"Take those half-chances. The catch that went down off Hardik could have been a game-changer." Those were Virat Kohli's words in the post-match interview, as Royal Challengers Bangalore lost their seventh game of the season.
The half-chance he was talking about came off the last ball of the 17th over, when Tim Southee ran back from mid-off in an attempt to hold on to a miscue from Hardik Pandya, but just failed to latch on. Hardik was then on six off five balls, and went on to slam an unbeaten 37 from 16, which means he scored 31 from 11 balls after the chance (including the let-off delivery).
According to ESPNcricinfo's Luck Index, which quantifies the impact of every lucky event in a match, that catch cost Royal Challengers 18 runs, and was indeed a game-changer. Had that catch been taken, according to Luck Index the remaining Mumbai Indian batsmen would have only scored 13 runs off the ten balls, and Royal Challengers would have had a second win this season.
As it turned out, though, Hardik turned in another outstanding display of clean and destructive power-hitting under pressure, and easily had the biggest role to play in the win. According to ESPNcricinfo's Smart Stats, Hardik's total contribution to Mumbai Indians' victory was a whopping 38.5%; the next highest was 17.3%, for Quinton de Kock. This is calculated by including the batting and bowling performances of every player in the team, by factoring in the strike rate and the context in which the runs were scored for the batsmen, and the quality of wickets taken and the context in which the economy rates were achieved for the bowler.
The contribution percentage for Hardik was so high because of the context in which he made the 16-ball 37. He came in to bat in the 16th over, when Mumbai Indians needed 43 to win off 27 balls. Of those 43 runs, Hardik ended up scoring 37, while at the other end Krunal Pandya contributed only three off five. Since Smart Stats takes into account the context and pressure on the batsman when he scored his runs, Hardik's 37 was worth 52 Smart Runs.
On the other hand, Krunal had a game to forget, struggling through 21 balls for his 11. His strike rate of 52.4 is the lowest ever by a Mumbai Indians batsman who has faced at least 20 balls in the IPL. Not surprisingly, his contribution to his team for the night stood at -11.1%, easily the lowest among all Mumbai Indians players in the match.
Fortunately for him, his brother was around to bail the team out.
Luck Index and Smart Stats is 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.