By: Chinmay Vaidya
In horror or mystery movies, the famous line is usually: "The Butler did it". We may be experiencing a similar situation unfold at the 2019 World Cup and it'll only be a horror movie for the opposition. Jos Buttler, England's explosive finisher, will be expected to deliver big-time results at the end of innings. England is already one of the best run-scoring teams in the tournament, but Buttler's impact goes beyond runs on the board. He's usually the difference in wins and losses.
Most good players play well regardless of the final outcome. This isn't to say they don't impact the game, but they usually don't sway the result singlehandedly. Buttler, on the other hand, is volatile. As a hitter, he either clicks and produces runs in a hurry or gets out quickly trying to. This often determines what England finishes with on the board or how successful a chase is, depending on whether the team batted or bowled first. Here are Buttler's splits in wins and losses. The graphs below show his average and strike rate in wins and losses, with the blue bars representing his numbers in wins and the red bars showcasing the losses. Average is on the left, strike rate is on the right.
We're talking a 40+ run difference on average in wins versus losses for Buttler. Those runs come at significantly faster rate in wins. The conclusion here is simple: if Buttler clicks at the end of an innings, it's curtains for the opposition. This is further supporter by Buttler's century and half-century conversion rates in wins and losses. The blue bars are his conversion rates in wins and the red bars highlight the numbers in losses. The left graph is century rates and the right graph is half-century rates.
Buttler converts centuries and half-centuries at a ridiculously better margin in wins than in losses. But wouldn't these rules hold for every player? Surely everyone plays better in wins.
This is where we get to impact. I looked at the win-loss difference in averages for Jason Roy, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes, the rest of England's true batting lineup. Here are those numbers.
Root W-L: 64.67 vs. 36.44
Stokes W-L: 51.75 vs. 25.36
Morgan W-L: 51.24 vs. 28.1
Roy W-L: 46.81 vs. 29.14
Bairstow W-L: 58.2 vs. 32.11
We've already got Buttler's win-loss splits above and simple math says his differential will be the highest. But how much higher is it?
Oddly enough, the aggressive Roy has the least difference between wins and losses. Root is so brilliant in wins he has a high differential, but the rest of the group is fairly similar. Buttler is in a different conversation entirely with a differential at nearly double of Morgan. This further cements Buttler as England's most impactful player.
Note: All statistics as of May 25, 2019