At BlobCity we used our AI & ML skills to predict the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 winners. Only time will tell if we are correct. We announced our predictions on 27 Jun, while India & West Indies Match #34 was in progress and we correctly predicted for India to be the winning team.
So who will win the trophy? Well here are our predictions for Match 34 to 45.
We did use multiple prediction models and in some cases where we got conflicting results, we have both teams equal points assuming a draw match.
We did Tweet the above predictions to give proof of time of prediction. Here is the Tweet: https://twitter.com/BlobCity/status/1144273488045232129
The final predicted points table, leaving out any extra points the team may get due to winning margins, is as below.
So, according to this, India will play England in the first semi-finals and the second semi-finals will happen between Australia and New Zealand. If we do have our predictions right, then Australia and India will win in their respective semi’s and play the final for the ICC Cricket World Cup.
How did we do it?
We used a neural network for predicting the winners. There is no human bias in the equation, just a computer program saying who will win. A simple feedforward NN is used. We tried others but this one specifically happened to give better results than other models we tired.
The above diagram shows the NN used. It is important to note that both the left and right side are input sides. The output is in the centre of the network. The network has 11 + 6 = 17 input nodes and 1 output node.
The output node simply predicts whether Team 1 will be win against Team 2. It is important to note how the input is captured.
The average strike rate of each batsman is computed across sets of 5 overs. The match is split into 10 sets of overs, comprising overs 1-5, 6-10, 11-15 and so on till 46-50. This is done so as the performance of a team towards the end of the match is considered more critical than the performance towards the beginning of the match.
Most matches in World Cup are close as the teams are really good. It is the last few overs that make all the difference and that is why it is important to capture team and player behaviour in these last overs. It is also a good indication of how the players perform under pressure.
We computed a weighted strike rate. This means that if a batsman hit a four or a six towards the end of the inning, we would give them a few extra runs against hitting a four or a six at the beginning of the match.
We took 11 batsman of each team, arranged them in descending order of their strike rate, and then subtracted Team 1 Batsman 1 strike rate from Team 2 Batsman 1 strike rate and then fed the difference into the first node of the batting neural network. We did this so on and so forth for all the 11 batsman in the team.
Similar to batting we split bowlers into buckets of 5 overs each. We computed the bowling economy of each bowler. A wicket and maiden over towards the end of the match improved their economy, while an extra such as no ball or wide given significantly decreases their bowling economy.
We computed the bowling economy of all bowlers, and took six best bowlers. These six are arranged in increasing order of their economy. The best bowler is on the one with the lowest value of bowling economy. We did Team 1 Bowler 1 economy minus the Team 2 Bowler 1 economy and fed the difference to the first input node, and so on for 6 bowlers in the team. Most teams have only 5 bowlers, but some do have a 6th bowler who is good. This is why we considered 6 bowlers as input. If some team has 7 bowlers, we are ignoring performance of the worst bowler in the team and taking only the top 6 bowlers as input into the NN.
We used performance of these players across Match #1 to Match #33 of the ICC World Cup 2019. The output of the neural network is 1 if Team 1 will win and 0 if Team 2 will win. The NN was trained using the outcome of the first 33 matches and then used to predict Match #34 to Match #45 and the semi-finals and the finals.
The final prediction says that India will win ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
We were perfect in our predictions of the Top 4 teams: India, New Zealand, Australia and England.
Since the competing teams are slightly different than our predicted semi finals results, our updated predictions are as shown below: