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Smart Stats - Buttler, Chahal rule first half of IPL 2022

A look at how impactful individual performances have been, with the help of Smart Stats

S Rajesh
S Rajesh
Jos Buttler has scored three centuries in IPL 2022 so far  •  BCCI/IPL

Jos Buttler has scored three centuries in IPL 2022 so far  •  BCCI/IPL

With 491 runs in seven innings - almost 200 more than the next-highest - there is no doubt over who has been the batter of IPL 2022 so far. Jos Buttler has slammed three centuries - (ironically, Virat Kohli, the only batter to score more hundreds in a season is currently having a wretched run, with two first-ball ducks in his last two innings) - and has scored his runs at the strike rate of 161.5. He has singlehandedly scored 39% of Rajasthan Royals' total runs. Not surprisingly, Buttler has notched up 81.1 impact points per match, and sits comfortably on top of the list.
The batter with the next-highest aggregate is also the player with the second-highest rating points, but apart from scoring 295 runs, Hardik Pandya has also contributed with the ball, taking four wickets at an economy rate of 7.56. In terms of batting impact alone, Suryakumar Yadav (55.9) and Liam Livingstone (53.2) follow Buttler. The fact that Buttler is 45% ahead of the next-best in terms of batting impact score shows just how dominant he has been.
If the top run-scorer is in top spot in terms of impact, the top wicket-taker isn't far behind. Yuzvendra Chahal has been in terrific form this season, taking at least two wickets in five out of seven innings. In terms of bowling impact alone, Avesh Khan (45.8), Mohammed Shami (45.6) and Khaleel Ahmed (44.1) follow Chahal. Like Buttler, Chahal has also dominated the bowling charts, and has a bowling impact score that is 42% higher than the next-best bowler.
Andre Russell and Suryakumar round off the top five. Russell has been a mixed bag with the bat - a couple of strong performances interspersed with some failures - but he has still scored 227 runs at a strike rate of 180. To add to that, he also has 10 wickets in 14.4 overs. Suryakumar, meanwhile, has been the one bright spot in a dismal Mumbai Indians campaign so far.
Not only does Chahal lead with the most wickets in the tournament so far, he also owns the best bowling performance of the season: his game-changing 5 for 40 in a high-pressure, high-scoring match against Kolkata Knight Riders fetched 141 impact points. In terms of smart wickets, that five-for was worth 7.55.
Smart wickets puts a value to each wicket taken by a bowler based on the quality of the batter, his score at the time of dismissal, and the match situation and pressure on the fielding team at that point. The highlight of Chahal's spell was a fantastic 17th over in which he took four wickets, including a hattrick. At the start of that over, Knight Riders had needed 40 from four overs with six wickets in hand in a chase of 218, which means they were already going at more than the required rate at the start of their innings. ESPNcricinfo's forecaster gave them a 66% chance of victory at that stage. By the end of that over, their win percentage had slumped to 9.5.
Avesh Khan's 4 for 24 helped Lucknow Super Giants defend a middling total of 169 against Sunrisers Hyderabad, and included the wickets of both openers and Nicholas Pooran. Lockie Ferguson's performance was similar, in a defence of 171 against Delhi Capitals.
Overall, Chahal's 18 wickets is worth 22.2 smart wickets, seven more than Avesh, whose 11 wickets are worth 15.1 smart wickets. T Natarajan, who is second on the wickets tally, is fifth in terms of smart wickets: his 15 wickets converts to 14.2. Umesh Yadav's 11, on the other hand, is worth 14.8, because of the number of top-order batters he has dismissed early: nine of his 11 wickets are of batters in the top four, and six times he has dismissed batters for single-digit scores.
Similarly, Wanindu Hasaranga's 11 wickets are worth 14.3 smart wickets. On the other hand, Kuldeep Yadav's 13 are worth only 12.7, because some of his wickets have come with Delhi Capitals already in dominant positions. For instance, his 4 for 35 against Knight Riders was worth only 2.15 smart wickets, because three of those dismissals happened when victory was already assured. However, his 3 for 18 against Mumbai Indians was worth 4.2 smart wickets and finds a place among the top five most impactful bowling performances of the season. That's because his victims included Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard, in a match where both teams scored at around nine an over.
Among the batters, Buttler obviously tops the smart runs list as well - his 491 runs are worth 530 smart runs - but further down the table the rankings for the two lists don't match. Livingstone is 12th in terms of runs scored, but third in the smart runs table: his 226 runs are worth 298 smart runs. That is because smart runs takes into account the batter's strike rate, the phase of the innings when he batted, and the pressure and match situation for each delivery that he faced. Livingstone has batted largely in the middle overs and achieved a strike rate of 171.6 in that phase; the strike rate of all the other batters in the middle overs is only 133.
All stats updated till Match 36 on Saturday, April 23

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. @rajeshstats