The 2015 World Cup started its start, and started its end, with Martin Guptill. That is, the first over of the first match, and the first over of the last match, started with him at the striker’s end. But it was what happened when he was at the non-striker’s end on the second of those two occasions that became the most referenced event in the first over of any match of that World Cup; Brendon McCullum was dismissed for a duck.
McCullum is gone from ODI cricket now, even if he is not yet fading from our memory. Guptill remains. When New Zealand bats first, he always bats in at least the first over. So how has he performed in the first over of an ODI match since the last World Cup?
He has not scored from a majority of his balls in this over of the game. This is not unexpected; it could be tentatively suggested that you would find such a result for any other opener who has played consistently since the last World Cup, such as Aaron Finch. It would also not be surprising to see that dismissals in the first over are likely to follow the Guptill trend – both of them involved dismissals that either involved the ball hitting the stumps (bowled) or an umpire thinking it would have done (LBW).
A more common occurrence is Guptill playing out a maiden over – it has happened on six occasions since the 2015 World Cup. The team’s score was not progressed during any of these overs either – no leg byes or any other extras were recorded in those overs. Dot ball pressure, therefore, if it is a helpful concept to understand, must be analysed over a longer period of the match, at least in Guptill’s case.
In terms of Guptill’s scoring, there have been 18 singles, three threes, three fours and no twos across all first overs of matches during this time. The truest anomaly of them all is the one six he has hit in the first over during that time, the ultimate early release from dot ball pressure.