IPL5: The Top Impact Makers

This season's seismic performances, as observed by Impact Index.

Bisla's 89 in the final was the top Batting Impact innings of IPL5.

By Jaideep Varma and Jatin Thakkar

There has been an exceptional amount of criticism of the IPL this year – most of them along predictable done-to-death lines – conflict-of-interest ownership issues, bad taste around its presentation, focus on non-cricket things, short attention-span version of the sport and so on. And of course the corruption – especially from shrill-sounding politicians and journalists, smartly side-stepping the tiny point that their respective fields aren’t exactly brimming with idealism, honesty and goodwill these days. 

They all seem to miss the point – the cricket actually was of a rather high standard this year (and it was cricket all right, and Test cricket need not be its only representative) – certainly the best there has been in any IPL season previously. A good part of this had to do with the level of competition – most of the teams were very well-matched and that led to an extra bit of effort drawn out from the players, which was palpable. Some outstanding batting, bowling and fielding was on view, from artistry to savagery, merciless domination to stirring fightbacks…there was enough skill, courage, raw talent and intelligence on display right through the season.

We present a bird’s-eye-view to all these…through the Impact Index prism (an individual analysis after the team analysis we did yesterday) to see which of these performances really influenced the games they came in and how many of these contributed to their teams’ eventual fate.


The player of the tournament award going to Sunil Narine was a triumph of old-fashioned romanticism over reason. Yes, he contributed greatly to KKR’s campaign but eventually he wasn’t even amongst the highest impact 10 players of the tournament. Hell, he wasn’t even the highest impact bowler of IPL 2012.

As per the list above, Manwinder Bisla was the highest impact player, not just for his tournament-defining innings in the final – he performed in the 6 other matches he played too (as wicketkeeper-batsman). His failure-rate as a player was amongst the lowest in the tournament – all of which suggests that it would have been tragic if he had not got this opportunity in the final.

However, if the man-of-the-tournament should have gone to someone who played closer to the full quota of matches, then that man was KKR captain Gautam Gambhir. Besides being the 2nd-highest impact batsman in IPL 2012 (after Gayle, though his team relied more on him than even RCB did on Gayle right through the tournament), his captaincy cannot be discounted in KKR’s triumph. His failure rate of 29% is remarkable for a single-skill player, and he was quite squarely the main reason why KKR did so well in the tournament.

It is interesting that nos. 3 and 6 are held by KKR players too (Kallis and McCullum). This is also perhaps the only time two wicketkeepers from one side registered such high impact in a tournament.

Three specialist batsmen made it to this list – Gambhir, Chris Gayle and Shikhar Dhawan (the last has a Bowling IMPACT more than 1 but he bowled only in 4 matches, which therefore does not add much to his overall impact).

Only one specialist bowler made it here – Dale Steyn – ahead of expected names like Narine and Morkel. He was the highest impact bowler in this IPL and very discernibly kept DC from being at the absolute bottom of the table.

There are just 3 Indians on this list – the good news however is that two of them are perhaps finds, and will be considered for national T20 teams now – Bisla and Dhawan. Actually, Gambhir’s captaincy might just be a significant find in the tournament too.

There are 4 all-rounders on this list – it is such a pity for their teams that Watson (RR) and Christian (DC) barely played 7 matches each. They could have made a big difference, going by these numbers.

Shikhar Dhawan’s failure rate is astonishingly low for someone primarily a specialist batsman – he had an impact as an occasional bowler and fielder as well. He would be a very serious candidate for the national squad now.

THE HIGHEST IMPACT ALL-ROUND PERFORMANCES IN IPL 2012

  1. RA Jadeja 48 off 29 and 5 for 16 in 4 overs v Deccan Chargers, Visakhapatnam – Match IMPACT 12.33
  2. JH Kallis 1 for 34 in 4 overs and 69 off 49 v Chennai Super Kings, Chennai - Match IMPACT 11.80 (as a tournament-defining performance)
  3. AC Gilchrist 4 catches as wicketkeeper and 64 not out off 46 v Chennai Super Kings, Dharamsala - Match IMPACT 10.50
  4. JH Kallis 30 off 33 and 2 for 24 in 4 overs v Delhi Daredevils, Chennai - Match IMPACT 10.34 (as a big match performance)
  5. DJ Bravo 33 not out off 14 and 2 for 10 in 3 overs v Mumbai Indians, Bangalore - Match IMPACT 9.99 (as a big match performance)
Ravindra Jadeja’s performance was so outstanding in the first match on this list that it leaves one with the feeling that he was perhaps underutilised in the tournament by CSK (he did not even bowl in the final). Kallis is here twice on this list – remarkably both in big match situations – his contribution to KKR’s victory was huge. Gilchrist’s presence here is moving because this was the last big performance by him in his cricket career – in his second-last appearance (that quintessentially KO’d the opposition).

Bravo delivered big performances in both the playoff matches CSK played before the final – this was the first one.


Chris Gayle, not surprisingly, was the highest impact batsman in the IPL for the second year running (besides winning the Orange Cap for highest run aggregate) His hallmark this year was scoring, by a distance, the highest proportion of runs for his team than anyone else. On top of this, he had the 2nd-highest Strike Rate IMPACT and the 8th-highest Pressure IMPACT (he actually absorbed pressure more regularly than we’d probably remember) in the tournament – the 4th-highest on this list. Without him, RCB would probably have been at the bottom of the table.

Despite players like Sehwag, Gayle and Pietersen on this list, it was Shane Watson who registered the highest Strike Rate IMPACT n IPL 2012 (though he only played 7 matches).

Amongst these, Michael Hussey absorbed the maximum pressure (of falling wickets) for his team – no surprises here. In fact, no one absorbed more pressure than him in IPL 2012. He was also the most consistent batsman in this year’s IPL (lowest failure rate).

Kevin Pietersen
was the best batsman when it came to chasing as well as building partnerships.

The above list has only 4 Indian players, 3 of whom participated in the playoffs, only one with much success.

Bisla, Dhawan
and du Plessis, as is also apparent from this list, were amongst the biggest finds of this IPL – all of them had a T20 Batting IMPACT well below 1.50 before this season.

THE HIGHEST IMPACT BATTING PERFORMANCES IN IPL 2012

  1. MS Bisla 89 off 48 v Chennai Super Kings, Chennai - Batting IMPACT 12.67 (as a tournament-defining innings)
  2. KP Pietersen 103 off 64 v Deccan Chargers, Delhi - Batting IMPACT 12.51
  3. SR Watson 90 off 51 v Pune Warriors, Pune - Batting IMPACT 12.19 (this was also the highest Strike Rate IMPACT innings of IPL 2012)
  4. M Vijay, 113 off 58 v Delhi Daredevils, Chennai - Batting IMPACT 11.29 (as a big match performance)
  5. JH Kallis 69 off 49 v Chennai Super Kings, Chennai - Batting IMPACT 10.71 (as a tournament-defining performance)
While Bisla’s innings was the highest impact batting performance of the tournament, given the occasion, Pietersen’s innings was the highest impact match context innings in this IPL (chasing 158, team at 23-3, hitting 6 fours and 9 sixes, winning easily). Watson registered the highest relative strike rate (or Strike Rate IMPACT) in his innings of 90 off 51 balls when a score of 125 was chased down in 16.2 overs. Murali Vijay and Jacques Kallis produced big performances in the playoffs to take their respective teams home.


The Purple Cap Holder Morne Morkel (highest tally of wickets) is the 5th-highest impact bowler in IPL 2012. The player of the tournament Sunil Narine is the 4th-highest impact bowler. These two topped the wickets tally and are considered the two bowlers who dominated IPL.

Sad for the 3 bowlers above them on the IMPACT list, whose contributions are likely to be forgotten by most.

Dale Steyn’s wicket-taking propensity is his most prominent trait in the other formats of the game but in this one, it was his ability to choke batsmen. His was the highest Economy IMPACT in this tournament. He was amongst the highest impact 5 bowlers when it came to taking wickets too. One shudders to think what would have happened to DC without him.

Ben Hilfenhaus had the highest Wickets Tally IMPACT (proportion of wickets taken in matches played) in the tournament, especially the top/middle-order. He also had the lowest failure rate amongst bowlers in the tournament. CSK’s bowling was largely dependent on him, given Bollinger’s absence.

Muttiah Muralitharan played just 10 matches – one of the big blunders of IPL 2012. His strengths very similar to Steyn’s – though with a lower failure rate. The prospect of him bowling with Vettori in tandem could have transformed RCB’s fortunes – pity they did not have even one reasonably high impact Indian batsman (who could have taken Dilshan’s place so that Muralitharan could have played more).

Interesting that Kevon Cooper, Malinga and Narine took the most lower-order wickets in the tournament. That should put a slight spin on their numbers.

Kevon Cooper had the highest Pressure Building IMPACT in the IPL, in the 7 matches he played. Pawan Negi broke the most partnerships.

Parvinder Awana was one of the finds of this IPL – and often played a big part in KXIP’s good performances. Again, he is likely to be a contender for the national squad.

THE HIGHEST IMPACT BOWLING PERFORMANCES IN IPL 2012
  1. RA Jadeja 5 for 16 in 4 overs v Deccan Chargers, Visakhapatnam – Bowling IMPACT 8.16
  2. A Chandila 4 for 13 in 4 overs v Pune Warriors, Jaipur – Bowling IMPACT 7.86
  3. P Negi 4 for 18 in 4 overs v Rajasthan Royals, Jaipur – Bowling IMPACT 7.23
  4. L Balaji 4 for 18 in 4 overs v Royal Challengers Bangalore, Bangalore – Bowling IMPACT 7.02
  5. KP Appanna 4 for 19 in 4 overs v Rajasthan Royals, Jaipur – Bowling IMPACT 7.01
Interestingly, not a single bowling performance from the playoffs made this list even after accounting for big match/ status. Jadeja’s performance at the top of the list was also the highest impact all-round performance in IPL 2012 (as he also made 48 off 29 before bowling). Chandila’s performance famously included a hat-trick. Negi’s performance was a welcome boost to the otherwise –weak DD attack outside of Morne Morkel. Balaji’s performance here the sole performance by a medium-pacer on this list (his loss was missed by KKR in the final – perhaps gratefully by them eventually, as it brought in Bisla). Appanna’s performance here was the only high impact bowling he did in IPL 2012.

In the end, IPL 2012 was memorable. The cricket was outstanding often enough, the thrills regular (30% of the matches ended in the last over). And as Kolkata toasts a young man from Haryana as its new hero, a South African as its most consistent player and a true-blue Delhi boy as its most high-profile regional captain in its history, the true value of IPL is perhaps yet to unfold. It might be worth all the controversies along the way.

For more information, please visit www.impactindexcricket.com

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