With IPL 2018 done and dusted, and Chennai Super Kings being crowned champions for the third time, in their comeback year, let’s have a dive into the five trends that emerged from arguably the most closely-fought IPL, which in turn also gives us indicators about the future.
Win the toss, bat first anyone?
Teams winning the toss preferring to field first is not exactly a new trend but something that we have witnessed in the recent past, especially in the shortest format of the game. Only in ten out of the 60 matches played, the captain winning the coin toss preferred to set a target – five of those were in Jaipur, where the ground size is bigger when compared to the norm and the track usually slows down in the second half. The percentage of teams opting to bat first has been steadily dwindling over the past three seasons – 18.33 (11/60) in 2016 and 18.65 in 2017 (11/59). Just to put that into perspective, in 2015, it was 25 out of 59 (42.37%). The theory related to ‘weight of runs behind you in crunch games’ was also overlooked as the captains decided to field first in all the four Playoff games, this time around.
However, the numbers prove fielding first may not translate to a win every time. Only in 27 out of the 50 games, the chasing team came out on top which is just above the halfway mark. With scoring rates on a steady increase, chasing teams felt they weren’t out of the game even with the asking rate hovering around 15.00 per over in the last three-four overs. The eventual champions CSK successfully chased down over 40 runs in the last three overs on not less than four occasions in this IPL.
|Season||Mat||Opting to bat||Per||Wins||Win %|
More runs, more sixes
The year witnessed 872 hits over the rope in 60 matches – 18.80% more than the next most number of sixes in a single year. The previous most was only 734 sixes in the 2012 edition, which was more evenly spread across 75 games compared to just 60 this time around. Not surprisingly, on an average 7.26 sixes were hit (in an innings) – a number which always stayed below six in the ten previous years.
As a result, the scoring rates also soared at an all-time high of 8.65, which displaced last year’s scoring rate of 8.41 from the pole position. Teams were valuing runs over wickets and rightly so in this format. On 14 instances this season, the team which lost more wickets than the opponent went on to win the match – which is about once in every four games. This trend was not evident in any of the previous seasons – neither in terms of percentage or in absolute value. In nine of the aforementioned 14 instances, it was the chasing side that lost more wickets than the side which set the target, an indicator of how easier it is for the side chasing to pace their innings. This happened in the tournament opener at the Wankhede when CSK won the match with their last pair in the middle, while MI could score only 165 despite having six wickets in the bank. It was again witnessed twice in the Playoffs – the First Qualifier between SRH and CSK as well as the Eliminator where RR could not push ahead, scoring just 41/3 off the last seven overs in their chase when 67 was needed with nine wickets still in the hut.
Spinners bring value for money
The one clan which earned plenty during the IPL auction was the spinners’ tribe. The biggest fear with the inception of T20 cricket was that spinners would fizzle out in the format which was tailor-made for the batsmen. However, the numbers prove a different story, with spinners evolving and posing questions to the batsmen.
The spinners took 253 wickets this season which is 24 more than the next best (eight-team season). In overall terms, only in 2011 they have taken more scalps – 267 wickets from 73 games. Spinners accounted for more than 38% of the wickets, which is an all-time high to go along with an average of over four wickets per every match – again a first in an IPL season. Spinners were used as a wicket-taking option as their strike rate (balls per wicket) of 21.62 testifies. In terms of economy rate, it was their fourth worst but if consider the wicket-taking factor, the strike rate of 21.62 turns out to be the best ever. It was of no surprise they got to bowl more in the Powerplay with the field up and in the last five, where the batting team try to up the ante.
The wrist spinners were the go-to bowlers for most captains. Rashid Khan (21), Kuldeep Yadav (17) and Mayank Markande (15) were all on the top of the charts, and six of the sides, barring CSK and KXIP, had a wrist spinner leading the wicket-takers list among spinners.
|Series||Mat||Balls||Spinners||Balls %||Wkts||Spinners||WKts %||Wkts/Mat|
Wicketkeepers’ season with the willow
Like spinners, another clan which had a successful season was the tribe belonging to wicketkeepers. Out of the 13 players who scored in excess of 450 runs this season, five of them also kept wickets for their respective sides. While Rishabh Pant broke the record for most runs in a season by a wicketkeeper (684 runs), KL Rahul (659), Jos Buttler (548), Dinesh Karthik (498) and MS Dhoni (455) also had a good time with the bat. Barring Dhoni, the other four were also the leading run-getters for their respective sides in IPL 2018.
Overall, the wicketkeepers aggregated 3697 runs across the 60 matches, which makes it by far the most successful season for them with the bat – a year-to-year increase of over 50% from 2017 and nearly a third more than the next most successful year (2800 runs in 2014). They effected 100 dismissals which gives them a run-per-dismissal ratio of 36.97 – the second most in an IPL season. The run-per-dismissal ratio has been steadily on the increase in the last four years and is clearly an indicator to the future where batsmen-keepers would be more in demand compared to specialist wicketkeepers.
DRS leaves a mark
After years of aversion from BCCI towards technology, the DRS finally made its IPL debut in its 11th season. In all 84 times the third umpire was called in to adjudicate, out of which 29 were reversed which gives the DRS a success rate of 34.52% – quite a marked increase from the international circuit, where the success rate hovers around 20%.
The success rate for Indian umpires was marginally above their foreign counterparts – 65.67% of their decisions were upheld while the percentage for overseas umpires was 64.70. KN Anantapadmanabhan was the best with all four of his decisions being upheld while only one out of seven from Sundaram Ravi got overturned. The only umpire with more decisions overturned in comparison to decisions upheld was C Nandan – six out of his 11 verdicts were overturned with the help of DRS.
Two thirds of caught dismissals were overturned using DRS (14/21), while the umpires were more or less accurate with leg before decisions – only 15 out of 63 referrals were overturned. Several of the decisions which were overturned more or less directly affected the final outcome of the match. The most prominent of them being the Faf du Plessis LBW off Rashid Khan in the First Qualifier, which was overturned as du Plessis played a blinder to take his team home.
Some interesting numbers from the tournament
735 runs scored by Kane Williamson is the third highest aggregate in an IPL season after Virat Kohli’s 973 and David Warner’s 848, both coming in the 2016 season.
547 runs conceded by Siddarth Kaul is the most runs given away by a bowler in a single edition of IPL. Dwayne Bravo’s 533 is next on the list, with Umesh Yadav’s 508 runs in 2013 now relegated to the third place.
8 Players aggregating 500 or more runs in IPL 2018 – the most ever in a single edition of IPL. The previous most was seven in 2013, when teams played 16 matches in the league phase as opposed to 14 this time around.
1 This is the first time in 11 years of IPL that the team which had the Purple Cap holder did not make it to the Playoffs. KXIP’s Andrew Tye ended with the most wickets this season – 24 – as his side finished seventh in the league table at the end of the league stage.
3 Instances of wicketkeepers scoring 600-plus runs in an IPL season – two of which happened this year. Rishabh Pant scored 684 for DD while Rahul topped the run charts for KXIP with 659 runs. The only other time a wicketkeeper scored as many was in 2014, when Robin Uthappa made 660 runs for KKR.
33 Sixes hit in the match between RCB and CSK at the Chinnaswamy Stadium – the most ever in a single IPL match. The most (sixes) in a match at the start of the season was 31 in the contest between DD and GL at Feroz Shah Kotla last year. It was equalled twice this year – in the matches played between CSK and KKR in Chennai and KXIP and KKR in Indore.
145 sixes hit by CSK across 16 matches is the most by a team in a single season of IPL, going past 142 by RCB in the 2016 edition. Shane Watson led the way with 35 sixes, closely followed by Ambati Rayudu with 34 and MS Dhoni with 31.
4-0 CSK’s head-to-head record over SRH in this IPL – the first instance of a team beating an opponent four times in the same IPL season. CSK were the only side to beat all the seven opponents at least once in this IPL.
4 Hundreds scored against SRH out of a total of five hundreds across this year’s tournament – and SRH were arguably the best bowling side of the tournament, which is evidenced by the point that they defended sub-150 targets twice in the season. In 76 matches across their first five years, SRH had conceded just one individual century. Gujarat Lions in 2016 is the only other side to concede four individual hundreds in the same season.
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