The slog-over kings
It turns out that the top two teams in IPL 2012 so far are also the two teams who're best in the slog overs, with both bat and ball. Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders are the top two in the points table, and both sides have especially excelled with the ball in the final overs of these matches.
Daredevils have preferred chasing in this tournament, and they didn't bat first till their eighth game, when they thrashed Mumbai Indians by 37 runs after scoring 207. However, their bowling at the death bailed them out against Rajasthan Royals in their most recent game, when Morne Morkel conceded three in the penultimate over, and Umesh Yadav gave away ten in the last to clinch a one-run win. On the other hand, Daredevils had scored 20 in their last over, when Amit Singh conceded two sixes and two fours. Those last three overs turned out to be the difference between the two teams - Royals scored 13 off their last two, while Daredevils scored 20 off their last.
Similarly, Knight Riders have found the right players to do the job for them at the end. Like Daredevils, they haven't racked up a huge run rate with the bat in the last six, but their bowlers have been quite outstanding: they are the only side to concede less than eight an over in the last six, which means the difference between their batting run rate and their bowling economy rate in these overs is 0.84, which is next only to the Daredevils' 1.04.
The difference for these two teams is far greater than for other sides - Pune Warriors, who are third in the list, have a run rate that's 0.23 better than their economy rate. Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore are the only two sides who've scored and conceded more than ten an over in the last six. Mumbai Indians are pretty low in the table too, though that's largely because of the three matches that Lasith Malinga missed - in two of those games, Mumbai Indians conceded 128 runs in 69 balls, a run rate of 11.13 per over.
At the bottom of the pile are Deccan Chargers, which isn't surprising considering where they lie in the points table. Their batting has been meek in the end overs - their run rate is the second-lowest - while their bowling has been easy to hit around.
|Team||Bat ave||Run rate||Bowl ave||Econ rate||Diff*|
|Kolkata Knight Riders||17.00||8.76||13.87||7.92||0.84|
|Chennai Super Kings||17.36||9.07||15.23||9.05||0.02|
|Royal Challengers Bangalore||20.08||10.18||21.82||10.45||-0.27|
|Kings XI Punjab||17.88||9.43||19.83||9.74||-0.31|
Steven Smith of Warriors leads the list of batsmen who've scored the most runs in the last six overs of IPL 2012 - in just 99 balls he has scored 179, and has contributed in most of the matches: against Super Kings he scored 36 off 17, against Daredevils 34 off 13, and against Chargers 24 off 10.
Most of the other names down the list have done wonderfully too, not only in the number of runs scored, but also in terms of their scoring rate. AB de Villiers has been in stunning form in the tournament, which is reflected in his slog-over stats too - 122 runs in 64 balls, and despite scoring so quickly, only two dismissals. In three of their wins, de Villiers has played key roles with his skill and innovation at the end of the innings - 40 off 16 against Royals, 35 off 18 against Daredevils, and 33 off 14 against Warriors.
Similarly, Royals have had Owais Shah and Brad Hodge to help them out with quick runs at the end - Shah's best in the last six was 51 off 20 against Royal Challengers, while Hodge slammed 47 off 20 against Chargers. Chris Gayle's run rate is the highest among the group below, but his best effort in the slog - 51 off 44 against Knight Riders - came in a match which his team lost handily, with Gayle's charge coming too late to make any difference.
|AB de Villiers||122||64||2||61.00||11.43|
Among the bowlers, Malinga towers over the rest, with 12 wickets in 63 balls, conceding only 44 runs. His economy rate is outstanding, but his average is quite stunning - he is the only bowler whose average is lower than his economy rate. Sunil Narine has exceptional stats too, and is largely responsible for Knight Riders' superb bowling numbers in the last overs.
At the other end of the table are Vinay Kumar, Ashish Nehra and Amit Singh. They've all gone for plenty of runs at the end, but their captains have persisted with them, perhaps suggesting that there aren't too many other options available for the side. Vinay has bowled 15 overs and conceded 153 runs, while Amit Singh of Royals has gone at more than two runs per ball, which includes the over that cost 20 in that one-run loss against Daredevils.
|Bowler||Balls||Runs conceded||Wickets||Average||Econ rate|
S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. Follow him on Twitter