Kolkata Knight Riders May 22, 2012

The prospect of Sehwag v Narine

The surprise package of IPL 2012 has undoubtedly been West Indies spinner Sunil Narine

The surprise package of IPL 2012 has undoubtedly been West Indies spinner Sunil Narine. With a number of variations, he has confounded most top batsmen, including Sachin Tendulkar. Narine, the second-highest wicket-taker in this IPL season with 22 wickets, has an outstanding economy rate of 5.14. Delhi Daredevils won the first match against Kolkata Knight Riders comfortably but Knight Riders hit back in the return fixture winning by six wickets. However, Narine has not bowled a single ball to Virender Sehwag, who has been Delhi Daredevils' leading run-getter in IPL 2012. Sehwag, one of the most aggressive players of spin bowling, has the highest strike rate among batsmen with 300-plus runs. Given that Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders have finished in the top two, there is a significant possibility of Sehwag and Narine facing off twice in the remaining matches.

Narine has picked up a majority of his wickets in the final six-over period of the innings. His economy rate in the end overs (5.91) is exceptional given the high scoring rates. Against right-handers, he has been more successful overall. Not only has he dismissed them more often (14 wickets out of 22), he also has a better average (9.57) and economy rate (4.90) against right-handers. He has failed to dismiss a right-hander in the first six-over period of the innings but has a better record against left-handers in the same period. In the middle-over period (overs 7-14), Narine has been highly economical (economy rate of 3.76) and has tasted success against both right and left-handers. Eleven of his 14 wickets against right-handers have come in the final six-over period. In this phase of the innings, he has stunning numbers against right-handers (average 6.09 and economy rate 5.22). His corresponding numbers against left-handers in the same phase are slightly higher (12.66 and 6.70 respectively).

Sunil Narine against right and left-handers in IPL 2012 (wickets/avg, economy rate)
Batsman type Overs (1-6) Overs (7-14) Overs (15-20) Overall
Right-hander 0/-, 5.33 3/9.00, 3.85 11/6.09, 5.22 14/9.57, 4.90
Left-hander 2/8.33, 3.84 1/22.00, 3.66 5/12.66, 6.70 8/12.30, 5.16
Overall 2/32.50, 4.64 4/12.25, 3.76 16/8.93, 5.91 22/11.68, 5.14

Sehwag, who has had a great run this season, set a Twenty20 record for the most consecutive fifty-plus scores (5). He, along with Kevin Pietersen, lifted Daredevils to the top of the table where they have remained for most of the tournament. Sehwag will partner David Warner, who has also been in top form after joining the team following Australia's tour of the West Indies. Sehwag has scored at a faster clip against pace bowlers and averages much higher (53.16) against them than against spinners (23.67). In the first six-over period, Sehwag has scored at a higher run-rate against spinners (11.21) but averages higher against pace bowlers. In the middle-over (overs 7-14) period, he has been dismissed only once by fast bowlers but three times by spinners. In the final six-over phase too, spinners have succeeded against Sehwag, dismissing him twice while conceding 14 runs.

Virender Sehwag against pace and spin in IPL 2012 (runs/avg, scoring rate)
Bowler type Overs (1-6) Overs (7-14) Overs (15-20) Overall
Pace 203/40.60, 9.36 115/115.00, 13.01 1/-, 6.00 319/53.16, 10.40
Spin 43/21.50, 11.21 108/36.00, 8.30 14/7.00, 9.33 165/23.57, 9.00
Overall 246/35.14, 9.64 223/55.75, 10.21 15/7.50, 7.50 484/37.23, 9.87

Madhusudhan Ramakrishnan is a sub-editor (stats) at ESPNcricinfo