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IPL 2023 - A wham-bang season so far

With the Impact Player rule and flat pitches at the start of the season, batters are attacking more than ever, and it's showing in the numbers

Matt Roller
Matt Roller
Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jos Buttler have given Rajasthan Royals powerful starts this season  •  BCCI

Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jos Buttler have given Rajasthan Royals powerful starts this season  •  BCCI

IPL 2023 has been a run-fest so far. At this early stage, one-fifth of the way through the league phase, this season is on track to be the highest scoring in IPL history: teams have scored at 8.86 runs per over, compared to a previous high of 8.64 an over in 2018.
The average first-innings score is 181, and eight of the first 14 games have had first-innings totals of 190 or more. Seven of the eight scores of 190-plus have been defended, with Kolkata Knight Riders' heist against Gujarat Titans the only exception. No team has come close to defending a total below 190.

Impact Player's impact

The high-intent approach that most batters have used is reflected by a steep increase in attacking-shot percentage. It is impossible to know for sure why batters are attacking more, but one obvious change this season has been the addition of the Impact Player rule, which has generally seen teams bat one position deeper than they did in previous years.
"Most teams will probably [continue to] use it the way that every team has been using it," Mark Boucher, the Mumbai Indians coach, said. "When you bat first, you want to try and squeeze in an extra batter, and if you bowl first, you want to get that extra bowler in." During their defeat to Chennai Super Kings on Saturday, Mumbai fielded seven frontline batters.

Early-season trends

A note of caution on this year's run-glut: it is not uncommon for teams to score quickly at the start of any given IPL season before scoring rates decline as the tournament wears on. Perhaps this is due to the fact that pitches tend to be fresh at the start of a season, whereas some teams opt to play on used, worn surfaces as the league phase draws to a close.
When compared to the first 14 matches of recent seasons, 2023 has clearly still been a high-scoring year, second only to the start of the 2018 season. But do not be surprised if scores tail off somewhat in the coming weeks, or if spin plays a greater role in determining the outcome of games.