It is two weeks into the carnival that is the Indian Premier League and we have already seen some blitzes with the bat, some miserly bowling performances, breathtaking and acrobatic efforts in the field, and shrewd captaincy deciding fate of matches. Several youngsters – Indian and from overseas - have grabbed the platform the IPL has presented them and delivered match-winning performances.
Along the way, in these last two weeks, we have also identified some trends in the tournament. Here’s looking at a few trends we’ve been able to establish in the first couple of weeks.
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Leg-spinners Having a Ball
Leg spinners have wreaked havoc in many games already. Many wrist spinners – not just one or two – have contributed to their team’s success in these last two weeks. Sunrisers Hyderabad’s Rashid Khan, making his first appearance in the IPL, has bamboozled several top-class batsmen, while Yuzvendra Chahal and Samuel Badree are RCB’s top two wicket-takers. Imran Tahir, the world’s top-ranked bowler in T20Is, occupies third place in the wicket-takers list this season.
Overall in the tournament so far, leg-spinners have accounted for more than half the number of wickets taken by spinners this season. And the wickets have come at a fair clip too; they are picking a wicket every 16 deliveries, which is seven balls fewer than left-arm spinners (who have the second-best strike-rate).
Trivia: Rashid Khan is the second-highest wicket-taker currently; his scalps in the IPL include Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch, Suresh Raina and David Miller.
Laying The Foundation at The Top
Opening batsmen seem to be having a ball this season. As a pair too, openers cause plenty of damage with the bat. On Tuesday night, Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle caused plenty of destruction when they added 122 against the Gujarat Lions. After 20 matches this season, the average opening partnership stands at 38.72 – which is the highest after 20 games in the last five seasons.
Trivia: Earlier in the season, Chris Lynn and Gautam Gambhir set a new record opening partnership in the IPL; they added 184 against the Gujarat Lions.
Virtues of Bowling Straight
The general notion is that Sunrisers Hyderabad have the best bowling attack among all the eight sides in IPL 2017. Why not? They have the experience of Ashish Nehra to lead the attack, two exceptional wicket-taking quick bowlers in Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mustafizur Rahman, and a highly talented spinner in Rashid Khan. In their five matches so far this season, Sunrisers Hyderabad have collected a total of 39 wickets – which is the most any team has taken so far in the competition.
Why have SRH been successful? The answer is simple. Their bowlers attack the stumps a lot more and hence have reaped the rewards. Numbers explain SRH’s strategy best; of their 39 wickets so far, 18 have been of batsmen being dismissed Bowled or LBW – which is 46% of all their wickets. This number is nearly twice the corresponding number of other teams; only 24% of the wickets taken by the remaining seven teams are Bowled or LBW.