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The MVPs and the luckiest players of IPL 2019

Andre Russell celebrates with his team BCCI

Note: All stats updated till Sunday, April 7, 2019 (Match 21 of IPL 2019)

Two-hundred-and-seven runs, dismissed twice, strike rate 268.83; Smart Runs 310, Smart Strike rate 402.6. Whichever way you look at it, Andre Russell has been the player of the first two weeks of IPL 2019.

ESPNcricinfo's Smart Stats corroborates this view, and puts a number to just how far ahead of the pack he has been in the first fortnight. Russell's Impact Score after five games is 470, which is 130 points more than the second-placed Jonny Bairstow, who has 330.

The Impact Score of a player is the sum of his batting and bowling contributions in each match, and includes the following factors:

- The Smart Runs, which takes into account runs scored, relative strike rate compared to other batsmen in a match, bowling quality, and the pressure the batsman was under in terms of match context when he scored his runs
- The Smart Economy Rate, which factors in the relative economy rate compared to other bowlers in the match, the batsmen he bowled to, and the pressure on the bowler in terms of match context when he bowled his overs
- The Smart Wicket Value, which values each wicket taken by the bowler in terms of the quality of the batsman, the score he was dismissed at, and the match context - in terms of how important that was wicket was, given the match situation.

Taking all these factors into account, Russell's 207 runs are worth 310 Smart Runs, which is the highest so far: David Warner's 279 runs are worth 306, and Bairstow's 262 gives him 304 Smart Runs. That is because almost all of Russell's runs have come in high-pressure situations: against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Royal Challengers Bangalore, he singlehandedly won the matches when, in both cases, 53 were required off 18 balls. In the other two matches when Knight Riders batted first, he smashed 110 off 45 balls and significantly boosted the totals in both innings.

Warner and Bairstow take the next two places on the MVP table, but in fourth spot is Mohammad Nabi, who makes it to the top five despite having played only three of Sunrisers' five games. Nabi has been sensational with the ball so far, taking seven wickets at an economy rate of 3.75.

The conventional numbers are impressive enough, but his Smart Stats are even better. Nabi's Smart Economy Rate is an incredible 1.58, which is the best among all bowlers who have bowled at least five overs this season. Of the 12 overs he has bowled so far, eight have been in Powerplays, where he has conceded only 33 runs, taking five wickets.

Also, his seven wickets are worth 9.6 Smart Wickets, given that he has dismissed AB de Villiers, Rohit Sharma and Rishabh Pant early in their innings.

The luckiest teams and batsmen of IPL 2019

Mumbai Indians might have felt that the rub of the green didn't go their way in IPL 2018, but this year it's been an entirely different story. According to ESPNcricinfo's Luck Index, they are the luckiest team two weeks into the tournament. Mumbai have accumulated a total of 62 runs due to lucky events in the second week of this IPL. Overall in 2019 IPL, lucky events have helped Mumbai score 119 additional runs.

Luck doesn't help if you don't make it count. Royal Challengers Bangalore had their share of luck too - in terms of impact runs they are the second luckiest team of the week. But their shabbiness in the field has worked against them by doling out lucky runs to the opposition. The Luck Index framework considers that mistakes by fielders, while lucky events for the batting team, are not bad luck for bowling teams. Royal Challengers committed as many as 21 mistakes - by way of drops, misfields and missed run-outs - that have resulted in lucky runs for their opposition.

Not surprisingly then RCB find themselves at the bottom of the points table without a win from six matches in spite of having two of the top-five luckiest batsmen in the week. AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli are at Nos. 4 and No. 5 respectively on the leaderboard for the luckiest batsmen from the second week. Chris Lynn finds himself at the top of the list being the beneficiary of two separate lucky breaks. He was dropped on 1 by Navdeep Saini - albeit a tough chance - in the game against RCB where he went on to score 43. The other event epitomises how lucky the week has been for Lynn: in the match against Rajasthan Royals, an inside edge off Dhawal Kulkarni hit his stumps only for the bails to pop out and fall nicely back into the grooves. Shreyas Iyer and Steven Smith, at Nos. 2 and 3 respectively, complete the top five luckiest batsman of the second week of the IPL.

Smart Stats and Luck Index are a part of Superstats, a new set of metrics by ESPNcricinfo to tell more enriching and insightful numbers-based stories. To know more about Superstats, click here.