ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features

Tough for batsmen in IPL 2013

The lack of big totals has been one of the main features of the IPL so far this year, and it has generally made for a more compelling contest

S Rajesh

April 12, 2013

Comments: 9 | Text size: A | A

Virat Kohli hits square, Sunrisers Hyderabad v Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL, Hyderabad, April 7, 2013
Virat Kohli has made the most of good batting conditions in Bangalore, and has been one of the few batsmen who has scored freely in this season's IPL © BCCI

All stats updated till matches played on April 10

The first week of the IPL has mostly been about bowlers dominating the show, with batsmen struggling to pile up the sort of runs that are usually associated with 20-over cricket. The Dinesh Karthik-Rohit Sharma show at the Wankhede Stadium in the tenth match of the tournament, when Mumbai Indians posted 209, was the first instance of a team scoring more than 165 in this year's tournament. In the first eight matches of IPL 2013, the average run rate was a paltry 6.91, well below 7.88, the average over the first five seasons.

Clearly the first week hasn't been a memorable one for batsmen, but this isn't the first time the IPL has got off to a slow start for them. In 2012, the first week was similarly sluggish - the average runs per wicket after 11 matches was 19.45, at a run rate of 7.35, stats that are not very different from this year's numbers. The 2012 tournament started with Chennai Super Kings being bowled out for 112, and was followed by first-innings scores of 129 and 101. The first 200-plus total didn't come till the 13th game.

However, once the batsmen warmed up, they did much better, so that the overall numbers for 2012 weren't very different from those for the earlier years - an overall average of 26.19, at a run rate of 7.82.

This year, the average after 11 matches was 21.75, and the run rate 7.34, and even those were after the tall scores in the ninth and tenth games. The Powerplay run rate is even lower, at 6.59, confirming the suspicion that teams have tended to hang back in the first six, preferring to bat with restraint and keep wickets in hand.

Only once in 22 attempts has a team scored at more than eight an over in the Powerplays - Kings XI Punjab raced to 56 for 1 after the Powerplay against Pune Warriors in the sixth match of the season, but in the same game their opponents struggled to the lowest Powerplay score of the tournament, 24 for 2. That's one of 11 instances in 11 matches when teams have scored less than 40 in the Powerplays. In the first edition of the IPL, on the other hand, there were 47 instances of teams scoring 50 or more in the first six. In 2012 too, there were 40 instances of Powerplay scores of 50 or more; one-seventh of the way into the 2013 edition, there's been only one such instance.

However, compared to the 2012 edition, there have been far more fifties this time. Last year, there had been only six half-centuries, and no hundreds, after 11 games; this time, despite there not being any centuries so far, the fifties have come at a pretty good clip - 15 in 11 matches.

First-week stats in each season of the IPL
Season Matches Runs per wkt Runs per over 100s/ 50s 4s/ 6s Powerplay ave
2008 12 27.42 8.60 3/ 15 368/ 157 27.92/ 8.14
2009 11 21.32 7.85 1/ 11 241/ 114 33.19/ 7.86
2010 12 27.19 8.32 1/ 14 357/ 130 29.12/ 8.09
2011 11 27.79 7.67 1/ 15 307/ 89 25.08/ 6.84
2012 11 19.45 7.35 0/ 6 232/ 101 22.37/ 6.78
2013 11 21.75 7.34 0/ 15 283/ 79 29.00/ 6.59

End-of-tournament stats for each IPL
Season Matches Runs per wkt Runs per over 100s/ 50s 4s/ 6s Powerplay ave/ RR
2008 58 26.03 8.30 6/ 83 1702/ 622 30.44/ 7.70
2009 57 23.41 7.48 2/ 68 1316/ 506 26.37/ 7.22
2010 60 26.20 8.12 4/ 88 1709/ 585 32.28/ 7.89
2011 73 26.01 7.72 6/ 89 1913/ 639 29.82/ 7.20
2012 75 26.19 7.82 6/ 96 1911/ 731 32.71/ 7.22

The overall end-of-tournament average and run rate for 2012 were pretty much par for the IPL course - the scoring picked up, as did the centuries count. There were six hundreds by the time the competition finished, which is the most there have ever been in an IPL. The table below captures the spurt of runs, fifties and hundreds after a tepid start in the first 11 games. Compared to just six fifties during that period, the next 11 matches had 14 scores of 50 or more, including one century. The hundred came from Ajinkya Rahane in the 18th game of the tournament, against Bangalore, while there were 13 scores between Chris Gayle's 81 and Shikhar Dhawan's 52. The batsmen got a lot more adventurous during the Powerplay overs as well, helped by the fact that teams also lost fewer wickets during those overs.

The scoring rates remained reasonably high through the rest of the tournament in 2012, as did the rate of batsmen making 50-plus scores. Given that the rates are slowly picking up this year as well, it's possible that the tournament stats for this year will also nudge the overall IPL averages.

How IPL 2012 panned out, over 11-match intervals
Matches Runs per wkt Runs per over 100s/ 50s 4s/ 6s P'play ave P'play RR
1-11 19.45 7.35 0/ 6 232/ 101 22.37 6.78
12-22 26.64 7.95 1/ 13 275/ 124 41.87 7.61
23-33 32.29 8.05 1/ 19 273/ 88 41.38 7.24
35*-45 25.67 7.73 0/ 17 290/ 102 37.03 7.29
46-56 28.46 8.00 1/ 13 292/ 112 40.36 7.64
57-67 28.52 7.89 2/ 18 315/ 115 24.70 6.92
68-76 25.37 7.79 1/ 10 234/ 89 32.91 7.00
* Match No.34, between Royal Challengers and Super Kings, was washed out without a ball being bowled

The opening partnership has been another area where teams have struggled so far in IPL 2013. Despite the unbeaten 139-run stand between Michael Hussey and Murali Vijay in the game between Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab, the overall tournament average this year is 22.71, at a run rate of 6.43 per over, both considerably lower than the tournament averages over the last few years. Even in the edition in South Africa in 2009, where the conditions would have been more difficult for batting, the opening stands were more productive than they have been this year.

Apart from the century stand for Super Kings, the only other 50-plus opening partnership in the first 11 games was between Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar, but they took 7.3 overs to score 52 against Royal Challengers. On the other hand, there have been ten instances when the opening stand hasn't exceeded 10, including three ducks.

In the last two IPL tournaments, in 2012 and 2011, there was a 50-plus opening partnership roughly once in four innings; so far this year, the average is once every 11 innings.

Opening partnership stats in each IPL
Season Innings Average stand Run rate 100/ 50 p'ships
2008 116 32.41 8.04 7/ 18
2009 114 24.00 7.52 3/ 18
2010 120 30.54 7.97 3/ 21
2011 145 32.51 7.97 8/ 26
2012 148 31.76 7.45 4/ 32
2013 22 22.71 6.43 1/ 1

Despite the lack of big scores there have been a fair number of close matches: three out of 11 have been won by a margin of less than 10 runs, and one has gone into the Super Over. In the first 11 matches in 2012, the only close finish was Mumbai Indians' last-ball win against Deccan Chargers. The batsmen may not have had it their way in IPL 2013, but that has only made the contest more even and competitive so far this season.

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. Follow him on Twitter

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Comments: 9 
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Posted by John on (April 15, 2013, 8:16 GMT)

I think another point is that sides play marquee name or out of form batsmen over those who are actually more likely to score big runs. I'd say pretty much all the Franchises are guilty of this and we're getting international players who are continually being picked because of past reputations. I think we're also seeing that a consistent economical bowler (someone like Narine) is as big an asset as a big hitter with the bat

Posted by Dummy4 on (April 13, 2013, 4:26 GMT)

I'm really happy to find few others to have the same feeling that even T20 shouldn't be heavily favoring batsmen. Bats have become so better (not necessarily batsmen) that even Ashish nehra or any other no.11 is hitting sixes of good bowlers. If not better cricket balls atleast pitches should make the contest even. Also future generations should appreciate Viv richards or other attacking batsmen of earlier era and not compare their sixes count with avg players of current generation.

Posted by Slizzle on (April 12, 2013, 19:48 GMT)

I agree with Yogi....bring on the pace spin whatever gives the bowlers more

Posted by joel on (April 12, 2013, 19:04 GMT)

Cricket is only enjoyable when there is balance between bat and ball. the batsmen should have to work for their runs and not expect bowlers to be offering up pies all the time.

Posted by Brian on (April 12, 2013, 16:07 GMT)

IPL '13 is lacking in big scores bcoz of absence of Pakistani batsmen.

Posted by Hitesh on (April 12, 2013, 7:14 GMT)

Don't know why some people keep talking about test matches at every forum!!! Right now except SA, none of the cricket palying nations has a balanced test team!! We know how England was whitewashed in UAE and defected at home by SA.. So, lets not talk about the test match bowlers here..!!

Posted by vas on (April 12, 2013, 6:58 GMT)

When the pitches are helpful to the bowlers , the matches are very enjoyable. Occasional 6 es are fine. But 6 after 6 after 6 , is boring to watch.

Posted by John on (April 12, 2013, 5:25 GMT)

The fact that a run-rate of almost 7 runs per over, more than a run a ball, is described as 'paltry' is an indication of how much of a batsman's league the IPL is. There's not much joy in being a bowler in the IPL; only 24 balls maximum a game, few close fielders, no-one even cares about your average and an economy rate of under 8 rpo is considered good- under 7 outstanding.

No wonder India is having such trouble finding test match bowlers.

Posted by Yogesh on (April 12, 2013, 5:08 GMT)

As a fan, I REALLY hope the curators keep the pitches at least somewhat helpful to the bowlers. Frankly, it is boring to watch otherwise average batsmen club sixes or fours off hapless bowlers. It is far more rewarding to watch an even contest and see batsmen hopping about because of seaming or spinning deliveries.

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S Rajesh Stats editor Every week the Numbers Game takes a look at the story behind the stats, with an original slant on facts and figures. The column is edited by S Rajesh, ESPNcricinfo's stats editor in Bangalore. He did an MBA in marketing, and then worked for a year in advertising, before deciding to chuck it in favour of a job which would combine the pleasures of watching cricket and writing about it. The intense office cricket matches were an added bonus.

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