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Stats Analysis

Sloppy Royal Challengers Bangalore, and drops aplenty in Dubai

The lowdown on dropped catches in the first half of IPL 2020

S Rajesh
S Rajesh
All data updated till Oct 12, 2020. The number of dropped catches include the regulation and tough chances, but not the half-chances, as recorded by the ESPNcricinfo data team.
Royal Challengers Bangalore are among three teams sitting at the top of the table with 10 points, but they have reached there despite being the worst catching team of the tournament so far. At the halfway point, they have caught only 69.2% of the chances that have come their way, which is easily the poorest among all teams. Seven different players have dropped 12 catches, which is almost 23% of all catches dropped in IPL 2020 so far, according to ESPNcricinfo's ball-by-ball data. Only one other team has dropped more than nine catches - Delhi Capitals, and they are in the top three as well, indicating that these teams are winning despite giving extra opportunities to the opposition.
According to Luck Index, these 12 dropped catches have cost the Royal Challengers 130 runs. This value is calculated by through a complex algorithm, which takes the following factors into account:
- Runs scored by the batsman after the drop, and the team's final total
- Runs which would have been scored by the other players, had that batsman been dismissed off that ball. The extra balls that the batsman faced is distributed among the batsmen who were unbeaten or didn't bat in the innings. The runs they would have scored is calculated by taking into account their batting quality, the balls remaining in the innings, the bowling quality, and the match conditions
- The difference between the actual team score and the score obtained through this simulated exercise is the impact of the dropped catch, in terms of runs.
Let us, for example, take KL Rahul's unbeaten 132 against the Royal Challengers. He was dropped twice during that innings, and scored 48 off 13 after the first drop, and 42 off nine after the second. Luck Index calculated that the first drop cost them 24 runs, and the second 26, which means Kings XI would have scored 26 fewer runs had the second catch been taken.
For the purpose of this exercise, both those values of 26 and 24 runs have been taken into account, and are a part of the overall tally of 132, though there was a large overlap between the two. This is to ensure that each dropped catch has a run impact associated with it.
However, that wasn't the most expensive drop of the tournament. That honour belongs to Prithvi Shaw's drop of Mayank Agarwal in the second game of the tournament, which went into a Super Over. Agarwal was on 35 off 37 when he was dropped in the 16th over, and eventually scored 89 off 60. Given the quality of the batsmen who were unbeaten or didn't bat - Mohammed Shami, Sheldon Cottrell and Ravi Bishnoi - the algorithm reckoned that the drop cost the Delhi Capitals 46 runs. Of the top six most expensive drops, though, four belong to the Royal Challengers.
Shaw's reprieve of Agarwal is one of three catches he has dropped in the tournament so far. Three other fielders have dropped three catches - Devdutt Padikkal, Tom Curran and Manish Pandey. Tom Curran is also among the bowlers who has suffered the most, with three drops off his bowling, though the bowler topping the list is current Purple Cap holder Kagiso Rabada, who has 17 wickets despite having five catches dropped off his bowling.
The batting team which has benefited the most are the Kings XI Punjab, though it's another matter that they haven't made much use of their good fortune. They are the only team whose total benefit from the drops is more than 100 runs, thanks largely to the numbers adding up from the chances offered to Agarwal (against the Capitals) and Rahul (against the Royal Challengers). Among the batsmen, Aaron Finch and Jonny Bairstow have got four reprieves each, while Faf du Plessis, Ishan Kishan and Rahul have been dropped thrice.
Finally, much has been written and spoken about how difficult it has been to take catches in Dubai, and the numbers justify that talk. One in four chances has been spilled here, while the catch percentage is 81.5% in Sharjah, and nearly 89% in Abu Dhabi.

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. @rajeshstats