Narine's remarkable season
In a week which witnessed the end of the league phase of IPL 2012, two of the top performances ironically came from players whose teams failed to make it to the play-off stage. On the batting front, Chris Gayle scored his third IPL century and set up a massive total for Royal Challengers Bangalore against Delhi Daredevils. However, Gayle was one of the batsmen dismissed by Dale Steyn in a fiery spell which knocked out Royal Challengers and allowed Chennai Super Kings to qualify instead. Steyn, who had bowled remarkably earlier in the tournament in lost causes, helped Deccan Chargers defend 132 with a stunning spell of 3 for 8 off his four overs. David Warner, who had scored a century earlier in the tournament against Chargers, was in top form again in the game against Kings XI Punjab. Other notable performances in the previous week include JP Duminy's 74 out of Chargers' total of 132 against Royal Challengers and Morne Morkel's 4 for 20 against Kings XI.
Gayle, by far the highest run-getter in IPL 2012, struck a record 13 sixes in his knock against Daredevils. The 128 was his eighth century in the Twenty20 format and his first in this IPL season. Gayle's strike rate of 206.45 was much higher than the combined strike rate of the other batsmen in a high-scoring game (151.68). Gayle's effort comes out on top of the ESPNcricinfo analysis of best batting performances in IPL 2012 and is slightly ahead of Shane Watson's 90 against Pune Warriors. In third spot is AB de Villiers' stunning 59 off 23 balls against Rajasthan Royals which enabled Royal Challengers recover from a precarious 67 for 3 in the 12th over. Warner, the only batsman to have two performances in the top ten, scored a rapid 79 against Kings XI in a low-scoring game. While the rest of the batsmen could only manage a strike rate of 102.15, Warner scored his runs at a high strike rate of 179.54.
All stats are updated till the end of the league matches on May 20, 2012
|Chris Gayle||Royal Challengers Bangalore||Delhi Daredevils||128||61.54||Shane Watson||Rajasthan Royals||Pune Warriors||90||61.18|
|AB de Villiers||Royal Challengers Bangalore||Rajasthan Royals||59||59.31|
|Rohit Sharma||Mumbai Indians
||Kolkata Knight Riders||109||58.38|
|Mayank Agarwal||Royal Challengers Bangalore||Mumbai Indians||64||54.89|
|David Warner||Delhi Daredevils||Deccan Chargers||109||54.73|
|Ajinkya Rahane||Rajasthan Royals||Royal Challengers Bangalore||103||54.25|
|Kevin Pietersen||Delhi Daredevils||Deccan Chargers||103||53.46|
|David Warner||Delhi Daredevils||Kings XI Punjab||79||53.33||Gautam Gambhir||Kolkata Knight Riders||Royal Challengers Bangalore||93||52.82|
Steyn, whose performances for Chargers in this season have often gone unrewarded, produced yet another brilliant spell of fast bowling in Chargers' final league game against Royal Challengers. Defending just 132, Steyn removed the dangerous Gayle and Tillakaratne DIlshan before returning later at a crucial juncture to dismiss Zaheer Khan. Steyn's economy rate of 2.00 stood out in a game where the run-rate was 6.38. Steyn's performance is in second position, marginally behind Ravindra Jadeja's 5 for 16 against Chargers. Four of the five spots from the third to the seventh positions have been taken by spinners. The top ten is rounded off by L Balaji, who bowled Kolkata Knight Riders to a 42-run win against Royal Challengers with a spell of 4 for 18.
|Ravindra Jadeja||Chennai Super Kings||Deccan Chargers||5/16||59.08|
|Dale Steyn||Deccan Chargers||Royal Challengers Bangalore||3/8||59.06||Ajit Chandila||Rajasthan Royals||Pune Warriors||4/13||57.96|
|Ben Hilfenhaus||Chennai Super Kings||Rajasthan Royals||2/8||52.95|
|KP Appanna||Royal Challenges Bangalore||Rajasthan Royals||4/19||52.22|
|Pavan Negi||Delhi Daredevils||Rajasthan Royals||4/18||51.96|
|Sunil Narine||Kolkata Knight Riders||Kings XI Punjab||5/19||51.40|
|Dale Steyn||Deccan Chargers||Mumbai Indians||3/12||49.66|
|Dimitri Mascarenhas||Kings XI Punjab||Pune Warriors||5/25||49.33|
|L Balaji||Kolkata Knight Riders||Royal Challengers Bangalore||4/18||49.10|
|Munaf Patel||Mumbai Indians||Deccan Chargers||4/20||48.40|
Gayle, who has one century and seven fifties in 15 games this season, is far ahead of the rest of the pack on the list of top batsmen in IPL 2012. Gautam Gambhir, who is in second position, is more than five points behind Gayle. The third-placed Pietersen, who had to leave mid-way through the tournament, did superbly in the eight matches he played scoring over 300 runs. The presence of Cameron White and Shikhar Dhawan in the top ten is some consolation for Chargers who finished second from last. De Villiers, who turned in match-winning performances for Royal Challengers on more than one occasion, is in ninth position while Rohit Sharma, the top run-getter for Mumbai Indians is tenth.
|Faf du Plessis||13||398||130.92||17.10|
|AB de Villiers||16||319||161.11||16.58|
Sunil Narine's ascent to the top of the pile is expected given his astonishing returns. Not only is he the second-highest wicket-taker in the tournament behind Morkel, his economy rate of 5.14 is easily the best among bowlers who have bowled at least 35 overs. What makes Narine's performance this year even more remarkable is the fact that the maximum runs he has conceded in a game is only 29. Steyn, who has risen to second position on the list of top bowlers in IPL 2012, has five completed spells (four-over spells) with an economy rate under five. Muttiah Muralitharan and Lasith Malinga have slipped down two spots each to finish third and fourth respectively. Morkel, the highest wicket-taker in this season, is in fifth place followed closely by the consistent Parvinder Awana of Kings XI.
Unsurprisingly, Gayle takes top spot on the overall list of best IPL batsmen. Gayle, who started the tournament marginally behind Shaun Marsh, has turned it around completely and has gone more than four points ahead of Marsh. Watson, who made significant contributions despite entering the tournament late, is in third position. While foreign players dominate the top seven (six of seven spots), the last three positions have been taken by Indian batsmen. Interestingly, the bottom three batsmen on the top-ten list are the highest run-getters across the five seasons of the IPL.
Despite falling to fourth on the IPL 2012 list, Malinga retains top spot on the overall list of bowlers across the five seasons. Muralitharan, who has had a highly successful season with Royal Challengers is in second spot just ahead of Steyn. Amit Mishra, who regained some form with good returns in Chargers' last two league games, has dropped to fifth spot after starting the season in second position behind Malinga. Following a terrific IPL 2012, Morkel continues to be in eighth position followed by R Ashwin and Munaf Patel, who are separated by less than a point.
Madhusudhan Ramakrishnan is a sub-editor (stats) at ESPNcricinfo