Stats Analysis

IPL 2022 - The wristspinners' domination and middle-overs acceleration

A statistical review of the tournament and what made it unique

Legspinners unite: Wanindu Hasaranga and Yuzvendra Chahal were plucking wickets for fun in IPL 2022  •  BCCI

Legspinners unite: Wanindu Hasaranga and Yuzvendra Chahal were plucking wickets for fun in IPL 2022  •  BCCI

Dominance of wrist spinners
The battle for the purple cap between Yuzvendra Chahal and Wanindu Hasaranga defined how wristspinners dominated through the tournament. Kuldeep Yadav was also in the race but finished fifth, while Rashid Khan found a place in the top ten wicket-takers.
Wristspinners claimed 141 wickets across the 74 matches, the second-most for them in an IPL edition, behind the 143 scalps in 2019. They averaged 24.53 runs per wicket, the best since 2011 (21.03) and the third-best overall.
In comparison, fingerspinners picked only 116 wickets while averaging 34.95, the fourth-worst average in an edition. Maheesh Theekshana and R Ashwin were the most successful finger spinners in this tournament with 12 wickets each.
New-ball advantage for the pacers
IPL 2022 was a productive season for the pacers with the new ball, as pitches in Mumbai and Pune assisted them through the league stage. Pace bowlers averaged 30.01 in the powerplay this season, the third-best in the IPL. The pacers took a wicket every 23.77 balls in the powerplay, second only to 23.11 in the 2009 edition in South Africa.
Success with the new ball meant teams did not prefer to start with spinners often - as the pacers bowled 83.68 % of the balls in the powerplay - the second-highest in a season since 2010. Punjab Kings had only four overs of spin during the powerplay in the tournament, while the title winners Gujarat Titans handed only six overs to the spinners in this phase.
Middle overs acceleration
Teams have looked for early acceleration this season after quiet powerplay overs, resulting in a rise of the scoring rate in the middle-overs to 8.17, the highest ever in any edition of the IPL. The previous highest middle overs run rate in a season was 8.12 in 2018. Most teams targeted the five-over block between overs 8-12.
At times, expensive overs in this period have come in the way of the chasing teams. The run rate in these five overs in this season was 8.07, comfortably the highest in any edition, with the previous highest being 7.95 in 2018. In fact, the aggregate run-rate in each over between 8th and 12th overs this season was excess of 8 runs.
POTM awards for bowlers
Kuldeep Yadav won the player-of-the-match award four times this season, the most by any player. Seven of the 15 players to win multiple player-of-the-match awards were for their bowling. In 28 matches, a bowling performance earned the player-of-the-match. It is the highest number of player-of-the-match awards won by the bowlers in an IPL season.
The award in 40 of the remaining 46 matches was given to batting performances, while the remaining six recognised all-round efforts. However, in terms of % of awards won by the bowlers, 37.8 in 2022 is the second-highest behind 39 in the 2017 season. The 2017 season had seen 23 awards won for bowling out of the 59 matches while 31 for batting efforts.
Season of close matches
In a season where the teams winning the toss preferred to chase, the teams batting first went on a five-match streak (from game 53 to 57) with winning margins of 50-plus runs. Never in the IPL had the teams batting first won more than two successive games by 50-plus runs. Despite this unique streak, the IPL 2022 had fewer one-sided matches in terms of win margins.
Only 47.3 % of the matches this season ended with a margin of 18-plus runs or three-plus wickets with nine-plus balls to spare. It is the fourth-lowest for any IPL edition and the least in the editions where more than eight teams contested. The three seasons between 2011 and 2013 featuring nine or more teams had more than 50% of matches which were one-sided.
Pre-auction picks, and how they fared
The only franchise to have made the perfect pre-auction picks was Gujarat Titans, who eventually emerged as the title winners in their debut season. Titans signed up Rashid Khan and Shubman Gill alongside their captain Hardik Pandya. Gill and Hardik ended in the top five run-getters, while Rashid played key cameos down the order adding up to his tally of 19 wickets.
Runners-up, Rajasthan Royals also made good choices by retaining Sanju Samson, Jos Buttler and Yashasvi Jaiswal. Buttler won the Orange Cap, while Yashasvi Jaiswal, benched after three games, made a solid comeback in the second half.
The big names - Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli produced below-par returns for their respective franchises. Rohit failed to score a fifty for the first time in an IPL edition, while Kohli recorded his worst season since 2009. Kieron Pollard failed to finish matches for Mumbai Indians and got benched towards the end of the league stage.
Mohammed Siraj was one of the three Indian pacers to be retained but ended up with the most expensive performance for any bowler in an IPL season.
Mayank Agarwal, in his maiden season as captain, struggled for consistency and dropped himself to the middle order. Kane Williamson failed to guide Sunrisers Hyderabad with his batting, scoring at less than run-a-ball.
Abdul Samad, another retention of Sunrisers, lasted only two games before being left out. However, Umran Malik turned out to be their strike bowler, with 22 wickets.
Both Venkatesh Iyer and Varun Chakravarthy, the Indian retentions of Kolkata Knight Riders, were left out after very few matches.
Lucknow Super Giants underused their overseas draft pick Marcus Stoinis while Ravi Bishnoi was touch expensive, conceding 8.44 while picking up only 13 wickets. Although Chennai Super Kings did not drop any of their retentions, their skipper Ravindra Jadeja left his responsibilities due to a rib-injury after yielding middling returns.

Sampath Bandarupalli is a statistician at ESPNcricinfo