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Stats Analysis

Sunil Narine is MVP as spinners dominate the first half of the CPL

A Smart Stats review of the first half of the Caribbean Premier League

Sunil Narine - on top of his game with bat and ball, Trinbago Knight Riders v Guyana Amazon Warriors, CPL 2020, Trinidad, August 18, 2020

Sunil Narine - on top of his game with bat and ball  •  Randy Brooks - CPL T20 / Getty

At the halfway stage of CPL 2020, the two dominant forces of the league are Trinbago Knight Riders, and spin. The slow and dry pitches have favored spinners much more than the pacers.
In fact, fingerspinners have outsmarted the wristspinners so far in the tournament. The likes of Sunil Narine, Mohammad Nabi, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Ashmead Nedd have bowled much tighter than the likes of Rashid Khan, Imran Tahir, Ish Sodhi and Fawad Ahmed.
At the halfway stage of the tournament, Narine is the Most Valuable Player in CPL 2020. He has not only contributed with the ball but also with the bat. He has played only three of TKR's five games, but has contributed vitally in each of them.
According to ESPNcricinfo's Smart Stats, which takes into account not just the runs scored and wickets taken but also the match situation and quality of those runs and wickets, Narine had a total impact score of 106 per match from three matches.
He is slightly ahead of the two Afghanistan players Mujeeb and Nabi, who have an impact score of 99 and 93 per match. The two West Indies allrounders Jason Holder and Roston Chase complete the top five. Mujeeb is the only bowler in the top five, while the other four are allrounders. This makes Mujeeb stand out even more, given that his contributions in one skill matches or exceeds that of an allrounder.
In slow and tough conditions, Narine has been exceptional. He won the first two matches single-handedly for TKR. Narine smashed 50 of 28 in the first game against Guyana Amazon Warriors and 53 of 38 against Jamaica Tallawahs. He also picked up the important wickets of Ross Taylor and Asif Ali in these games.
Mujeeb's 12 wickets at an incredible economy rate - 4.05, the best by any bowler in any major league over the last five years (min 15 overs) - makes him the second most valuable player in this tournament behind Narine.
Nabi and his team-mate Chase are the only two players who are in the top 10 run-getters and wicket-takers. Both players have made some crucial contributions with the ball as well as score important runs when their team were in trouble.
Smart Economy Rate
At the halfway stage, some bowlers not only took wickets but also controlled the run flow. Smart Economy Rate evaluates this aspect of the game. In terms of Smart Economy Rate, which is calculated by dividing Smart Runs Conceded by overs bowled, Narine just squeezes ahead of Mujeeb with a value of 1.85, compared to Mujeeb's 1.86. One of the reasons for this could because Mujeeb has bowled a couple of overs in the death in which he conceded six runs per over. In the context of the match it was marginally high.
Sandeep Lamichhane, who bowls more in the middle overs, is in third position with a smart economy of 2.62. Guyana's 19-year-old left-arm spinner Ashmead Nedd has impressed everyone with some tight bowling at an economy rate of 3.91 from three matches. It will be interesting to see if Nedd can carry his superb form into the second half of the tournament.
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

Gaurav Sundararaman is a senior stats analyst at ESPNcricinfo