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Understanding the Home-Away matrix in the IPL

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Last updated on 03 May 2023 | 10:36 AM
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Understanding the Home-Away matrix in the IPL

Deconstructing what significance winning at home holds in the Indian Premier League

The home-away format, where teams play half their games at home and half away in league matches, has been reinstated for the Indian Premier League 2023 after a three-year absence. Is home team advantage a thing in the IPL? Do coaches and staff members make player scouting and planning decisions based on the home environment? And in the IPL, what does it mean to win at home?

In every season with the home-away format, the home team has won 55% of the games. This is mainly due to the recruitment of players who have a better understanding of the venue or whose style of play will be suited to the home conditions.

Sunil Narine dictating Kolkata’s fortunes for years on the low and slow version of the Eden Gardens, Mumbai signing a left-arm swing bowler to exploit the early swing available at Wankhede and Chennai’s spin-heavy attack for Chepauk are prime examples of teams being mindful of home conditions. 

Apart from the 2012 and 2016 seasons, teams have won more than 50% of their home games every year. The home advantage dipped in 2012 and 2016. Away wins were the deciding factor for the playoff spot in those two seasons.

Meanwhile, the home advantage was quite high in 2018 and 2019, the most recent seasons with the home-away format before the ongoing edition in 2023. 

The success that CSK has had at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, where they have a 74% win rate, is a prime example of how they have mastered home advantage. Players who can bat and bowl spin well are the foundation of their team, which is also necessitated by the home environment. Majority of the time, this has led to them qualifying for the playoffs.

The team with the lowest percentage of at-home victories is Pune Warriors India, which featured for three seasons. Rajasthan Royals have a track record of winning all home games twice, in 2008 and 2013. Mumbai Indians won all of their home games in 2013, while Chennai Super Kings won all of their home games in 2010. Coincidentally, when RR, CSK, and MI won every game at home for the first time, they also won the championship.

It is possible for a team to have a 78% chance of making the playoffs if they win more than 70% of their home games. However, if they win between 40% and 70% of their games at home, they have a 48% chance of making the playoffs. If they win less than 40% of their home games, they have a 6% chance of making the playoffs.

How has each team fared in IPL 2023?

*till Match No 42

It is evident that none of the teams are favoured at home after almost half of the competition has been played. The away win percentage is 59, while the overall home win percentage for the current campaign is 40. The playoffs spot of this season could also be decided by away victories.

GT have thus won all their away games (until Match 42 in the tournament). Next on the list are LSG and PBKS. They have lost only one of their away games. However, PBKS have won only one of their four home games. CSK, RR, RCB, and MI have almost won equal numbers of games home and away. SRH, KKR, and DC, meanwhile, haven’t been able to do much either home or away.

The second half of the league phase is underway. The points table is clogged in the upper middle half, with five teams at 10 points. Given the competition is neck-and-neck, the home games become more crucial. It will be interesting to see which team nails it to proceed to the playoffs.

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