match, RCB ended up losing by 19 runs and had S Meghana stepped up and accelerated perhaps the match outcome could have been different ensuring RCB would get 2 crucial points and a push in the points table, setting them up well for the remainder of the tournament.

While she has contributed with runs for RCB, her relatively lower strike rate suggests that she struggles to score boundaries at will and accumulates too many dot balls, particularly in the powerplay overs. While her batting position has been shuffled across from #3 to the opening spot to replace the struggling Sophie Devine, it has been tricky.

ALSO READ: WPL 2024: Smriti Mandhana-Ellyse Perry Guide RCB To A Comfortable Win Over UP Warriorz

In comparison to her teammates, such as Smriti Mandhana, who boasts a significantly higher strike rate, Meghana’s inability to match the pace of scoring can become a hindrance for RCB, especially in big run chases where quick scoring is essential. When analyzing her strike rate alongside her teammates’, it becomes evident that she needs to improve her ability to rotate the strike and find gaps in the field to keep the scoreboard ticking, especially in the crucial early overs.

In high-pressure situations, such as run chases or setting a competitive total, every run matters, and a lower strike rate can lead to increased pressure on the batting side. Meghana’s inability to accelerate the scoring rate could hinder RCB’s chances of success in such situations, as they may find themselves falling behind the required run rate or struggling to build momentum.

To benefit RCB and contribute more effectively to the team’s success, Meghana needs to address her middling strike rate by working on her shot selection, ability to find gaps in the field, and rotating the strike more frequently. By improving her scoring rate, particularly in high-pressure situations, she can play a more significant role in RCB’s performances and contribute to the team’s success in the WPL 2024.

S Meghana will look to up her game. [Image: Getty]
S Meghana will look to up her game. [Image: Getty]

Why is a high strike rate of such prime importance?

In T20 cricket, where matches are shorter and the pace is faster, scoring quickly is essential. A batter with a high strike rate puts pressure on the opposing team’s bowlers and it forces them to adjust their tactics, potentially leading to mistakes or conceding more runs. If Meghana continues to struggle from one end, it puts pressure on the batter at the other end who would be forced to be the aggressor to offset this lack of runs and might be dismissed in this pursuit, which is far from ideal.

T20 cricket is highly momentum-driven and a batter who can maintain a high strike rate keeps the momentum in their team’s favour, often demoralizing the opposition and energizing their team. While strike rate alone may not determine a player’s value, it is indicative of their adaptability and ability to play aggressive or defensive innings as per the team’s requirements.

In T20s, versatility is highly valued, and a high strike rate suggests a player’s capability to adapt to different match situations. In T20 cricket, where every run counts and time is limited, maximizing scoring opportunities becomes crucial. While strike rate is important, it is certainly not the sole determinant of a player’s worth.

Factors such as consistency, ability to build partnerships, and match-winning performances also play significant roles in evaluating a player’s contribution to the team. Therefore, while strike rate is vital, it should be considered alongside other metrics to assess a player’s overall impact in T20 cricket.

As RCB heads into their final two league matches, can S Meghana up her ante or will RCB look at other options? Only time will tell.

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