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Economy rate in cricket, explained

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Economy rate in cricket is the average number of runs conceded per over bowled. It is a significant indicator of how productive the bowler has been, especially in limited-overs. 

Lower economy rate means the bowler has been extremely effective in stopping the opposition from scoring runs, and vice versa. Hence, this value typically has more substance in ODI as well as T20 cricket. This is because these formats expect bowlers to restrict the flow of runs as the opposition try to do otherwise. 

While there are no set numbers, it is believed that an economy of under five is considered to be a decent return in ODI cricket. Similarly, in Twenty20, anything less than seven runs per over is a respectable figure.

It must be noted that byes and leg byes are not counted in the bowler’s run tally. This means those extras have no effect on the player’s economy rate. However, extras like wides and no-balls are taken into consideration.

How to calculate the economy rate in cricket?

The economy rate in cricket is calculated by dividing the number of runs conceded by a bowler by the number of overs bowled.

Economy rate = Runs conceded/Overs bowled

To explain it in simple terms, take Mutthaiah Muralitharan’s career as an example. The Sri Lanka legend bowled a total of 18,811 deliveries in his ODI career which translates to as many as 3,135.2 overs.

During his 50-overs career that spanned between 1993 to 2011, he conceded 12,326 runs. So his career economy would be calculated as follows:

12,326 divided by 3,135.2, which is 3.93

Who has the best economy rate in cricket?

ODIs

Taking into account players who have played at least 100 ODI matches in their career, former New Zealand bowler Richard Hadlee has the best economy rate in the format. During his 17-year career, he maintained an economy of 3.30.

Overall, it’s Joel Garner of West Indies who tops the list for the best economy rate in ODI cricket. The former West Indies bowler finished his career with an economy of 3.09.

Best economy rate in ODI
Player Team Matches Overs bowled Runs conceded Economy
Joel Garner West Indies 98 888.4 2752 3.09
Max Walker Australia 17 168.1 546 3.25
Michael Hendrik England 22 208 681 3.27
Bob Willis England 64 599.2 1968 3.28
Richard Hadlee New Zealand 115 1030.4 3407 3.30

T20Is

Former New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori has the best economy rate in T20I. The legendary spinner played 34 T20Is between 2007 and 2014, finishing with a figure of 5.70 runs per over.

Best economy rate in T20I
Player Team Matches Overs bowled Runs conceded Economy
Daniel Vettori New Zealand 34 131.1 748 5.70
Dinesh Nakrani Uganda 28 93.4 543 5.79
Bernard Scholtz Namibia 29 90.4 534 5.88
Sunil Narine West Indies 51 183.4 1105 6.01
Mujeeb Ur Rahman Bangladesh 23 87.0 532 6.11

Featured photo: AFP / William West

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