20 balls, 0 fours: Sunrisers perfecting the strangling act
Twenty balls into a T20 innings is a long time for a batsman to not hit a single boundary. There have been only 28 instances in the IPL of batsmen getting out without hitting a boundary after having faced 20 or more balls. A rare enough occurrence, considering there have been 1,549 innings of 20 balls or more; it happens less than two times in 100 innings.
A look at the numbers season-wise shows that it is more common of late - which suggests that the bowlers have started adapting to the requirements of T20 cricket. Of 25 such innings before the current season, ten came in the first three years. If we discount the second IPL season in South Africa (with its bowler-friendly conditions), only three innings came in the first and third seasons. But the previous two seasons included 15 such innings, with the maximum - eight - coming in 2012.
Rajasthan Royals, hardly the team with the most potent bowling attack, have managed to shackle batsmen on seven occasions - the most by any team, followed by Kolkata Knight Riders with five.
This year, we've had three such knocks 22 games and 93 innings into the season. Sunrisers were the bowling team in all three instances, inflicting the dubious stat on Manish Pandey, Steven Smith and Manprit Juneja, all recognised batsmen.
Only two teams had done it three times in a season before Sunrisers - Deccan Chargers in 2011 and Kolkata Knight Riders in 2012. Like Sunrisers, Knight Riders also did it against recognised batsmen, but the franchise had played four IPL seasons and 71 matches before that. Sunrisers had done the same six games into their short history.