cricket analytics

Continuing our tradition of cricket analytics before the kick off of major sporting events, we looked at cricket statistics for the last 4 IPL seasons to see if there are any patterns. For example, has high scoring (180+ runs in 20 overs) increased over the years? Do bowlers ever matter in this slug fest? Has any one player dominated the league? Let the numbers speak for themselves.

High scores vs. Low Scores in IPL

Only 2009 – which took place in South Africa – shows a trend towards lower high scores. The 3 other versions of the tournament happened in the sub-continent and it shows. For 2008, 2010 and 2011, the average high score was around 205. Only 2009, the average high dipped to 194! The average low scores in the series were no lower than 100, implying that a run rate of close to 5 runs per over sets you up for failure!

Best bowling performances and strike rates

Considering the slam-bang nature of T20s, the smart (or smarting!) bowlers tend to focus more on economy rates rather than attacking the batsman and risk getting mauled. Getting through your 4 or 5 overs with less than 2 runs per over is quite a remarkable feat. The chart below shows the best economy rates averaged for all bowlers. 2010, one can comment was indeed a bowlers tournament – or at least the smart bowler’s tournament. It is amazing that the most economical bowlers averaged 1.78 runs per over! The flip side to this is that the bowling strike rates suffered – 2010 shows the worst strike rates (of more than 5 balls per wicket) for the best bowlers!

ipl cricket 2008 2011 bowling statistics resized 600
4s and 6s and fireworks

2008 was the stand out year for fireworks. Batters like Brendon McCallum revelled here and got an average of more than 100 runs coming purely from boundaries. 2009 in SA was really a dull year for watching batting firepower. Finally 2011 was really the year of the Gayle storm! Chris Gayle stands out like no other in terms of sheer number of sixes during that year.

ipl cricket 2008 2011 batting fireworks resized 600
Overall Team Performance

Once again the outlier is the 2009 event. Deccan Chargers who won, dont even figure among the highest scoring teams for this year. But the rest of the season all point to one pattern: it does not matter if you hit a few really high scores in the league games, winning the final takes a different attitude and approach. The width of each bar represents how many wickets were lost on average to make the score (more wickets lost = wider bar). Darker shade of green indicates a higher run rate.

The 5th edition of IPL T20 cricket kicks off in less than a week with international celebrities rubbing shoulders with Bollywood in the opening act. While there is some doubt about the continued success of this glamour league, our guess is that the booming new generation of under-25s will keep this madness going on for the foreseeable future.

So what are your thoughts on this type of cricket analytics?


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