Batting under pressure in the IPL

By examining the fall of wickets column in the scorecard, taken within the context of the match, it is possible to measure how much pressure a batsman absorbs in a match.

By Jaideep Varma and Jatin Thakkar

Impact Index is the only statistical system in cricket that measures the pressure absorbed by a batsman in the middle. This is only based on the circumstances precipitated by the fall of wickets – and no other factor. So, by examining the fall of wickets column in the scorecard, taken within the context of the match, it is possible to measure how much pressure a batsman absorbs in a match, and right through his career.

Below, we present the batsmen who did that the best during the four years of IPL so far.

The five batsmen who absorbed the maximum pressure in IPL history (minimum 15 matches) are:
1. AD Mathews (Pressure IMPACT 0.22, 15 matches)
2. SR Tendulkar (0.17, 51)
3. SK Raina (0.15, 62)
4. S Badrinath (0.15, 62)
5. SR Watson (0.15, 32)

Angelo Mathews’ presence here is not a surprise – batting under pressure is a speciality for him.

Sachin Tendulkar’s presence may well be a surprise – given how obviously absorbing pressure has not been his strong suit in other formats. But by giving himself the sheet-anchor’s role in Mumbai Indians (which also gives him a very low strike rate), Tendulkar has redefined his batting in this format with considerable success.

Suresh Raina has been a big match player for CSK – the complete T20 batsman – one of the best in the world.

S Badrinath has played a big part in CSK’s success – often unheralded. Absorbing pressure has been his biggest strength.

Shane Watson – he is not just the highest impact player in the IPL, and its most complete player, but a complete batsman – absorbing pressure is just one of the things he has excelled in.

The 10 highest impact pressure performances in IPL history
It’s interesting that just two out of these 10 performances resulted in a victory for the batsman’s team. Easily the lowest proportion as compared to the other two formats in cricket. Domination is the most common form of expression in this format. But these fighting performances make for some very interesting memories.

1) RV Uthappa  45 off 37 v Mumbai Indians in Mumbai, 2011 - Pressure IMPACT 1.82

Uthappa came out at 17-2, and found things getting worse – it was soon 17-4. Without compromising on strike rate (as a lot of batsmen would have done in that situation), he played a fine hand to take the score to 98 before he was dismissed in the 15th over. PW could manage only 20 runs more, and MI won by 7 wickets, bizarrely off the last ball.

2) AD Mathews 48 off 48 V Chennai Super Kings in Chennai, 2010 - Pressure IMPACT 1.80

Angelo Mathews came out to the carnage that was 19-4 and first with M Tiwary and then L Shukla, took the score to a relatively respectable 133. KKR finished up 138-8 in 20 overs. They lost by 9 wickets though, as Hayden and Raina finished off the match in style but it would have lasted 34 overs if not for Mathews’ fightback.

3) MK Tiwary 27 off 31 V Chennai Super Kings in Chennai, 2010 - Pressure IMPACT 1.80

Interestingly, the exact same match as the one above, with Manoj Tiwary also absorbing the pressure of 19-4 and taking the score to 92 with Matthews.

4) RN ten Doeschate  70 off 49 V Mumbai Indians in Mumbai, 2011 - Pressure IMPACT 1.79

At 20-4 in 2011’s elimination final, KKR was looking out of it, till Pathan and ten Doeschate took the score to 82 when Pathan fell. With Shakib Al Hasan, ten Doeschate exploded thereafter and produced an innings of rare offense – none of which could eventually prevent MI from winning by 4 wickets though, but at least the match went into the last over.

5) YK Pathan  26 off 24 V Mumbai Indians in Mumbai, 2011 - Pressure IMPACT 1.79

Again, the same match as the one above – with Yusuf Pathan absorbing the trauma of 20-4 and taking the score to 82 before falling for 26.

6) LA Carseldine 39 off 32 V Deccan Charges in Port Elizabeth, 2009 - Pressure IMPACT 1.78

33-year-old Lee Carseldine played a fine innings as RR chasing DC’s 141 found themselves 3-3 when he walked in. Jadeja and he took the score to 54 and Carseldine fell shortly thereafter at 57, but his innings had provided the foundation (and perhaps inspiration) for some rearguard action from the lower order, which all led to RR winning by 3 wickets in the last over.

7) R McLaren  51 off 43 V Pune Warriors in Mumbai, 2011 - Pressure IMPACT 1.67

Even though Kings XI Punjab managed to survive the trauma of 9-4, it was 36-5 when Ryan McLaren walked in. Soon, it was 45-6. With a skilful performance which did not compromise on strike rate (and even included 6 fours and a six), McLaren took his side to the ostensible sanity of 112. PW knocked it off easily though, to win by 7 wickets.

8) G Gambhir   57 off 56 V Chennai Super Kings in Chennai, 2010 - Pressure IMPACT 1.67

DD was basking in the relative comfort of chasing 112 but in 2 overs, their best three batsmen were back in the hut – score 6-3. With D Karthik and M Manhas, the batsman to take charge was the reliable Gautam Gambhir – true to his legendary chasing status in ODI cricket too, he ensured that he finished off the match by staying not out in the end.

9) DJ Hussey 71 off 46 V Kings XI Panjab in Chennai, 2010 - Pressure IMPACT 1.65

One of David Hussey’s finest T20 innings happened when he came out to bat at 25-3 as KKR chased 179. That soon became 29-4 and then 50-5 until wicketkeeper Saha walked in. Together, they took the score to 154 in the penultimate over. Unfortunately, Saha too could not finish the game off with Agarkar, and KKR lost by 9 runs in a humdinger.

10) MS Dhoni 70 off 40 V Royal Challengers Bangalore in Bangalore, 2011 - Pressure IMPACT 1.62

22-4 in the sixth over felt like disaster for CSK but pressure has often been Dhoni’s natural habitat. Just over a month had gone by since his World Cup final heroics and his aura was still very much intact as he and wicketkeeper Saha (the only other player to reach double figures in the innings) took the score to a reasonable 128. They still lost, thanks primarily to a rampant Chris Gayle who could do little wrong in IPL 2011.

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