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Maxwell the MVP while Sams and Rashid top Smart Wickets

At the halfway stage of BBL 2019-20, Melbourne Stars are dominating the league having won six of their seven games. Glenn Maxwell has led from the front with strong support from Marcus Stoinis. So far, Maxwell is the Most Valuable Player in BBL 19.

According to ESPNcricinfo's Smart Stats, which takes into account not just the runs scored and wickets taken but also the match context and quality of those runs and wickets, Maxwell notched up a total impact score of 527, which was well clear of second-placed Callum Ferguson, whose score is 398. Maxwell's impact with the bat has been crucial in taking the Stars to the top of the table. He has come in to bat in some crucial stages after the loss of multiple wickets while batting first or while chasing a target. He has seen through the chase on two occasions, and once scored 83 from 39 balls coming in at 59 for 3. Although Maxwell has bowled only 13 overs, he has taken crucial wickets in the Powerplay by removing the best batsmen in the opposition team. Maxwell got Alex Hales and Usman Khawaja against Sydney Thunder while removing D'Arcy Short and David Miller against Hobart Hurricanes.

Ferguson and Stoinis have been exchanging the Golden Cap match after match and they have had a significant impact on their respective teams. Tom Curran is the only overseas recruit among the top five, having helped Sydney Sixers win matches with the bat and ball, coming in tough situations where the required run rate was way beyond reach. From smashing 24 runs off Matt Kelly against Perth Scorchers and winning the Super over with bat and ball against the Thunder, Curran's impact has been huge.

The Batting impact score is derived taking into account Smart Runs (factors taken are the innings run rate, required run rate at every ball when the batsman scored his runs, the quality of opposition bowlers, wickets in hand, the quality of batsmen to follow and the match situation) and the replacement benefit or cost to the team, as the case may be, if the batsmen's performance is replaced with the match average.

The Bowling impact score is derived taking into account Smart Economy and Smart Wickets (factors taken are the phase in which the bowler bowled, the current/required rate, the quality of batsmen dismissed and the match context when wickets were taken) and the replacement benefit or cost to the team, as the case may be, if the bowler's performance is replaced with the match average.

Total Impact Score is a sum of the Batting and Bowling Impact scores in each match.

Smart Wickets

While the batsmen have been impactful at various times, some bowlers have stood out with match winning performances and key wickets at crucial stages too. Daniel Sams , Haris Rauf and Tom Curran lead the wicket taking chart in the competition, but ESPNCricinfo's Smart Stats paints a slightly different picture. In terms of Smart Wickets, Sams leads the pack with 15 Smart Wickets while Rashid Khan and Riley Meredith are joint-second with 14 Smart Wickets. Adam Zampa and Tom Curran complete the top five with 11 Smart Wickets. The reason Rashid Khan's 12 wickets are worth 14 is because Smart Wickets takes into the account the following:

- The quality of the batsman dismissed, which means dismissing a top order batsmen fetches more points than dismissing a tailender
- The score at which a batsman was dismissed, which means dismissing a batsman for a single-digit score is more rewarding than getting him out for 60.
- The match situation at the time of the dismissal, which means dismissing a batsman when the match is in the balance is worth more than getting him out when the result of the game is all but decided.

Rashid's been a partnership breaker and taken out the most top order batsmen across teams. When Liam Livingstone and Josh Inglis added 124 runs in 8.3 overs, Rashid dismissed both in two balls to help Adelaide Strikers come back and win the match by 15 runs. Rashid also took a hat-trick when his team was defending a very low score. Pakistan and the Stars Sensation Rauf has a five-wicket haul and a hat-trick, and has taken 13 wickets so far. He is the joint second highest wicket taker in the BBL. However, it is worth noting that his 13 wickets are worth only 10. Three of his wickets in his five-wicket haul came against the Hurricanes after the match was almost won, and were of lower-order batsmen. Only eight of his 13 wickets have been in key situations, where the match was in balance. Those eight were wickets of batsmen, while the other five were wickets of the lower order players.

Smart Strike Rate

At the halfway stage of the BBL, certain batsmen have not only scored impact runs but have also scored them at a brisk pace. ESPNcricinfo's Smart Strike rate evaluates this aspect of the game. In terms of Smart Strike Rate, which is calculated by dividing Smart Runs by balls faced, England's opening prodigy Tom Banton stands tall at 237.96 , well clear of his team mate Chis Lynn, who is on 193.6. Interestingly, Tom Curran makes the list having scored vital runs to close the game. Livingstone and Maxwell complete the top five.

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.

Note: All stats updated till Wednesday, January 8, 2020