By Jaideep Varma and Jatin Thakkar
During India’s tour of Australia in January this year, Gambhir and Dhoni had a public spat (or at least a disagreement) about the latter’s propensity to take a match right through till the last moments, even when it is not ostensibly required.
Clearly, Dhoni does that in tournaments too, as does his team (built in his image) – as the high failure rate of CSK players in IPL history suggests (their position at the end of the tournament on the impact charts in previous years has been 5, 3, 2 and 2 in previous IPL seasons, in that order). They have always been a transformed entity in the playoffs – when it is most required. And this year was looking no different till more than the halfway stage of the IPL final – until … a prolonged flash of individual genius from a highly unexpected source (Bisla) took the match away.
Interestingly, taking the performances of both CSK and KKR in the playoffs into account, CSK actually delivered a higher impact performance – that eventually also made CSK the highest impact team in IPL 2012. KKR, which had been the highest impact team at the league stages, had a victory with the bat in the final (after a poor outing with the ball), on the back of an inspired individual performance (which KKR was not the expected source of). In the end, KKR had the second-highest impact amongst all sides – thus becoming the 5th second-highest impact team in a row to win the IPL that year.
In our preview piece before the tournament started, we had KKR down as the second-most likely side to win IPL 2012 (after CSK). We did get 3 of the 4 semi-finalists right – but the real value of a tool like this is to be able to dig deeper at the post-mortem.
We provide some clues in this piece, starting with the Team IMPACT charts at the end of 2012 – a bird’s-eye-view on which teams played closest to potential.
A quick recap of all the teams once more, in this order.
Chennai Super Kings
They were brilliant in the playoffs but when all seemed under control in the final, a singular individual performance KO’d them. Due to the big match performances in the playoffs, they spectacularly went to the top of the impact charts from a position of 6th on those charts at the league stages. Their bowling was a weak spot right till the end for them, despite the big match performances. They will consider themselves unlucky but if they do not address their bowling problems, their reign at the top might well be over.
They had 7 players above an IMPACT of 2 in IPL 2012 (minimum 5 matches) - DJ Bravo (IMPACT 3.01, 18 matches), MEK Hussey (2.98, 8), BW Hilfenhaus (2.86, 9), MS Dhoni (2.66, 18), F du Plessis (2.56, 12), SK Raina (2.50, 18) and JA Morkel (2.12, 15).
Kolkata Knight Riders
Despite the almost freakish performance in the end by Bisla which got them over the finish line, KKR faltered with the ball particularly in the final, which affected their overall impact numbers. Otherwise, they were a side dominated by all-rounders (who performed creditably), with a reliance on just two specialists - Gambhir with the bat and Narine with ball (and Balaji, who eventually played just 8 matches) – ironically, both failed in the final.
Their overall consistency was their hallmark which made them click as a team – they had the highest impact Indian players in the tournament and the second-highest impact overseas players.
They had 7 players above an IMPACT of 2 in IPL 2012 (minimum 5 matches) - MS Bisla (3.82, 7), G Gambhir (3.35, 17), JH Kallis (3.33, 17), BB McCullum (3.18, 12), SP Narine (2.72, 15), Shakib Al Hasan (2.60, 8) and L Balaji (2.26, 8).
Kings XI Punjab
It might surprise many to see them as the 3rd-highest impact side in IPL 2012. But they played like a team this year – despite constant setbacks that prevented their highest impact players from playing together – Gilchrist was out through injury, Mahmood had visa problems initially, Marsh was missing at the fag end. A lot of players delivered high impact performances - all the senior overseas players performed well – and a lot of Indian talent (like Mandeep Singh, Saini, Awana and Gurkeerat Singh) performed outstandingly in some games, delivering high impact. But, crucially, not often enough.
Consistency was a problem and their players overall had a high failure rate despite the many flashes of high impact. That, coupled with the bad luck they had, still could not hide their high impact (and unfulfilled potential). This is perhaps the most promising team of this IPL.
They had 8 players (the maximum amongst all teams) above an IMPACT of 2 in IPL 2012 (minimum 5 matches) - Azhar Mahmood (3.05, 11), AC Gilchrist (2.90, 7), RJ Harris (2.60, 5), P Awana (2.37, 12), DJ Hussey (2.35, 16), Mandeep Singh (2.21, 16), PP Chawla (2.16, 16) and SE Marsh (2.01, 13).
Royal Challengers Bangalore
We had been pilloried during our IPL Preview piece for daring to mention that they had the lowest impact batting line-up amongst all teams. What those people did not bother to understand was that this was based on the impact numbers of the entire squad – the fact is that other than Gayle, de Villiers and Dilshan, the Batting IMPACT of its players was low (Kohli not anywhere near as good an ODI player he is) – which has been borne out comprehensively.
Chris Gayle produced an absurdly high impact performance yet again – lightening struck two years in a row; just imagine what would have happened if he had not performed so brilliantly, and his performance had been in the realm of the humanly possible. Their Bowling IMPACT was high and it would have been even higher if Muralitharan and Vettori could have bowled together. Unfortunately, the lack of high impact Indian players did not allow them to do that, as the dependence on their overseas quota completely skewed
This lack of quality Indian players (especially in batting) is their biggest weakness – something they need to urgently address. Gayle could not cover this up as he had last year.
They had 6 players above an IMPACT of 2 in IPL 2012 (minimum 5 matches) - CH Gayle (3.26, 14), M Muralitharan (2.78, 10), AB de Villiers (2.52, 15), TM Dilshan (2.14, 9), R Vinay Kumar (2.02, 14) and Z Khan (2.02, 15).
They were unlucky to miss their highest impact player – Shane Watson for more than half the tournament. Predictably, he performed outstandingly when he eventually joined the side, but it was not enough. Kevon Cooper, who was doing well, fell injured and had to go home at the half-way stage. They were consistent in a strange way – adequate performances, but not many players got high impact performances often enough. They also were unfortunate to lose a few close games.
Dravid was the most consistent batsman in the side. The bowling (Hogg, Pankaj Singh, Tait and Trivedi) was just about adequate (given that they were all rotated quite a bit). One of their highest impact players – Chandimal - did not get a single game. Getting some high impact Indian players should be their priority.
They had just 4 players above an IMPACT of 2 in IPL 2012 (minimum 5 matches) - SR Watson (3.21, 7), K Cooper (2.65, 6), R Dravid (2.42, 16) and AM Rahane (2.25, 16).
Before the tournament began, we had them down as the most imbalanced side – the highest impact batting and the lowest impact bowling side. The batting did fire, but not together – Sehwag was very consistent in the league phases, he failed in the playoffs. Pietersen was brilliant till he had to go, replaced by Warner who produced a couple of huge performances but overall did not deliver often enough. Neither till Taylor.
Ojha and Pathan delivered in all-round roles, but it was Morne Morkel above all, with very high
impact bowling performances (the highest impact run in his career) who made DD top the league stages, very effectively camouflaging the mediocre bowling around him (which is why DD were not the highest impact side then, in fact, they were 5th).
In the last eliminator, Morkel was inexplicably dropped – and the bowling was so horribly exposed that DD slid down the impact chart even more – it was like RCB batting without Gayle. The anticlimax they provided in the playoffs had sufficient warning at the league stages.
They had 6 players above an IMPACT of 2 in IPL 2012 (minimum 5 matches) - KP Pietersen (2.99, 7), V Sehwag (2.62, 16), M Morkel (2.54, 16), NV Ojha (2.08, 18), IK Pathan (2.06, 17) and P Negi (2.15, 8).
With the highly notable exception of Shikhar Dhawan (and Parthiv Patel to a smaller extent), their biggest problem was their low impact Indian talent. Their batting was largely bolstered by Dhawan, Cameron White and Duminy, the bowling almost entirely by Steyn and there was Dan Christian’s all-round impact in a few matches.
Unfortunately for them, their highest impact talent actually never came into the fore – Sangakkara was out-of-form, Darren Bravo absent on national duty and Daniel Harris not used enough. Amit Mishra was ordinary till the very fag end of the tournament. They never really struck the right team balance almost right through the tournament.
They had 6 players above an IMPACT of 2 in IPL 2012 (minimum 5 matches) - DT Christian (3.13, 7), S Dhawan (3.04, 15), DW Steyn (3.03, 12), CL White (2.53, 13), JP Duminy (2.37, 9) and PA Patel (2.14, 14).
They were lucky to win 5 close games – which led to whispers of all kinds of conspiracy theories around them. Their bowling, largely around the fine efforts of Malinga and Pollard, was largely lacklustre otherwise (despite Kulkarni’s brief sparkle in the playoffs, and occasional performances from Munaf Patel and Pragyan Ojha). Their batting, led by a consistent Tendulkar in an unspectacular sheet-anchor role, relied on high impact performances to get through (which came from Pollard, Rayudu, Dwayne Smith and Rohit
Sharma at different times).
Despite some memorable moments, most of them had a high failure rate (as did RP Singh, the impressionistic view on whom is much more positive than he deserves), all of which eventually did not amount to very much – which was brutally exposed at the playoffs. Their captain was sadly a liability – Harbhajan Singh did not even manage to register a Bowling IMPACT of 1 overall.
They had 6 players above an IMPACT of 2 in IPL 2012 (minimum 5 matches) - Malinga (2.80, 14), KA Pollard (2.31, 14), DR Smith (2.11, 7), SR Tendulkar (2.09, 13), KD Karthik (2.05, 17) and JEC Franklin (2.03, 12).
They quite simply did not have the talent – and it is unfair to be too harsh on them because they were always likely to struggle. That they could win 4 of their first 7 matches is quite astonishing – the credit perhaps squarely goes to Sourav Ganguly’s early inspiration (and the players who responded to that). But a long tournament like this cannot be sustained on that, without the high impact talent to back it. They lost their last 9 games in a row, and as we had predicted were cannon-fodder eventually for most teams.
They had 4 players above an IMPACT of 2 in IPL 2012 (minimum 5 matches) - RV Uthappa (2.80, 16), SPD Smith (2.29, 15), MN Samuels (2.29, 8) and AD Mathews (2.18, 8).
On some individual parameters, the tightness of the tournament affected expected IMPACT numbers – leading to some unusual movement amongst the teams.
Here are 15 pointers to what panned-out by the end of IPL 2012 – which further explain why these teams fared as they did.
1. Strongest batting unit: Kolkata Knight Riders
2. Weakest batting unit: Mumbai Indians
3. Strongest bowling unit: Royal Challengers Bangalore
4. Weakest bowling unit: Pune Warriors
5. Most attacking batting unit: Delhi Daredevils
6. Most sluggish batting unit: Pune Warriors, Deccan Chargers
7. Team/s that absorbed maximum pressure while batting: Pune Warriors, Mumbai Indians
8. Strongest chasing team: Delhi Daredevils
9. Team/s most susceptible in a chase: Deccan Chargers, Rajasthan Royals
10. Most economical bowling unit: Delhi Daredevils
11. Most uneconomical bowling unit: Pune Warriors
12. Most mercurial side/s (high failure rates): Kings XI Punjab and Royal Challengers Bangalore
13. Team with highest impact Indian players: Kolkata Knight Riders
14. Team with highest impact overseas players: Royal Challengers Bangalore
15. Team with lowest impact Indian players: Royal Challengers Bangalore
For more information, please go to www.impactindexcricket.com.