Chennai Super Kings May 24, 2012

Home struggles for Super Kings' spinners

Chennai Super Kings seem to have a knack of picking up their game when they need it most

Chennai Super Kings seem to have a knack of picking up their game when they need it most. Their only two losses in big games came in the first IPL final and in the semi-final in 2009. After a large slice of luck enabled them to qualify for the play-offs this season, they produced a superb all-round performance against Mumbai Indians, who had beaten Super Kings twice in the league phase. Next up for Super Kings are Delhi Daredevils, who, in sharp contrast to Super Kings, have generally struggled to deliver in crunch games. In this season, Super Kings have failed to dominate contests in Chennai like they did in IPL 2011, when they went unbeaten at home. However, the nine-wicket win against Daredevils in their recent clash tilts the balance in favour of the defending champions.

In home matches, especially, spin has been a major trump card for Super Kings in the previous seasons. In 2011, Super Kings' spinners picked up 26 wickets at an average of 23.50 and economy rate of 6.43. Visiting spinners struggled and managed only 15 wickets at an average of 43.20 and economy rate of 7.90. The trend is quite different this time round. Visiting spinners have a far better average (24.66) than their Super Kings' counterparts, who average a high 55.60. Not only have visiting spinners picked up more wickets, they have also managed to maintain a much better economy rate (6.16) than Super Kings' spinners (7.82). The inferior performance of Super Kings' spinners is also reflected in the fact that they have a higher boundary-run percentage and lower dot-ball percentage. Daredevils' spinners though, have better numbers overall than Super Kings have managed at home (average 37.17 and economy rate 7.18).

Surprisingly, on the pace front, Super Kings have outperformed visiting teams. The average difference (difference between bowling averages of visiting teams and Super Kings) for pace bowlers is 14.23. Super Kings' pace attack, led by the in-form Ben Hilfenhaus, has an economy rate of 7.00 while visiting teams have only managed a corresponding number of 8.44. While the boundary-run percentage is approximately the same for pace bowlers from both teams, Super Kings are well ahead on the dot-ball percentage measure.

Pace v Spin for Chennai Super Kings and visiting teams in Chennai (IPL 2012)
Team Bowler type Wickets Average Economy rate Boundary run % Dot-ball %
Chennai Super Kings Pace 29 20.72 7.00 51.24 42.91
Visiting teams Pace 23 34.95 8.44 50.99 31.34
Chennai Super Kings Spin 10 55.30 7.82 47.01 32.54
Visiting teams Spin 15 24.66 6.16 38.37 40.27

M Vijay and Suresh Raina, two of the most successful batsmen in IPL 2011, have been out of form for majority of the tournament. However, the middle order for Super Kings has bailed them out of trouble on quite a few occasions including the play-off game against Mumbai Indians when they were precariously placed at 1 for 2. The stats tell a similar story. In matches played in Chennai, the top-order (1-3) batsmen for Super Kings have averaged 32.68, which is marginally ahead of the average of top-order batsmen (30.26) from visiting teams. Super Kings' middle-order (4-7) batsmen have, however, done much better than their visiting counterparts. While Super Kings' batsmen average 23.29 at a strike rate of 130.26, the corresponding numbers for visiting batsmen are 19.78 and 105.61. Super Kings have dominated the batting stats in the Powerplay overs in home matches, averaging 62.16 at a scoring rate of 7.77. While visiting teams have a higher average in the middle overs, the stats for Super Kings in the end overs are very evenly matched with those of the visiting teams.

Batting stats for Super Kings and visiting teams in Chennai this season
Team 1-3 batsmen (avg/SR) 4-7 batsmen (avg/SR) Powerplay overs (avg,RR) Middle overs (7-14)- (avg,RR) End overs (15-20) - (avg,RR)
Chennai Super Kings 32.68/121.86 23.29/130.26 62.16/7.77 29.53/6.92 17.18/8.75
Visiting teams 30.26/122.96 19.78/105.61 35.70/7.43 35.83/6.71 17.72/8.76
Overall 31.40/122.40 21.44/116.96 45.62/7.60 32.33/6.82 17.45/8.76

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