IPL performance analysis

Gayle and Malinga take top honours

Brendon McCullum's unbeaten 158 in the IPL opener in 2008 continues to be the best batting performance, while Anil Kumble's 5 for 5 is the top bowling display

S Rajesh

April 2, 2013

Comments: 33 | Text size: A | A

There was no stopping Chris Gayle at the Kotla, Delhi Daredevils v Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL 2012, Delhi
Chris Gayle is the clear leader among IPL batsmen, and is the only one to score three hundreds © AFP

The IPL is now five seasons old, over which period 4931 innings have been played in 323 matches, but the best batting performance in these five seasons remains the one that was played by an opener in the first innings of the very first match of the competition. Brendon McCullum's unbeaten 158 off 73 balls for Kolkata Knight Riders, when he creamed 13 sixes off the hapless Royal Challengers Bangalore attack, remains at the top of the pile of best innings with 81.10 points, well clear of Sanath Jayasuriya's 114 off 48 in the same season for Mumbai Indians against Chennai Super Kings.

The top three innings are all hundreds, but the fourth one is a bit of a surprise: Harbhajan Singh's unbeaten 49 off 18 is fourth, but one look at the match scorecard and the context of his runs explains his high position: Harbhajan came in to bat at 119 for 7 in the 17th over, and blasted 49 to lift his team to 172; in reply, Deccan Chargers were bowled out for 131.

Virender Sehwag is the only player to feature three times in the top 15 - in third, eighth and 15th spots. Adam Gilchrist takes the fifth and sixth spots for innings of 85 (off 35) and 109 (off 47). Both these knocks were in identical chases, but the century came in an easier chase, when Gilchrist and VVS Laxman combined in an unbeaten first-wicket partnership of 155 against Mumbai Indians; his 85 came in a chase of 154, against Delhi Daredevils, but this time Chargers lost four wickets, and the second-highest score was only 24. Yusuf Pathan and Chris Gayle are the others to feature more than once.

Best IPL batting performances
Batsman Innings Strike rate For Against Season Points
Brendon McCullum 158 off 73 216.44 KKR RCB 2008 81.10
Sanath Jayasuriya 114 off 48 237.50 MI CSK 2008 72.41
Virender Sehwag 119 off 56 212.50 DD DC 2011 66.29
Harbhajan Singh 49 off 18 272.22 MI DC 2010 65.47
Adam Gilchrist 85 off 35 242.86 DC DD 2009 65.38
Adam Gilchrist 109 off 47 231.91 DC MI 2008 65.23
Yusuf Pathan 100 off 37 270.27 RR MI 2010 64.55
Virender Sehwag 94 off 41 229.27 DD DC 2008 64.47
Chris Gayle 128 off 62 206.45 RCB DD 2012 63.07
Suresh Raina 98 off 55 178.18 CSK RR 2009 62.73
Yusuf Pathan 62 off 30 206.67 RR DD 2009 62.50
MS Dhoni 70 off 40 175.00 CSK RCB 2011 62.08
Chris Gayle 107 off 49 218.37 RCB KXI 2011 60.95
Rohit Sharma 109 off 60 181.67 MI KKR 2012 60.49
Virender Sehwag 75 off 34 220.59 DD RR 2010 60.00

The two best batting performances are from the 2008 season, and the two best bowling ones are from 2009. Anil Kumble leads the way, for his 5 for 5 against Rajasthan Royals in Cape Town in 2009. Amit Singh comes in in second place for his spell of 3 for 9 in a relatively high-scoring match against Kings XI Punjab in which 344 runs were scored in 40 overs. That's followed by Sohail Tanvir's 6 for 14 against Chennai Super Kings.

Because of a significant amount of weightage being given to the economy rates, some of the best performances in the table below are those in which bowlers have taken two or three wickets, but at very good economy rates. Rahul Sharma's 2 for 7 off four overs, for instance, came in a match against Mumbai Indians in which 299 runs were scored in 40 overs, and no other bowler went at less than five runs per over. Similarly, Lasith Malinga (3 for 9 versus Deccan Chargers) and Dale Steyn (3 for 8 against Royal Challengers make it to the top ten because of their economy rates as well.

Best IPL bowling performances
Bowler Spell Econ rate For Against Season Points
Anil Kumble 5 for 5 1.57 RCB RR 2009 71.80
Amit Singh 3 for 9 2.25 RR KXIP 2009 70.54
Sohail Tanvir 6 for 14 3.50 RR CSK 2008 70.15
Rahul Sharma 2 for 7 1.75 PW MI 2011 67.99
Amit Mishra 4 for 9 2.25 DC KXIP 2011 67.86
Ajit Chandila 4 for 13 3.25 RR PW 2012 66.96
Lasith Malinga 3 for 9 2.25 MI DC 2011 66.02
Ishant Sharma 5 for 12 4.00 DC KTK 2011 64.79
Dale Steyn 3 for 8 2.00 DC RCB 2012 63.56
Amit Mishra 5 for 17 4.25 DD DC 2008 63.33
Munaf Patel 5 for 21 5.25 MI KXIP 2011 63.20
Sohail Tanvir 3 for 10 2.50 RR RCB 2008 62.44
Ravindra Jadeja 5 for 16 4.00 CSK DC 2012 62.09
Harbhajan Singh 4 for 17 4.25 MI DD 2009 61.85
Shoaib Akhtar 4 for 11 3.66 KKR DD 2008 61.30

In terms of overall numbers, there's no doubt regarding the best batsman in all IPL seasons put together. Six batsmen have scored more runs than Gayle, but none as been as consistently destructive as Gayle: over 42 innings, he averages 50.11 at a strike rate of almost 162. He is also the only batsman to score three hundreds, and was Player of the Tournament in 2011. Gayle's 12 Man-of-the-Match awards are the joint-highest in all IPL matches - he shares the record with Yusuf Pathan.

Averaging out the rating points for all batsmen, Gayle's average score of 24.30 is about 20% better than the next-best, Shaun Marsh's 20.11. Marsh is one of three Australians who occupy the slots immediately after the top position, while Indian batsmen dominate the rest of the top ten, with five of them in the next six. Sehwag is marginally ahead of Sachin Tendulkar, while Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni round off the top ten.

Top batsmen overall in IPL
Batsman Matches Runs Average Strike rate Points
Chris Gayle 43 1804 50.11 161.79 24.30
Shaun Marsh 42 1603 45.80 135.96 20.11
Shane Watson 39 1242 40.06 146.80 18.75
Matthew Hayden 32 1107 36.90 137.51 18.55
Virender Sehwag 66 1879 30.30 167.31 16.24
Sachin Tendulkar 64 2047 37.90 119.21 15.90
Michael Hussey 29 958 39.91 120.65 15.86
Gautam Gambhir 72 2065 33.30 128.90 15.52
Suresh Raina 81 2254 33.64 139.39 15.41
MS Dhoni 78 1782 37.12 136.44 14.82

Not only is Malinga the leading wicket-taker in IPL, he also has the best average points (calculated by averaging out his points for every IPL bowling performance). Malinga is a couple of points clear of Muttiah Muralitharan, who is in second place. The rest of the top ten is bunched together very closely, with less than three points separating the second-ranked Muralitharan from the tenth-ranked Ashish Nehra.

Top bowlers overall in IPL
Bowler Matches Wickets Average Economy rate Points
Lasith Malinga 56 83 16.63 6.36 25.44
Muttiah Muralitharan 55 57 24.47 6.48 23.50
Dale Steyn 52 59 22.10 6.58 23.49
Amit Mishra 59 74 20.67 7.10 23.08
Anil Kumble 42 45 23.51 6.57 22.97
Morne Morkel 31 38 23.26 7.36 22.23
R Ashwin 49 49 22.95 6.22 22.05
Munaf Patel 57 70 21.48 7.37 21.51
Ryan Harris 34 44 22.15 7.69 21.45
Ashish Nehra 44 48 24.83 7.55 20.93

Salient points about the performance analysis methodology

  • Each batting and bowling performance by every player in the IPL gets a score, based on the runs scored and the strike rate, or the wickets taken and the economy rate.

  • The batting position is factored in, since it's easier for a top-order batsman to score more runs in a limited-overs format.

  • The batting strike rate is weighed against the scoring rate in the match. Thus, runs scored in a high-scoring match counts for less than the same runs scored in a low-scoring game. A similar logic holds for the economy rates for bowlers. However, extra points are given for runs made when batting second in a high run-chase.

  • For bowlers, top-order wickets count for more than tail-end wickets.

  • Bowlers who bowl their full quota of four overs get full value for their performance, compared to those who bowl only a fraction of their four-over quota.

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

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Posted by psychicsaint on (April 4, 2013, 7:17 GMT)

CSK players hardly figure in any of the tables above, yet they figured in four finals and ended two time champions including CLT20.. how?

Posted by Prashanth12 on (April 3, 2013, 12:29 GMT)

What about the inninmgs played by Ross Taylor in SA for RCB 81 from 31 or 36 balls that was the turn around innings for RCB in SA

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (April 3, 2013, 12:26 GMT)

Interesting to note that positions 2, 3, 4 and 7 on the batting list are all Australians, as well as position 9 in the bowling list, yet people say that Australia are no good at T20s! Even South Africa only make up positions 3 and 6 in bowling - and are outside of the top 10 in batting, while Sri Lanka make up positions 1 and 2 in bowling but aren't on the list in batting. Other than West Indian Chris Gayle, number 1 in batting, no other country other than India are even featured in the list of top 10 batsmen and bowlers. What this is saying to me is that if Australia used the right personnel, they could be a force in T20 cricket. The issue is getting the selectors to pick the right players!

Posted by   on (April 3, 2013, 12:21 GMT)

323 matches... per match 22 players i.e. 22 innings (11 frm each team)

323 * 22 = 7106 innings....

But we cannot be sure that all 22 players ll play in each match which makes the innings count as 4931...

Got it....

Posted by IJ-IPL on (April 3, 2013, 10:00 GMT)

It is shocking that every one criticizes Sachin. But his performance has been excellent even in the IPL. Excellent.

Posted by   on (April 3, 2013, 8:28 GMT)

So many top performances have not featured in the list, Like Bhajji's innings against DC, so many innings had a very high impact. 1. Dhoni's innings that took CSK to the Finals (Vs KXIP - Dharamshala) 2. M. Vijay's Century Vs RR that brought CSK back from the bottom 4. 3. Husseys century in the first season against KXIP 4. Gurkeerat Singh Innings last year. I can go on and on

Posted by   on (April 3, 2013, 7:25 GMT)

ImtiazA 4931 innings in 323 matches been 4931 batsmen innings....

Posted by   on (April 3, 2013, 7:14 GMT)

@ImtiazA by innings here they mean Individual (batsman) innings not Team innings as your thinking

Posted by   on (April 3, 2013, 6:40 GMT)

Where Murali Vijay....Only player scored 2 superb hundreds

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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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