The 2015 Cricket World Cup is now into the knockout stages, with all eight quarter-finalists being full member nations. If you are interested in the probability of each team winning the tournament, we have been tracking the odds for each nation, and you can view these here.
Here we aim to look at the performances of associate nations over the World Cups this century in order to see whether their performances suggest they are becoming more or less competitive.
We will look at the average run rate for both member nations and associates across each tournament. Run rate is calculated by dividing the total runs scored in an innings by the number of balls that team faced.
So for example, if a team score 300/6 runs in 50 overs, then their run rate is 300/50 = 6.
If a team are chasing a target of 299, and they achieve it in 30 overs by scoring 300/6, then their run rate is 300/30 = 10.
However, if a team are bowled out then their run rate is calculated using the full number of overs they were expected to face. So if a team were 100 all out from 20 overs, their run rate would be 100/50 = 2.
We will just be looking at matches between associate nations and member nations, and only taking matches from the main group stage, despite Kenya and Ireland qualifying to the next round in 2003 and 2007 respectively. This is because these better associate teams would face more matches than the others, skewing the results.
Below we can see the run rates for our nations:
For the associates, we can see that they've clearly been improving in their run rate, but this doesn't given us a great idea of whether they have been getting closer to the member nations, so below are the differences in run rate between the member and associate nations:
We can also look at the differences between associates and members in the Twenty20 World Cup, this is shown below:
The stats for the 50 over World Cup show that there is clear improvement in the competitiveness of the associate nations, raising questions as to why the ICC has now decided to all but end their involvement in their sport's most high-profile event.
However, even if the associates were failing to challenge the larger nations, the only way these countries are going to develop into better teams are through further contests with the big boys. It is astonishing how the ICC seems to be the only governing body in world sport who actively wants to discouraging spreading the reach of its game.