May 6, 2016

Warner: an IPL colossus

The Sunrisers opener is among the most successful batsmen in the league, making fifty-plus scores every three innings
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David Warner is only the second batsman in the IPL to make at least five fifty-plus scores in three different seasons © BCCI

After a lacklustre World T20 when he batted at Nos. 3 and 4 for Australia and scored all of 38 runs in four innings, David Warner is back at where he's done the best in T20s - opening. Warner has scored 386 runs in seven innings in this IPL at average of 77.20 and a strike rate of 168.55. Among openers who have played more than one innings in this season, KL Rahul's strike rate of 158.33 comes the closest. Warner's strike rate is also the best for any batsman with at least 150 runs in this IPL.

Admittedly, it has helped to open in this IPL - 2016 has already seen 45 fifty-plus scores by openers in 32 matches, which is just three such scores fewer than what they managed in the whole series last year. Openers' average of 36.83 in 2016 is also the highest in any IPL season. But even among openers, Warner has stood out in the manner he has dominated the bowlers. He has attacked them from the word go and hasn't allowed them to bowl tight lines. In the first 15 balls of his innings in this IPL, Warner has struck at a rate of 174.72, which is higher than any of the other big-hitting batsmen in this series. His balls-per-boundary ratio of 3.6 is also the best among these batsmen.

Strike rates in the first 15 balls, IPL 2016
Batsman Runs BF SR Boundaries Balls/Boundary
 David Warner  159  91  174.72  25  3.6
 Brendon McCullum  145  88  164.77  22  4.0
 Dwayne Smith  119  74  160.81  20  3.7
 AB de Villiers  149  96  155.20  22  4.4
 Kieron Pollard  101  66  153.03  12  5.5
 Andre Russell  118  83  142.16  15  5.5
 Rohit Sharma  140  99  141.41  24  4.1
 Quinton de Kock  103  76  135.52  17  4.5

Warner has also had to shoulder the responsibilities of a team that is clearly one of the weaker batting units in this IPL. While most other teams have had a strong middle order to fall back upon, Sunrisers Hyderabad haven't had that luxury, making Warner's contribution with the bat even more valuable. While Warner has averaged 77.20 in this IPL, the other Sunrisers batsmen have collectively averaged 21.58. Till Sunrisers' seventh game, Warner scored 386 runs out of the 958 that the team's top-seven batsmen have made, making his contribution of 40.29% to the top-order runs the highest for any batsman.

Top contributions by batsmen to top-order runs, IPL 2016
Batsman Team Runs Top-order runs % contribution
 David Warner  SRH  386  958  40.29
 Virat Kohli  RCB  433  1265  34.22
 Rohit Sharma  MI  383  1277  29.99
 Gautam Gambhir  KKR  339  1159  29.24
 AB de Villiers  RCB  320  1265  25.29

In addition to doing the bulk of scoring for his team, he has shored up his team's scoring rate as well, which is apparent from the fact that besides him no other Sunrisers batsman has scored at least 100 runs at a strike rate of 135 or higher. In contrast, all the other four of the top five run-getters till the halfway stage - Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Gautam Gambhir and AB de Villiers - have had the luxury of batting around others who have made significant contributions at a fast clip.

Batsmen with 100+ runs at 135+ SR in 2016 IPL
Team No. of batsmen Batsmen
 SRH  1  David Warner
 RCB  4  Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Shane Watson, Lokesh Rahul
 MI  4  Rohit Sharma, Jos Buttler, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya
 KKR  3  Yusuf Pathan, Andre Russell, Suryakumar Yadav
 DD  1  Quinton de Kock
 RPS  2  MS Dhoni, Steven Smith
 GL  3  Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch, Dwayne Smith

Warner's IPL success hasn't been limited to this season alone. He has been one of the most successful batsmen in IPL's history. In addition to being one of the top run-getters in this competition, he has notched up 30 fifty-plus scores, which equal the most any batsman has hit. Rohit and Gambhir have also hit 30 fifty-plus scores but they have taken 133 and 125 innings, respectively, to Warner's 90 innings (though to be fair it needs to be said that almost three-fourths of Rohit's innings in the IPL have been at No. 4 or lower). Warner's conversion rate of a fifty every three innings is the second best for any batsman with at least five fifty-plus scores in the IPL.

Top conversion rates in the IPL (min 5 fifty-plus scores)
Batsman Fifty-plus scores Innings Inns/Fifty-plus score
 Lendl Simmons  10  22  2.2
 David Warner  30  90  3.0
 Shaun Marsh  19  61  3.2
 Michael Hussey  16  58  3.6
 Chris Gayle  23  84  3.7

He has been particularly exceptional in the last three seasons having made 18 fifties in just 35 innings, which, by a distance, are the most such scores by any batsman in this period. Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit are next in this list having hit 11 fifty-plus scores each. Warner has made five or more fifty-plus scores in each of the last three seasons, making him only the second batsman after Chris Gayle to achieve this in the IPL. Since 2014, he has made 1476 runs in the IPL - the most by any batsman - at an average of 50.89 and at an excellent strike rate of 153.27. The next highest any batsman has managed to score at a 50-plus average and at a strike rate north of 150 are Krunal Pandya's 111 runs.

Warner's fortunes in T20s in the last couple years or so have mirrored the revival of his Test and ODI careers. The only mediocre aspect of his batting career has been his T20 form for Australia. An average of 26.64 and just two fifties in 15 innings belie his stature as a T20 batsman. Those numbers are likely to improve, especially if Australia give him a consistent run as an opener in this format.

Numbers correct up to the 32nd match of IPL 2016

Shiva Jayaraman is a senior sub-editor (stats) at ESPNcricinfo.com. @shiva_cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • johnthekiwi on May 6, 2016, 17:58 GMT

    DW better leave some of those runs in the bank. He and Oz are going to need them in about 10 months time on raging turner moonscapes.

  • David on May 6, 2016, 13:18 GMT

    Dunger Bob, you can't just blame Boof for Australia's poor T20 international results. It's the entire attitude from scheduling to the revolving door selection policies. What was it? 37 players in seven games before the WC! ONE game in the entire year preceding the WC!

    T20 is a bit of a lottery, with the team batting second winning far too often, unless you get a dry pitch.

    But yes, Warner is now clearly the best T20 opener around, if not the best T20 bat in the world. This shouldn't be surprising, as T20 is what he cut his teeth on. What is surprising is his development into the world's best test opener.

  • Jonah on May 6, 2016, 12:39 GMT

    And yet the Dehli Daredevils dropped him. One of the worst decisions ever made in IPL.

  • Kiran on May 6, 2016, 7:15 GMT

    What the author did not consider are the conditions in Warner's home ground - Hyderabad. Bangalore and Mumbai have the easiest batting tracks with small grounds and so you will find their batsmen having fantastic records. Someone like Gayle for example is abysmal outside of Bangalore. But Hyderabad is probably one of the toughest track to bat on in IPL with a big outfield and a glance at team average totals will prove it. Finch for example did not score many runs when playing for Hyderabad but look at him this season - loads of runs on easier tracks. That is what makes Warner's record so phenomenal. He is ahead of the rest despite having tougher home conditions.

  • Hrishikesh on May 6, 2016, 7:06 GMT

    The best opener in the world in every format. If he can keep this up for the next few years then I might append "of all time" to the last sentence.

  • rob on May 6, 2016, 6:40 GMT

    @ James Elphick: Pretty damn daft indeed. However, I'm sure it seemed like a good idea at the time. As was dropping Finch, the right handed Warner. .. it was done to accommodate Smith, truth be told. Smith is a fine player but has precious little T20 experience as a player, let alone a captain. He has about the same level of T20 experience as our I'd say. More or less zero. .. IF we are serious about winning one of these T20 world cups we need a better coach than Boof. He's great for tests and ODI's but knows zip about T20. Never played it, never coached it. IF we are serious about it, we need an experienced T20 coach who can actually read the game and the conditions. I don't think Lehmann has either of those when it comes to the shortest version. A successful franchise coach would be a better option for the Oz T20 team imo.

  •   James Elphick on May 6, 2016, 6:04 GMT

    Just shows how daft the Australian powers-that-be were in dropping him down the order for the World T20.

  • mukesh on May 6, 2016, 4:58 GMT

    Hats off to warner n all high strike rates power hitters..We in india have been spoon-fed to play classic in the V no power batting style..which for maximum might result in example like virat kohli in this year's ipl. .like I said just need example ...most of best indian openners take time to settle down. .they r only intimidating after they get to 50 runs..they rarely make century in t20..but likes of gayle or warner or finch can intimidate bowlers in first 6 overs n can make century in t20 ..they might average less but on there day can help team score 200 plus ..India is still searching for next sehwag/sehwack:)..right now our commentators n fans r happy with sravanth 120-30 in powerplays for openners especially indian openners n expect foreign players to be powerplay hittters:)

  • mukesh on May 6, 2016, 4:48 GMT

    Warner n all mighty SR guys

  • Gnaneshwar Raju on May 6, 2016, 4:41 GMT

    Truly a Gem of a player, way to go warner

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