Batting in the IPL – a perspective through Impact Index

A look at the finest batting feats in the four completed years of IPL so far.

By Jaideep Varma and Jatin Thakkar

The following is a look at the finest batting feats in the four completed years of IPL so far.

Shaun Marsh – the highest impact batsman in IPL has the highest Runs Rally and Partnership Building IMPACT. Has the second-lowest batting failure rate in IPL history.

Chris Gayle – the highest Strike Rate and Chasing IMPACT in IPL.

Sachin Tendulkar – in the top 5 in all IMPACT parameters for batsmen in the IPL. And very interestingly, amongst the 10 lowest Strike Rate impact numbers amongst 105 players who have batted in 15 or more IPL matches. That clearly suggests a sheet-anchor role that he has given himself in this format.

Shane Watson – lowest failure rate amongst all batsmen in IPL (remarkable for an all-rounder). In the top 7 on all batting parameters. On top of that, a big match player (tournament-defining in 2008), and IPL’s highest impact all-rounder and player.

Suresh Raina – big match player with two tournament-defining performances (in 2010 and 2011). Third-lowest batting failure-rate (after Watson and Marsh). Amongst the 5 best batsman in IPL when it comes to pressure and building partnerships.

Michael Hussey – big match player with a tournament-defining performance in 2011. Amongst the highest impact IPL players when it comes to runs tally and partnership building.

Ambati Rayudu – no doubt a surprise to many - one of the most consistent batsmen in the IPL – the only one in this top-ten list who hasn’t played for his country yet, despite being one of its finds. Very competent in all batting parameters. The highest impact batsman amongst all wicketkeepers in IPL history (yes, even more than Gilchrist, who has a relatively high failure rate).

Gautam Gambhir – interestingly, the highest impact batsman in IPL when it comes to chasing, much like his ODI strength. Otherwise, amongst the highest impact 6 players when it comes to runs tally, pressure and partnership building.

Virender Sehwag – very interestingly, has a lower rate of batting failure than in ODIs. He’s also been better at absorbing pressure and building partnerships than he has in his ODI career. The second-highest impact batsman when it comes to strike rate (after Gayle).

Murali Vijay – big match player (tournament-defining performance in 2011) and amongst the ten most consistent batsmen in IPL history. A balanced player, with high impact on all batting parameters. 

5 Highest Impact IPL Batting performances (Tournament Context):
These performances are high impact for the timing of the performances – they all came in a knock-out game with the batsman’s team going on to win the tournament – in other words, these are all tournament-defining performances in varying degrees (some semis, some finals).

1) AC Gilchrist: 85 off 35 v Delhi Daredevils  in Centurion, 2009 - Batting IMPACT 9.77

In the first semi-final of the 2009 edition, chasing DD’s 154, Gilchrist quintessentially exploded from the beginning (his opening partner, Gibbs, was dismissed at 22 – for zero; no. 3 Bilakhia at 91 for 10).

Gilchrist was out with the score at 102, in exactly 10 overs – his 85 coming in 35 balls with 19 fours and 5 sixes. The dominance was so complete that the remaining batsmen did not have much trouble in knocking off the remaining runs, with more than 2 overs to spare.

2) SK Raina: 73 off 50 v Royal Challengers Bangalore  in Mumbai, 2011 - Batting IMPACT 7.71

In the first qualifying final of 2011, RCB had put on a daunting 175, and CSK had started poorly – Raina walked out at a dismal 7 for 2. First with Badrinath and then with Dhoni, Raina rebuilt the innings – and finished the job in the last over (in the company of a belligerent Albie Morkel), hitting 4 fours and 6 sixes along the way.

3) M Vijay: 95 off 52 v Royal Challengers Bangalore  in Chennai, 2011 - Batting IMPACT 7.53

In the 2011 final, CSK took charge right from the beginning, and never let up. In the 15th over, when the first wicket fell (Michael Hussey), they already had 159 on the board.

Four overs later, when Murali Vijay departed, CSK had 189, and he had made 95 of those off just 52 balls, with 4 fours and 6 sixes. It knocked the stuffing out of RCB, who did not really come close eventually.

4) SR Watson: 52 off 29 v Delhi Daredevils   in Mumbai, 2008 - Batting IMPACT 5.54

In 2008’s first semi-final, underdogs RR were 76 for 3 after an explosive start looked to being squandered till Shane Watson (then just a very promising all-rounder, soon to be one of the game’s contemporary greats) teed-off – he took the score to 155 before being stumped – after hitting 4 fours and 3 sixes, and made way for a similar blitzkrieg from Yusuf Pathan. Then, when top-heavy DD batted, Watson knocked out the first three batsmen before they could produce any momentum – and finished off the match then itself.

5) SK Raina:  57 off 35  v Mumbai Indians in Mumbai, 2010 -Batting IMPACT 5.54

In the 2010 final, as two quick wickets in the forties looked like CSK squandering a good start, Suresh Raina produced a trademark innings of T20 gravitas, studded with 3 fours and 3 sixes, taking CSK to 168 (and staying not out), which proved more than adequate on that pitch.

5 Highest Impact IPL Batting performances (Match Context):
These memorable performances are only within a match context – not a single one of these performances came for a team that won the IPL that year.

1) BB McCullum: 158 off 73 v Royal Challengers Bangalore  in Bangalore, 2008 - Batting IMPACT 16.22

Till date, the highest impact batting performance in the IPL came in the very first match in IPL history – when Brendon McCullum hit 10 fours and 13 sixes in a 73-ball stay and looked like a Bollywood hero in B-grade action film – invincible right through. A shell-shocked RCB (who probably never recovered from this in that season) folded up for 48% less runs than McCullum made individually, thus producing an impact that perhaps will stay the highest in IPL, if not T20, history.

2) ST Jayasuriya: 114 off 48 v Chennai Super Kings  in Mumbai, 2008 - Batting IMPACT 13.11

156 wasn’t a bad score put up by eventual finalists CSK in the inaugural IPL season – but Jayasuriya and Tendulkar made mockery of it – as the score was 82 when the latter fell, in the eighth over, for…er…12. As Jayasuriya polished off the remaining runs too (in the fourteenth over, and walked off unbeaten (after 9 fours and 11 sixes), the world would have thought how this format was so perfect for Jayasuriya’s game – which sadly flourished at the very end of his career, long past his prime.

3) V Sehwag: 119 off 56 v Deccan Chargers  in Hyderabad, 2011 - Batting IMPACT 12.45

A quintessential Sehwag innings, coming when a chase of 176 looks very stiff, especially with his side tottering at 25 for 3. Sehwag decides to play that famous “natural game”, regardless of consequences and as it all comes off – others watch (including non-striker Birt, who makes 4 in 8 but is there while 61 runs get scored). 13 fours and 6 sixes later, Sehwag sighs as he nicks one to the keeper – as 23 still have to be made in 22, but his side doesn’t let him down.

4) AC Gilchrist: 109 off 47 v Mumbai Indians  in Mumbai, 2008 - Batting IMPACT 12.11

154 is certainly a competitive score in T20 cricket, whatever the conditions and with an attack like Nehra, Pollock, Bravo and Jayasuriya defending it. Gilchrist and Laxman didn’t think so though as they wrapped up the match in 12 overs, without breaking their opening stand. Laxman’s 37 off 26 more attacking than usual for his standards – Gilchrist’s 109 off 47 reasonably par-for-the-course when he is in this nick. 9 fours, 10 sixes? Ho hum.

5) V Sehwag: 94 off 41 v Deccan Chargers  in Hyderabad, 2008 - Batting IMPACT 11.75

Another Sehwag classic. DC would have been reasonably confident with a score of 142 on their home pitch, given that their attack consisted of Vaas, RP Singh, Afridi, Symonds and Pragyan Ojha. They also knew that DD relied too much on their top-order and a couple of quick breakthroughs could end the challenge pretty soon. They did get Gambhir early but Sehwag, armed with the energy the realization of life being short brings, collected his 10 fours and 6 sixes within 13 overs to finish the match in a hurry.

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