Sampath Bandarupalli is a statistician at ESPNcricinfo
Shane Watson - The MVP of IPL 2008
Shane Watson was pivotal to Rajasthan Royals' success in IPL 2008: he was the fourth-highest run-getter in the tournament with 472 runs, and the joint fourth-highest wicket-taker with 17 scalps. He was named the Player of the Tournament, and was also ESPNcricinfo's Smart Stats MVP with an impact score of 61.9 per game, the highest for a player to have played at least seven matches in the season.
Watson's total impact points of 928.8 was 141.7 more than the second best, Sanath Jayasuriya (787.1). Watson came up with a stellar show against the Delhi Daredevils in the semi-finals. He first scored a 29-ball 52 from No.4, and later took out Delhi's top three - Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Shikhar Dhawan - inside the powerplay.
That performance alone was worth 165.1 impact points, the second-highest in a match through the tournament, behind Brendon McCullum's 230.2 impact points on the opening night, when he smashed an unbeaten 158 against the Royal Challengers Bangalore on April 18, 2008. Chennai Super Kings' Albie Morkel was fifth on the MVP list. Morkel, despite batting in only 10 innings, finished as the fourth-highest run-scorer for the Super Kings with 241 runs. He also took 17 wickets in only 13 games, the joint-most for the franchise.
Maharoof Trumps Tanvir
Farveez Maharoof occupies the second spot in the MVP list with an impact of 59.09 points per match. The Sri Lanka allrounder claimed 15 wickets across 10 matches and scored 125 runs. As a support act to Glenn McGrath and Mohammad Asif for the Daredevils, Maharoof made a mark with the ball, conceding only 6.91 runs per over. During the middle overs, Maharoof collected nine wickets and went at 6.09 runs an over. Only three players picked up more wickets during this phase in the tournament. His bowling rating in the tournament was 42.95, the highest among the bowlers to have played a minimum of seven matches. His rating was well ahead of Purple Cap winner Sohail Tanvir (35.9 points).
Maharoof registered a higher impact than Tanvir since he dismissed key batters in key situations: 13 of the 15 batters he dismissed batted in the top six. In comparison, only 14 out of Tanvir's 22 wickets were of top-six batters, and 16 came during the death overs. Tanvir had only six wickets in the powerplay, at an average of 23.5. He didn't have any success in the 3.1 overs he bowled during the middle overs. The left-arm pacer's 22 wickets were equivalent to only 19.91 Smart Wickets. Although Tanvir won the Purple Cap, he finished third highest in terms of Smart Wickets. The India duo of S Sreesanth and Manpreet Gony finished ahead since they had similar success by setting up games against top-order batters during the powerplay.
Sreesanth and Shaun Marsh top leaderboard for Smart Wickets and Runs
Sreesanth topped the charts with 24.1 Smart Wickets. Sreesanth, who played for Kings XI Punjab, took 13 wickets in the powerplay, the joint-highest alongside Gony, who played for the Super Kings. Both bowlers took 15 wickets of top-six batters. Gony's 17 wickets were worth 22.02 Smart Wickets, as 10 of his scalps were of openers. Gony had the highest bowling impact, 479.87 points, and benefited from playing all 16 games in the tournament.
Shaun Marsh dominated the batting charts, winning the Orange Cap as well as scoring the most Smart Runs. Marsh scored 616 runs while Gautam Gambhir finished in second place with 534 runs. However, according to the Smart Runs leaderboard, Jayasuriya took second spot, with his 514 runs effectively worth 600.05 Smart Runs. Despite the Mumbai Indians not making the knockouts, Jayasuriya stood out with the bat, striking at 167.63 and scoring a 45-ball hundred against CSK.
Yusuf Pathan is another player who ranks higher in the Smart Runs list than in the tournament leaderboard. Pathan amassed 435 runs at a whopping strike rate of 179.01; his runs were worth 499.82 Smart Runs, which put him fifth in terms of Smart Runs. Yusuf also made valuable contributions with the ball, picking up 13 wickets. His total impact in the tournament was 753.98 points, behind those of only Watson and Jayasuriya. Yusuf had an impact per game of 47.12, sixth-best on the MVP list.