How to Calculate Net Run Rate in Cricket: The Equation Explained

If you are a cricket fan, at some point you would have been tense about your team’s net run rate (NRR) in a tournament. According to the rules, when two teams in the points table of any tournament in cricket are tied in points, the net run rate becomes the determiner of which team progresses to the next round, in case there is a chance to progress. But what’s interesting is that not many people understand what NRR is and how it is calculated? And then we end up waiting for the statisticians to come up with the numbers, regarding what to do to qualify and what not.

Here’s a simple guide to understanding it, so that you can calculate what your team needs in case there is a clash on NRR

Basics of NRR (Net Run Rate)

The net run rate in one game is the difference between the average runs that the team scores in its allotted overs, and the average runs per over scored by the team playing against them. In the case of the tournament, the net run rate is the difference between the average runs per over scored by the team across all the matches in the tournament and the average runs per over scored across all the matches, by the opposition against the team.

Note that in the case of the tournament, the net NRR may not be equal to the average of all NRRs of individual matches of the team. If the NRR of the team is positive, it means that it is scoring better than the opposition. On the other hand, if the NRR of the team is negative, it means the opposition is brisker in scoring against them. Note that in the calculation of the NRR, the number of fallen wickets does not come into consideration.

NRR has always been criticized because it does not provide the true essence of victory (since the wickets lost are not taken into consideration, and also the quality of the opponents). The first time the NRR concept was used in Cricket World Cups was in 1992, and before this, just the run rate was used as a tie-breaker between same point teams.

Mathematical Explanation of Net Run Rate

The run rate is defined as the number of average runs scored by the team in the match. For example, in a 50 over the match, if the team has scored 250, then the run rate of their innings is 5. Every over is made of 6 balls, and there is a total of 300 balls maximum in a one-day game.

Therefore, (run rate = a total number of runs scored / total overs faced).

The net run rate also takes into consideration how fast the opposition team has scored. Therefore, incorporating that into the equation:

(Net Match Run Rate = (total number of runs scored/total overs faced) – (total number of runs conceded/total overs bowled). If the two teams have just completed playing, and it’s their only match till then, the winning team will always have a positive NRR and the losing team will have a negative NRR.

There are some points and exceptions to NRR calculation that must be considered:

• If the team is bowled out before their complete quota of overs, the net run rate calculation still takes into consideration the total number of overs and not the overs in which the team has lost all their wickets.
• If the match has been interrupted by rain or any other reason, usually the Duckworth-Lewis method is used to adjust the target and/or the number of total overs. The revised target and overs are used for the first team’s innings and the actual target and overs are used for the second team’s innings.
• If the match has been abandoned or is deemed a no result, no NRR calculation will be done for the match.
• If the match is abandoned but a result is determined by using the Duckworth-Lewis Method, then the total number of overs that is assigned for each of the teams is the number faced by team 2. In this case, team 1 is provided with the par score of team 2, and the actual run scored by team 2 is used for their calculation.

How to Calculate Net Run Rate – Example Cases

Situation – A team bats first and wins the match

Suppose Team 1 has scored 287-6 in their quota of 50 overs, then their run rate is 5.74. On the other hand, if Team 2 does not chase the target successfully and completes their innings at 243-8 in 50 overs, then their run rate will be 4.86. The NRR of Team 1 after the match will be 5.74-4.86 = 0.88. On the other hand, the NRR of Team 2 after that match will be -0.88.

Situation – A Team That Bats Second in the Match Wins

Suppose Team 1 has been bowled out in their first innings with a score of 127 in 25 overs, then the run rate of the team after the innings will be 2.54. Note that it will take into consideration the overall number of overs, and not just the run rate in their innings (only for the NRR calculation).

Assume that Team 2 has chased the target in 30.5 overs, 128-4 is the score they are assumed to have made. But in this case, the total 50 overs for the second team is NOT taken into consideration. Only the number of overs they faced to chase the target is considered. In this case, the run rate of the second team is 128/(30.833) = 4.151

Therefore, the NRR for the match of team 1 will be -1.61, and the NRR for the match of team 2 will be 1.61.

Conclusion – NRR Calculation

Although NRR has been criticized for the approach, it is still the currently accepted way of breaking the ties on the points table. Another major criticism that NRR goes through is that team can manipulate it, in some ways, that they can choose which opponent to face and which not. For example, in the 1999 world cup, Australia needed to beat the West Indies to progress to the Super Six. But they wanted West Indies to qualify for the Super Six as well, rather than New Zealand because then Australia would get additional points if they had beat West Indies in the Super Six stage. After all, they had beaten West Indies on the group stage. Therefore, Australia can deliberately reduce the margin of victory so it does not affect the NRR rate of West Indies so much as to not give them any more chance to progress.

Despite all this, the method described above is used to calculate NRR. Get your calculators out and progress how your team is faring through these numbers now!

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