We look at the six most impactful players in the history of the IPL using ESPNcricinfo's Smart Stats tool (min qualification of 60 matches). Also, check out ranks No. 5 and No. 4
Warner is one of the most consistent players in the IPL. In a tournament where many overseas openers with big reputations have failed without making an impression, he has stamped his authority as one of the dominant forces in the league.
He is a unique overseas player in the context of the league in that he has no major weakness. He has an extraordinary record against spin, averaging 62.17 and striking at 141.7. He has scored more than 500 runs in each of the last five seasons he has played and has won the orange cap thrice. Warner also scores at a good pace across all phases of the game and has scores of 30-plus in over 50% of his innings. The Sunrisers Hyderabad are highly dependent on him for good starts. Since 2015, whenever Warner has played, he has scored 31% of the team's bat-runs and has led them to a title win and a playoff spot in the three seasons he captained.
Warner's impact as measured by Smart Stats
One way to gauge how influential a player has been for his team is to look at how often he has won the Man-of-the-Match award. ESPNcricinfo's Smart Stats has its own metric for objectively identifying the player with the highest impact on a match: the Total Impact measure, a numerical value and a sum of the batting and bowling impact of the player in a match, which are calculated by the Smart Stats algorithm.
Warner has been the most impactful player once every nine matches he has played in the league. This is the sixth most frequent for any player who has played at least 60 IPL games.
One of his most impactful performances in the league was in the 2016 Qualifier game against the Gujarat Lions in New Delhi. Faced with a challenging target of 162, Sunrisers were 66 for 3 at the end of ten overs, with Warner on 43 from 32 balls. Although he was losing partners at the other end, he continued to score runs at a quick pace. With six overs to go, Sunrisers needed 66 more at 11 runs per over and Warner had already scored 63% of the team's total by then. Warner and Naman Ojha smashed 19 off Dwayne Smith to ease the pressure, but after two tight overs from Dwayne Bravo and Dhawal Kulkarni, Sunrisers needed 24 off the final two. With some quick running and some smart support from Bipul Sharma, Warner managed to get his side over the line with four balls remaining.
According to the Smart Stats algorithm, Warner's impact with the bat was more than twice that of the next best batsman in the match, Aaron Finch. This was mainly due to the quality of the runs he made and the situation he was up against.
Since Warner is an opener, the chances of him being the top scorer and making a big impact are much greater than for others batting lower down. However there is an instance in which Warner was neither his team's top scorer nor the Man of the Match but was still the MVP as per Smart Stats - against the Mumbai Indians in 2014 in Hyderabad. Warner came in to bat at No. 4 with the score at 70 for 2 in the tenth over. In tough conditions, he made a 31-ball 55 to help Sunrisers reach a competitive 157. Although SRH ended up losing, Warner's impact score was 97, more than that of the two half-century makers for Mumbai, Lendl Simmons and Ambati Rayudu.
Warner's consistency in the IPL is also evident through his Total Impact per match score - 45.9, which is only second to Chris Gayle (53) among pure batsmen.