April 22, 2011

Mumbai best among equals ... so far

Mumbai have lost only a third of the wickets that their bowlers have taken, which shows how dominant they've been in the first two weeks of IPL 2011

It's still fairly early days in IPL 2011, but one team has clearly set the early benchmarks: Mumbai Indians have won three games extremely convincingly, and with Sachin Tendulkar and Lasith Malinga leading their batting and bowling, they, quite clearly, have the best numbers in the tournament so far.

Mumbai are joint leaders in the points table with six, and are one of only two teams to have lost one match so far. Kings XI Punjab have the same win-loss record and points, but in terms of batting and bowling numbers Mumbai are well clear of all sides, though Punjab have surprised many with their resurgence after a poor start. Other teams have scored more runs at a faster rate, but that's only because Mumbai's bowlers have ensured their batsmen don't have to do a lot. In their three wins so far, they've chased targets of 96, 141, and 119. They allowed Pune Warriors to get closer than they should have in their last match, but Mumbai have still lost only eight wickets in IPL 2011, and only four of their batsmen have been dismissed so far. Andrew Symonds has faced only 15 deliveries so far, while Rohit Sharma has played 48.

Overall, Mumbai's bowlers have taken three times the number of wickets their team has lost with the bat, which is why their bowling average is so much better than their batting one. That also means the difference between their batting index (batting average multiplied by runs scored per ball) and their bowling index (bowling average multiplied by runs conceded per ball) is easily the highest among all teams - in fact, it's almost seven times the value of the next-best side.

Kolkata are that team, thanks largely to their wonderfully disciplined bowling unit, which has accounted for 30 wickets (excluding run-outs), the most by any team in the tournament so far. No side has touched 160 against them, and they also bowled out Rajasthan Royals for 81, the lowest total of this IPL and the third-lowest in all IPL matches. The Kolkata bowlers' combined economy rate of 6.92 runs per over is also the lowest by any bowling unit in the tournament so far. The difference between the two indices for them is 6.69 - considerably lower than Mumbai's, but far better than any other side. In fact, Punjab and Chennai Super Kings are the only other side whose difference between the batting and bowling index is greater than zero.

At the other end of the table are Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Daredevils, two teams which have struggled for form and momentum. Both teams were among the top contenders in the last couple of years, but this year the batting and bowling have been problem areas. Only a couple of players from both teams have topped 100 runs - David Warner and Venugopal Rao for Delhi, and AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli for Bangalore - while their two star openers have largely been flops so far - Virender Sewhag for Delhi and Tillakaratne Dilshan for Bangalore. The bowling for both teams have been poor too, with averages exceeding 40 and the economy rates touching eight.

Teams in IPL 2011 with bat and ball
Team Runs scored/wkts lost Bat ave/ SR Ave x SR/100 (I1) Wkts taken Bowl ave/ER Ave x ER/6 (I2) I1-I2
Mumbai Indians 507/ 8 63.37/ 111.92 70.92 24 21.54/ 6.98 25.06 45.86
Kolkata Knight Riders 641/ 23 27.86/ 115.08 32.06 30 22.00/ 6.92 25.37 6.69
Kings XI Punjab 624/ 21 29.71/ 133.90 39.78 22 27.50/ 8.26 37.86 1.92
Chennai Super Kings 640/ 17 37.64/ 138.22 52.03 18 35.33/ 8.57 50.46 1.57
Pune Warriors 534/ 24 22.25/ 126.84 28.22 22 25.31/ 7.02 29.61 -1.39
Deccan Chargers 769/ 33 23.30/ 127.52 29.71 24 30.75/ 7.64 39.16 -9.45
Kochi Tuskers Kerala 716/ 25 28.64/ 126.50 36.23 20 36.35/ 7.69 46.59 -10.36
Rajasthan Royals 637/ 27 23.59/ 113.54 26.78 22 32.40/ 7.72 41.69 -14.91
Royal Challengers Bangalore 561/ 24 23.37/ 117.61 27.49 16 40.81/ 8.31 56.52 -29.03
Delhi Daredevils 552/ 30 18.40/ 119.22 21.94 14 42.00/ 7.80 54.60 -32.66
All stats include only runs off the bat, and wickets taken are those by bowlers only.

No.4 on top

It's the fourth edition of the IPL, and quite fittingly, batsmen at the No.4 slot have had a pretty enjoyable time in the tournament so far. In 40 innings, they've averaged almost 38, which is comfortably the highest among batsmen in all slots, at a strike rate of 123.

The openers have obviously scored a huge chunk of fifties and hundreds - they've managed two hundreds and 16 fifties - but the two-down batsmen have acquitted themselves very well too, with fifties for Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, S Badrinath, Yuvraj Singh and Bharat Chipli. Manoj Tiwary hasn't scored a fifty, but he has an aggregate of 133 runs at No.4, at an average of 66.50.

Stats by batting position in IPL 2011 so far
Position Innings Runs Average Strike rate 100s/ 50s
Openers 88 2427 29.96 122.36 2/ 16
No.3 44 1112 30.05 123.96 0/ 6
No.4 42 1019 37.74 123.36 0/ 5
No.5 36 593 20.44 118.83 0/ 1
No.6 31 499 22.68 136.71 0/ 1
No.7 21 288 22.15 123.60 0/ 1

In terms of partnerships, though, the one for the second wicket has been the most prolific so far, with the average touching 39 at a rate of almost eight. Of the six century stands in this IPL, three have been for the third wicket. The highest partnership of this IPL has also been for the second wicket, when Gautam Gambhir and Jacques Kallis added an undefeated 152 for Kolkata against Rajasthan. Tendulkar and Rayudu have also done their bit to boost the average for the second wicket with two century stands, against Kochi and Bangalore.

Partnership stats for each wicket in IPL 2011
Wicket Innings Runs Average stand Run rate 100/ 50 p'ships
First 44 1306 29.68 7.78 2/ 8
Second 44 1585 37.73 7.73 3/ 10
Third 42 1167 32.41 7.64 1/ 6
Fourth 36 762 23.09 7.42 0/ 4
Fifth 31 829 36.04 8.59 0/ 4
Sixth 21 420 22.10 9.03 0/ 1

The Tendulkar-Rayudu pair is also the prolific in IPL 2011 so far, with a tally of 330 runs and an average stand of 110 per dismissal. The next three pairs that follow them are all those that bat at the top of the order. The leaders among them are the Adam Gilchrist-Paul Valthaty combination: in three innings they've put together partnerships of 61 (versus Chennai), 136 (against Deccan) and 67 (versus Rajasthan).

In fact, the top four teams have a pair each in the first four slots, which shows the importance of a strong top order to the fortunes of a team. That's all the more reason for Delhi and Bangalore to hope that Sehwag and Dilshan perform to potential. If they do, both these teams could make a strong comeback in a tournament that so far hasn't gone according to plan for them.

Most prolific pairs in the IPL so far
Pair Innings Runs Average stand Run rate 100/ 50 stands
Ambati Rayudu - Sachin Tendulkar (Mumbai) 4 330 110.00 7.79 2/ 1
Adam Gilchrist - Paul Valthaty (Punjab) 3 264 88.00 10.92 1/ 2
Mahela Jayawardene - Brendon McCullum (Kochi) 4 229 57.25 8.22 1/ 0
Gautam Gambhir - Jacques Kallis (Kolkata) 2 191 191.00 8.95 1/ 0
Brad Hodge - Ravindra Jadeja (Kochi) 4 164 82.00 9.55 0/ 1

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo

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