The first leg of this unique edition of the IPL is behind us. What we saw in the first 20 games is a contrast in batting conditions on pitches in Mumbai and Chennai. At the Wankhede, a side chasing 221 fell short by four runs. At the Chepauk, the chasing side had to scrap through for 18.4 overs to chase 121.
With such varying conditions, it becomes difficult to assess the performances of players relative to each other. In an attempt to analyze the batsmen through the course of the season, we have looked into certain parameters to calculate their impact. The factors included are the following-
As mentioned above, there has been a stark difference in how the two venues played. The difference in pitches will continue as we move to Ahmedabad, Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata. It will be incorrect to assess every batsman on the same scale and without accounting for the venues they have played on. Hence, the first parameter we have considered for our analysis is the venue. A brisk knock at Chepauk carries a higher weightage than an innings at Wankhede in the calculation.
The second important parameter is batting in the first innings vs second. During night games at the Wankhede, batting has been visibly easy in the second innings with dew on the pitch. While the wicket in Chennai slowed down as the innings progressed. A batsman scoring runs at Chepauk in the second innings should ideally get a higher weightage.
Even in its short duration, T20 requires a different approach in different phases. The field restrictions warrant the openers to focus on boundary hitting in the first six overs. Whereas in the last five overs, the demand is to be fearless. It is often the middle overs (7-15) that are tricky and differentiate between good and great.
In our analysis, we have considered the average runs scored per ball, in each of these phases, across innings at each venue.
Now the actual analysis entails including each of the three parameters into one common factor. Two venues and three phases give us eight slabs of weightage which we will use for further calculations.
What these weightages inform us is the number of runs players have scored per ball on an average at a particular venue, in that innings and that phase. E.g. an average batsman has scored 1.17 runs per ball at Chepauk while batting in the first innings in the first six overs.
Now to arrive at a score for each batsman, we have used these weightage to assess the total runs each batsman has scored above what an average batsman would have scored.
After the first twenty games, these are the top-10 batsmen based on the above calculation:
A score of 37.44 implies that Glenn Maxwell has scored these many runs more than average batsmen who would have batted in his place in the first five games. Prithvi Shaw at number two might come as a surprise but he has got two things going for him. He has scored two half-centuries at a brisk rate, one each at the two venues. And, whenever he has failed, he has not wasted balls.
In our approach, playing a longer innings is rewarding but only if the runs have come at a pace (strike rate) above the average under those circumstances. Else, a longer innings at a rate lower than the multiplier of that phase/venue/innings will result in a negative impact on the score.
Taking Shikhar Dhawan as an example. He is an Orange Cap holder but 23 off 26 balls at Chepauk in the Powerplay across two innings has impacted his overall score. Similarly, in the seven balls he has faced in the last five overs, Rohit Sharma has scored three runs. An average batsman in that phase at Chepauk would have scored nine. This pulls his score behind by six points and moves him out of top 10.
It is still early days in the tournament and hence we see surprises like Pat Cummins in the top 10. As the tournament moves on, we will be able to filter out the consistent ones from sporadic wonders.