IPL 2012 April 10, 2012

McCullum's 158 the best by a distance

S Rajesh and Madhusudhan Ramakrishnan
Analysis of individual and overall batting performances across the four seasons of the IPL

It's no surprise that Shaun Marsh and Chris Gayle dominate the batting charts of ESPNcricinfo's batting analysis. Gayle's exploits have been more recent - he was in sparkling form throughout the 2011 season, scoring 608 runs at a strike rate of 183 - but Marsh was equally stunning in the first season, when he scored 616 runs at a strike rate touching 140, with a century and five fifties in 11 innings. The overall batting scores for these two are well clear of the rest of the field, with Gayle's average score being almost 18% higher than that of third-ranked Matthew Hayden.

What's also apparent in the numbers below is how closely bunched the rest of the top batsmen are: ten positions separate Shane Watson and Rohit Sharma and yet the difference in their average scores is only 3.29, which is less than the difference between the second and third-ranked batsmen.

Similarly, the top two innings, by Brendon McCullum and Sanath Jayasuriya, stand out, with the rest bunched close together. Almost 15 points separate the innings in first and third place, but the difference between the third and the 20th ranked innings is less than 10 points.

Key components of the batting analysis

- Context for a batsman's strike rate. A 25-ball 50 in a low-scoring game is of higher value than the same innings in a high-scoring match. Moreover, in a Twenty20 game, it's possible for one batsman's performance to influence the overall run-rate of the match. Hence, the study compares a batsman's scoring rate against other batsmen in that game, so that a player in not penalised for his own quick scoring.

Compare, for example, these two innings: MS Dhoni's 66 off 33 v Kolkata Knight Riders, 2010 and Michael Hussey's 116 off 54 v Kings XI Punjab, 2008. In the first game, Dhoni scored at a strike rate of 200 while the rest of the batsmen managed to score at only 96.55. On the other hand, in the second game, while Hussey scored at 214.81, the rest of the batsmen scored at a fairly high clip of 168.81. Thus, even though Dhoni's strike rate was lower than Hussey's he gets a higher strike rate score due to the relative speed of his innings.

-The batting position at which the runs were scored The runs scored are rated relative to the average score at that batting position. Thus, a middle- or lower-order batsman who scores 50 will get a higher rating score than an opener who scores 50 (if all other factors are the same). That's also consistent with the fact that scoring runs in T20 cricket is easier at the top of the order than at other positions.

For example, Virender Sehwag's 94 against Deccan Chargers while opening the batting gets a relatively lower score than Yusuf Pathan's 100 against Mumbai Indians which came at No.5. Pathan's knock gets a higher value for runs scored because it came at a batting position where it's more difficult to score a lot of runs.

- Minimum balls faced To ensure that a quick, end-of-innings slog (20 off six balls, for example) doesn't get as much value for strike rate as 50 off 15, there are threshold cut-offs for balls faced and runs scored. Innings which are below the cut-offs don't get the full value of scores.

- Minimum innings played To ensure that a player with a few innings doesn't go to the top of the table, a cut-off of 20 innings has been put for a batsman to get his full rating. A batsman who's played fewer than 20 innings has his overall rating slightly dampened.

Top 10 IPL batting performances

1. Brendon McCullum: 158 off 73 v Royal Challengers Bangalore, Bangalore, 2008

McCullum scored the first hundred in IPL in the league's very first game in 2008. He scored 71 % of the team runs and hit 13 sixes, which remains a record in a single innings. His strike rate was 216.43, while the rest of the batsmen in the game scored 110 runs off 138 balls at a strike rate of 79.71.

2. Sanath Jayasuriya: 114 off 48 v Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai, 2008

Jayasuriya's blitz enabled Mumbai Indians to chase down a 157-run target with 40 balls to spare. He hit 11 sixes during his knock and scored at a strike rate of 237.50. In contrast, the rest of the batsmen in the game had a combined strike rate of 118.70.

3. Virender Sehwag: 119 off 56 v Deccan Chargers, 2011

Sehwag's effort came off just 56 balls and helped Delhi Daredevils chase down a challenging target of 176. Sehwag's strike rate of 212.50 was well above the combined strike rate of the rest of his team (86.20) and comfortably ahead of the match strike rate of 151.28.

4. Adam Gilchrist: 85 off 35 v Delhi Daredevils, 2009

In the first semi-final, Gilchrist led the chase of 154 by scoring 85 off only 35 balls. In a game where the rest of the batsmen scored at a strike rate of 152.83 and the rest of his team-mates managed a rate of 88.73, Gilchrist's strike rate of 242.85 stood out.

5. Adam Gilchrist: 109 off 47 v Mumbai Indians, 2008

Deccan Chargers chased down 155 without losing a single wicket with Gilchrist scoring 109 off just 47 balls in which he hit 96 runs in boundaries. In a match where the rest of the batsmen scored at a strike rate of 124.65, Gilchrist scored at a superb rate of 231.91.

6. Harbhajan Singh: 49 off 18 v Deccan Chargers, 2010

Coming in at No. 9 with the score at 119 in 16.4 overs, Harbhajan smashed 49 off just 18 balls to lift Mumbai Indians to 172. His strike rate of 272.27 was by far the highest in a match where the rest of the batsmen scored at a strike rate of 103.09. His score is by far the highest at No.9 in IPL; the next-best is 33.

7. Yusuf Pathan: 100 off 37 v Mumbai Indians, 2010

Faced with a huge target, Pathan came in at 40 for 3 and scored his century off just 37 balls at a strike rate of 270.27, still the highest in the IPL for a fifty-plus score. The combined strike rate for the other batsmen in the game was 147.29. It is also by far the highest score made by a batsman coming in at No. 5 (second-highest is 71).

8. Virender Sehwag: 94 off 41 v Deccan Chargers, 2008

Delhi Daredevils made short work of the 143-run target with the help of Sehwag's blitz. He scored 94 off 41 balls with 76 runs in boundaries. His strike rate of 229.26 was well above that of the other batsmen in the game (110.82).

9. Yusuf Pathan: 62 off 30 v Delhi Daredevils, 2009

Pathan came to the crease with Rajasthan Royals in trouble at 64 for 5 requiring 83 off nine overs. He hit 62 off 30 balls at a strike rate of 206.66. The overall strike rate for the rest of the players in the game was 106.46. Pathan's score is also the highest by a player coming in to bat at No. 7.

10. MS Dhoni: 70 off 40 v Royal Challengers Bangalore, 2011

In a game where the rest of the Chennai Super Kings' batsmen scored just 48 off 57 balls (strike rate of 84.21), Dhoni's 70 off 40 balls (strike rate of 175.00) stood out. It is also one of only four 70-plus scores at No.6.

Top individual innings in IPL
Batsman Team Opposition Runs Points
Brendon McCullum Kolkata Knight Riders Royal Challengers Bangalore 158 81.09
Sanath Jayasuriya Mumbai Indians Chennai Super Kings 114 72.40
Virender Sehwag Delhi Daredevils Deccan Chargers 119 66.28
Adam Gilchrist Deccan Chargers Delhi Daredevils 85 65.37
Adam Gilchrist Deccan Chargers Mumbai Indians 109 65.23
Harbhajan Singh Mumbai Indians Deccan Chargers 49 64.89
Yusuf Pathan Rajasthan Royals Mumbai Indians 100 64.54
Virender Sehwag Delhi Daredevils Deccan Chargers 94 64.46
Yusuf Pathan Rajasthan Royals Delhi Daredevils 62 62.50
MS Dhoni Chennai Super Kings Royal Challengers Bangalore 70 62.07
Suresh Raina Chennai Super Kings Rajasthan Royals 98 60.98
Chris Gayle Royal Challengers Bangalore Kings XI Punjab 107 60.95
M Vijay Chennai Super Kings Rajasthan Royals 127 60.09
Virender Sehwag Delhi Daredevils Rajasthan Royals 75 59.99
Ross Taylor Royal Challengers Bangalore Kolkata Knight Riders 81 58.24
Paul Valthaty Kings XI Punjab Chennai Super Kings 120 57.55
MS Dhoni Chennai Super Kings Kolkata Knight Riders 66 57.39
Andrew Symonds Deccan Chargers Rajasthan Royals 117 57.37
Kieron Pollard Mumbai Indians Delhi Daredevils 45 56.96
Michael Hussey Chennai Super Kings Kings XI Punjab 116 56.56

The overall batting scores

This is calculated by averaging out every batting performance by a player. Since each batting performance counts, innings in which a batsman remains not-out is also included when calculating his average score. Hence, batsmen whose averages have been boosted by several not-out (like S Badrinath, who has 17, or Mahela Jayawardene, 12) have a relatively lower score than batsmen who have similar averages (and scoring rates), but with fewer not-outs.

Shaun Marsh, by virtue of his consistency, finds himself on top of the IPL batsmen list. Marsh has 12 fifty-plus scores in just 28 innings while scoring at a strike rate of 140.93. Chris Gayle, who is in second position, was in exceptional form in the previous season. Overall, Gayle has a high strike rate (162.51) and has made seven fifty-plus scores in 28 innings.

Top batsmen overall in IPL
Batsman Matches Points
Shaun Marsh 29 23.67
Chris Gayle 28 22.53
Matthew Hayden 32 18.55
Shane Watson 32 17.59
Michael Hussey 21 17.35
Sachin Tendulkar 51 17.07
Suresh Raina 62 16.23
MS Dhoni 59 16.12
Virender Sehwag 50 15.78
Kumar Sangakkara 50 15.31
Yusuf Pathan 58 14.72
Sanath Jayasuriya 30 14.55
Andrew Symonds 39 14.54
Adam Gilchrist 60 14.35
Rohit Sharma 61 14.30
Ambatti Rayudu 30 13.89
Gautam Gambhir 55 13.80
JP Duminy 30 13.16
David Warner 31 13.11
Brendon McCullum 35 13.04

All stats are updated for the first four IPL seasons (2008-2011)

Analysis conducted by Madhusudhan Ramakrishnan and Senthilkumar

Click here to download the list of top 50 individual performances and here to download the list of top 50 IPL batsmen.