IPL 2014 review

Runs and sixes galore, but grief for fast bowlers

Batsmen had a generally dominant season in IPL 2014, with the sixes count exceeding 700 for only the second time

S Rajesh

June 3, 2014

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Glenn Maxwell looks on after smacking a six, Royal Challengers Bangalore v Kings XI Punjab, IPL 2014, Bangalore, May 9 2014
Glenn Maxwell struck 36 sixes in the tournament, the most by any batsman this season © BCCI
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Over the last few IPL seasons, there's been plenty of talk about how bowlers have held their own in a format which is heavily stacked against them, but IPL 2014 was largely about batsmen dominating. It didn't start that way when the tournament was in the UAE, but the momentum shift in favour of batting was clear the moment the bandwagon shifted to India. The scores became bigger, the ball cleared the boundary far more often, and the bowlers - especially the faster ones - struggled. The overall result was a tournament run rate of 8.20, which is the second-best in IPL history. The highest was 8.30, in the inaugural edition in 2008, but since then and before this year the rate was less than eight in four out of five years.

The overall tournament run rate this time was 8.20, but that's been brought down by the UAE leg: in the 40 games played in India, the rate was 8.52, almost a run more than in the first 20 games. With the seamers getting more assistance in the UAE, the scores were generally kept to manageable proportions: in 40 innings, only 12 times did teams score 160 or more, a percentage of 30; on the other hand, in 80 innings in India, there were 47 scores of 160 or more (59%).

On the smaller grounds in India, the batsmen found it much easier to hit sixes too: in the UAE, there was an average of 8.65 sixes per match; in India, it increased to 13.5 per match. Thanks to the flurry of sixes in India, the total for the tournament exceeded 700 for only the second time in IPL history: it was 714 this year, second only to 731 in 2012, but there'd been 15 more matches in 2012. Going at the rate of 13.5 sixes per match, there'd have been 916 sixes this year, had the tournament consisted of 75 matches. (Click here for the list of highest totals this year.)

There were also an unusually large number of matches won by the team batting second this time - the teams chasing had a 37-22 win-loss record, and it was fitting that the tournament ended with Knight Riders chasing down 200. The win-loss ratio of 1.68 is the best ever for chasing teams, marginally better than the ratio of 1.63 in 2008. (These ratios exclude matches which were tied and decided by the Super Over). Last year the win-loss was 37-37, and in 2012 it was 40-34.

Season-wise stats in each IPL
Season Matches Runs Wickets Average Run rate 4s/ 6s
2008 58 17,937 689 26.03 8.30 1703/ 622
2009 57 16,320 697 23.41 7.48 1316/ 506
2010 60 18,864 720 26.20 8.12 1709/ 585
2011 73 21,154 813 26.01 7.72 1913/ 639
2012 75 22,453 857 26.19 7.82 1911/ 731
2013 76 22,541 909 24.79 7.67 2052/ 673
2014 60 18,909 671 28.18 8.20 1562/ 714
The two legs of IPL 2014
  Matches Runs Wickets Average Run rate 4s/ 6s
In the UAE 20 5804 235 24.69 7.55 464/ 173
In India 40 13,105 436 30.05 8.52 1098/ 541

The tournament was largely dominated by batsmen and by tall scores, but the team that won was the one with the best bowling attack. Knight Riders were the only team with an economy rate of less than eight, and while their batting run rate was only the third-best, their bowlers ensured they seldom had to chase tall targets. Kings XI, on the other hand, had a run rate of 9.09, which is the highest by any team in a season across all editions of the IPL, and the first time a team has touched nine. However, their economy rate of 8.42 was also the second-worst among all teams this year, next only to Delhi Daredevils' 8.71. However, despite the poor economy rate, the positive difference between the run rate and economy rate was highest for Kings XI - at 0.67, they were marginally better than Knight Riders' 0.52. Kings XI also had the best win-loss ratio in the tournament, and were the only team to take 100-plus wickets (though they also played at least one match more than any other side this year).

The batting might of Kings XI shone through most strongly in the middle overs (6.1 to 15), where they were clearly the best team of the tournament, scoring at 8.93 runs per over - the second-best were Knight Riders with an average of 8.19. Of the 11 instances this year when teams scored 90 or more runs during this stage of their innings, seven were by Kings XI. This includes the final, when they scored 99 in those nine overs.

Similarly, the biggest advantage for Knight Riders was their bowling in the last five overs of an innings, when they conceded only 8.73 runs per over, and also took 41 wickets. Six out of eight teams conceded more than ten runs per over during that stage, while Sunrisers went at 9.14. Sunil Narine didn't have a memorable final with the ball, but in all the other matches he was superb in the last overs, taking 14 wickets at an average of 12.92 and an economy rate of 6.46. He also bowled 28 overs at the death; no other bowler in the tournament bowled more than 21 during the last five overs of an innings.

Team-wise stats in IPL 2014
Team W/ L Runs Run rate Wkts taken Econ rate RR-ER
Kolkata Knight Riders 11/ 5 2488 8.24 95 7.72 0.52
Kings XI Punjab 12/ 5 2987 9.09 113 8.42 0.67
Chennai Super Kings 10/ 6 2650 8.53 98 8.34 0.19
Mumbai Indians 7/ 8 2353 8.08 73 8.02 0.06
Rajasthan Royals 7/ 7 2155 7.99 84 8.07 -0.08
Sunrisers Hyderabad 6/ 8 2102 7.99 76 8.28 -0.29
Royal Challengers Bangalore 5/ 9 2093 7.78 73 8.07 -0.29
Delhi Daredevils 2/ 12 2081 7.64 59 8.71 -1.07

The dot-ball factor

Among batsmen who faced at least 150 balls in IPL 2014, Knight Riders' Shakib had the lowest dot-ball percentage, of marginally under 27%. Most of the batsmen in the list below are those who play in the middle order, which is understandable as they don't usually bat during the Powerplay, when fielding restrictions increase the likelihood of dot balls.

Batsmen with very similar dot-ball percentage have fairly different strike rates, though, which indicate the scoring patterns - specifically the boundary-hitting tendencies - of different batsmen. For instance, Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers have similar dot percentages, but de Villiers has a strike rate which is 30 more than du Plessis'. That's because de Villiers struck 26 fours and 24 sixes in the 249 balls he faced, compared to du Plessis' 26 fours and seven sixes in 235 deliveries.

Best dot-ball percentage for batsmen in IPL 2014 (Min 150 balls faced)
Batsman Balls Dots Average Strike rate Dot %
Shakib Al Hasan 152 41 32.42 149.33 26.97
JP Duminy 305 86 51.25 134.33 28.20
Faf du Plessis 235 67 33.67 128.33 28.51
AB de Villiers 249 74 35.90 158.50 29.72
David Miller 299 91 49.55 149.00 30.43
MS Dhoni 250 77 74.20 148.33 30.80
Glenn Maxwell 294 91 34.50 187.67 30.95
Ambati Rayudu 287 89 25.78 125.67 31.01
George Bailey 190 60 28.55 135.17 31.58
David Warner 375 119 48.00 140.67 31.73

Among the bowlers, Morne Morkel had the highest dot percentage, among those who bowled at least 30 overs. The list below is dominated by the quick bowlers, which is again expected since they bowl during the Powerplay overs, when the fielding restrictions ensure a higher number of dots. However, they also tend to go for more boundaries, because of which some of the economy rates are in excess of eight.

Also, bowlers with similar dot percentages have very different economy rates. Sandeep Sharma, for instance, has a dot-ball percentage of almost 47, but an economy rate of 8.81; Lasith Malinga, with a dot percentage of 44.26, has an economy rate of 6.45. That's because of the number of boundaries conceded by them: while Sandeep went for 40 fours and 14 sixes in 241 balls, Malinga conceded only 22 fours and six sixes in 235. Like Sandeep, Varun Aaron also went for plenty of boundaries, especially in India - 27 fours and 12 sixes in 220 balls - due to which his economy rate exceeds eight despite a dot-ball percentage of more than 44.

Bowlers with the highest dot-ball percentage (Min 30 overs)
Bowler Balls Dots Wickets ER Dot %
Morne Morkel 288 154 12 7.64 53.47
Bhuvneshwar Kumar 319 159 20 6.65 49.84
Wayne Parnell 181 89 6 7.39 49.17
Ishwar Pandey 252 121 6 7.57 48.02
Sandeep Sharma 241 113 18 8.81 46.89
Dale Steyn 336 154 11 7.69 45.83
Mitchell Starc 322 143 14 7.49 44.41
Lasith Malinga 235 104 16 6.45 44.26
Varun Aaron 220 97 16 8.15 44.09
Harbhajan Singh 330 144 14 6.47 43.64
Mitchell Johnson 321 140 17 8.29 43.61
Sunil Narine 384 166 21 6.35 43.23
Akshar Patel 396 169 17 6.13 42.68

Tough going for pace

In the UAE leg of the tournament, the fast bowlers and medium-pacers savoured the conditions, taking 156 wickets at 23.32 and an economy rate of 7.35, but it was all downhill in India, where they averaged 35.64 at an economy rate of 8.81. Those are the worst numbers for fast bowlers in any IPL season, but thanks to the UAE leg, the overall economy rate is 8.29, which is still the second-highest in any IPL season. For the spinners, the shift to India didn't make such a huge impact: in the UAE they averaged 32.17 at an economy rate of 7.42.

Overall, spinners also bowled more this season - they contributed 40% of the total overs, compared with 29% last year and 35.5% in 2012. The small boundaries in India and the lack of assistance in the pitches were challenges that the fast bowlers struggled to overcome this season.

Pace and spin in each IPL season
  Pace Spin
Year Wickets Average Econ rate Wickets Average Econ rate
2008 467 28.42 8.05 134 30.38 8.18
2009 388 26.25 7.65 226 24.77 6.77
2010 405 29.64 8.32 210 28.80 7.34
2011 449 28.62 7.79 268 27.60 7.11
2012 531 27.09 7.79 241 31.35 7.41
2013 604 26.78 7.78 225 26.17 6.88
2014 377 30.54 8.29 229 30.31 7.57

The team-wise bowling stats indicate that Knight Riders' spinners did an excellent job, taking 46 wickets at an economy rate of 6.82. Apart from Narine, Shakib also had a superb tournament with the ball, bowling 50 overs at an economy rate of 6.68. The only other team whose spinners went at less than seven an over were Rajasthan Royals. The team for which spin was a huge disappointment was Sunrisers: Amit Mishra finished with an economy rate of 9.06, while the spinners for the team had a combined economy rate of 8.21, the joint-highest with Daredevils.

Kings XI's seamers fetched 71 wickets, easily the highest among all teams, but they also went for plenty of runs, conceding 8.70 per over. In the UAE they took 28 wickets at an average of 17.92 and an economy rate of 7.20, but in India they leaked 9.45 per over, and conceded 30.95 per wicket. The difference in those numbers was largely the reason why they had a perfect 5-0 win-loss in the UAE, but only 7-5 in India.

Pace-spin stats for each team in IPL 2014
  Pace Spin
Team Wickets Average Econ rate Wickets Average Econ rate
Kolkata Knight Riders 37 35.59 8.18 46 22.91 6.82
Kings XI Punjab 71 25.81 8.70 33 27.66 7.54
Chennai Super Kings 50 25.64 8.44 40 31.07 7.91
Mumbai Indians 42 33.69 8.12 25 35.00 7.41
Rajasthan Royals 54 30.14 8.14 21 22.61 6.98
Sunrisers Hyderabad 46 29.97 8.07 23 35.43 8.21
Royal Challengers Bangalore 47 29.27 8.06 20 36.90 7.58
Delhi Daredevils 30 42.90 8.59 21 39.42 8.21

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. @rajeshstats

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Posted by SavvyCanadian on (June 4, 2014, 6:36 GMT)

@Calvin Palmer Warbah : Difficult to understand and fathom your negative mentality about India's expected performance in World Cup & in England Tour, especially when India won the recent Champions Trophy in England quite convincingly. You also appear to be a very HUMOROUS person when you include Bangladesh in that list.

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 4:48 GMT)

Thanks S Rajesh wonderful writing.

Posted by   on (June 3, 2014, 17:54 GMT)

ipl 2014 finally ends and it seems everyone have forgotten team India pre ipl flops . it's going to be the beginning of disastrous team India season from here on..come Bangladesh tour, England tour, the world cup..etc.

Posted by   on (June 3, 2014, 11:45 GMT)

Both seasons when sixes passed 700 mark were won by KKR. Way to go KKR

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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.
Tournament Results
KKR v Kings XI at Bangalore - Jun 1, 2014
KKR won by 3 wickets
Super Kings v Kings XI at Mumbai - May 30, 2014
Kings XI won by 24 runs
Super Kings v Mum Indians at Mumbai (BS) - May 28, 2014
Super Kings won by 7 wickets
Kings XI v KKR at Kolkata - May 27-28, 2014
KKR won by 28 runs
Mum Indians v Royals at Mumbai - May 25, 2014
Mum Indians won by 5 wickets
Kings XI v Daredevils at Mohali - May 25, 2014
Kings XI won by 7 wickets
More results »
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News | Features Last 3 days