Suresh Raina, one of the best Indian fielders describes fielding as - “You can get a bad ball while you bat, and your bowling may not always be up there, but as a fielder you are completely in control of how well you field”. A fielder has the ability to cut short 15-20 runs before his team comes into bat, which is a certain advantage.
When speaking about the fielding of a team, it can be spilt into two categories. Firstly, how good has been with their catching, how well have they converted the half chances into opportunities. Secondly, the ground fielding, how many runs have they saved for their team. As mentioned earlier, 15-20 runs saved on the field gives him the extra credit and the confidence when he comes out to bat.
In the 2020 edition of IPL, we have witnessed some spectacular saves and stupendous catches taken. Heading towards the end of a unique IPL edition, the first of its kind – with no audience – let’s decode which team has been the best in saving runs and converting catches.
Though Kolkata Knight Riders failed to make it to the playoffs, in IPL 2020, they have been the best catching side with 83.6 catch efficiency. Out of the 55 attempts, KKR fielders have put down only nine catches, the lowest by a team.
CSK were the second-best team in terms of catching efficiency with 82.4 and they dropped only 12 catches. CSK had a catching efficiency of 57.1 per cent on difficult catches. This is evident enough to say how good they have been in catching terms.
Sunrisers Hyderabad and Royal Challengers Bangalore have been the two worst teams, though both teams have some gun fielders like Virat Kohli, Rashid Khan and Manish Pandey. Overall, RCB fielders had a catching efficiency of 75 per cent, which is the second-worst among teams and SRH fielders had a catching efficiency of 71.1 per cent, the lowest by a team in IPL 2020. SRH fielders dropped 24 catches, no other team dropped more than 20.
Mumbai Indians' fielders may not have been the best when it comes to catching, but their fielders put their lives down the lane to save runs. The best part about MI fielding has been the ability of their fielders to cut down the runs, especially inside the circle. MI fielders saved 40 runs and gave away only 8 runs inside the circle. No other team saved more than 15 runs. Throughout, MI fielders saved 17 runs which is the most by a team.
KXIP fielders are the only ones to not drop sitters, whereas, the rest all have dropped at least one. Their net runs saved comes up to a positive nine runs. KXIP are one of the two teams whose net runs saved are in positive, MI is the other.
CSK have been the poorest when it comes to saving runs. The effect of an ageing side was clearly visible, as their fielders leaked 47 runs, which is the most among all teams. The runners-up of IPL 2020, Delhi Capitals have also been sloppy in the field. After CSK, by virtue of leaking 20 runs, DC have been the second-worst fielding team.
It is not just the drops that haunt the team, it is about the impact that comes back as a nightmare. SRH's catching has been the poorest and the impact of the drops by their fielders resulted in 388 extra runs. The champions, MI conceded 351 runs for their 16 drops, which is the second-most a team has conceded.
Though CSK’s ground fielding has been the poorest, their catching was decent. Their 12 drops are the second-lowest and those 12 have cost them only 172 runs, which is the least for a team. KKR’s nine drop chances cost them 216 runs.
T20 is a format in which everything happens quickly and agility is one of the most important aspects for a fielder or a fielding team. Batsmen are always on their toes for a run and same goes for the fielders, but to stop that run.
Though SRH have been the poorest in terms of catching, the one and only positive of their fielding has been the number of run-outs through direct hits. Out of the nine run-outs SRH fielders effected four of them have been direct hits, which is the most among all teams. KXIP's fielders have also been agile, the eight run-outs they effected is the second-most and they converted three of those eight to direct hits.
KKR might be the best catching team, but when it comes to effecting run-outs, they have been the worst. They effected only three and none of them were direct hits, every other team at least has one direct hit to their name.