Finally, the Big Boys are showing their mettle and class and separating from the rest of the clan – Delhi Capitals (DC), Mumbai Indians (MI) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) have finally broken away from the rest of the cluster and are now in the ascendancy in IPL 2020.
We are exactly half-way into the tournament with all the teams having played 7 matches each.
Let us analyse the team clusters, trends and patterns that have emerged or got strengthened and the players and performances that have stood out.
The teams have finally started to divide themselves into performance clusters. It was a tight contest with no team in the ascendancy till the end of the second week. But that seems to have changed half-way into the competition.
MI and DC are the top two positions and have, by far, looked the two most powerful and balanced sides in IPL 2020. RCB (like MI and DC) also has 5 wins from 7 matches but a poor net run rate courtesy a couple of drubbings in the tournament.
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) - 4 wins from 7 matches - and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) - 3 wins from 7 matches - are in the second cluster while Chennai Super Kings (CSK) - 2 wins from 7 matches - and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) – 1 win from 7 matches – are in the third and last cluster.
TEAM BATTING FIRST HAS WON 73.07% MATCHESBatting first continues to be a huge advantage in IPL 2020, There have been 10 matches between Match 19 and Match 28 of which as many as 8 have been won by the team setting the target – this is an incredible statistic!
The two exceptions were RR’s penultimate ball chase against SRH in Dubai and MI’s five-wicket win against DC in Abu Dhabi.
This means, that of the 26 matches with outright results in the tournament (there have been 2 tied matches), a whopping 19 (73.08%) have been won by the team batting first and only 7 by the team chasing.
Chasing has historically been statistically advantageous in the IPL. In 10 of the previous 12 seasons, the team batting second has been more successful – in other words the team chasing has won more than 50% of the matches in these 10 editions. Last season, the team batting second won 35 of the 57 matches, ie 61.4%.
Clearly, this pattern has taken a massive beating this year and been completely reversed!
TOSS TURNS LUCKY THIS WEEK
The team winning the toss has won 6 of the 10 matches this week. This is in reversal of the trend of the previous two weeks when the team winning the toss had ended up losing 14 of the 18 matches.
Overall, the team winning the toss has now lost 18 of the 28 matches (64.29%) and won 10.
FAILURE OF THE POWER HITTERSOne of the most evident revelations about IPL 2020 so far has been the failure of some of the big power-hitters to make an impact in the tournament.
The three biggest failures – Andre Russell, Sunil Narine and Glenn Maxwell – are amongst the three most destructive batsmen in IPL history!
Russell has aggregated just 71 runs in 6 innings with a highest score of 24 in the tournament. His strike rate of 142 in IPL 2020 is significantly lower than his career IPL strike rate of 183.64 – the highest in the tournament’s history!
Narine has been in woeful form scoring just 44 runs in 5 innings at a rate of just 110 – nowhere close to his overall IPL strike rate of 163.65.
The Australian maverick, Glenn Maxwell, has just managed to muster 58 runs in 7 innings for Kings XI with a highest score of 13 at a poor strike rate of 95.08.
Even Rishabh Pant hasn’t quite been at his destructive best and has a strike rate of 133.33 in the tournament – much lower than his IPL career strike rate which is almost 160!
The story remains the same for David Warner and Shane Watson.
AB & RASHID SHARE PERFORMANCES OF THE WEEKAB de Villiers joined skipper, Virat Kohli at 94 for 2 in the 13th over against KKR in Sharjah. RCB had developed a good platform but were a little slow on the run rate. What followed was carnage! AB produced an AB special hammering an unbeaten 73 off just 33 deliveries smashing 5 fours and 6 sixes striking at 221.21 to propel RCB to a match-winning total. Such was his dominance that Kohli could only contribute 22 of the unbroken 100 partnership!
Rashid Khan picked two top-middle order wickets including of the danger-man, Nicholas Pooran returning with 3-12 in 4 overs against Kings XI in Dubai. His efforts included as many as 13 dot deliveries and he was the only bowler in the match who did not concede a boundary – neither a four nor a six! Rashid bowled a splendid 15th over of the innings in which even Pooran, in the form he was, and with a rate required of 13, showed respect and was circumspect against the great leg-break bowler. Rashid finally got his man of the 5th ball of the over ending hopes of a miraculous KXIP win. He ended the over with the wicket of Mohammed Shami making it a match-winning double-wicket maiden!