Stats Analysis

Sunil Narine, number one in a field of one

Stats: No player has put in a greater all-round performance in a single season of the IPL

S Rajesh
S Rajesh
Sunil Narine: The most dangerous powerplay batter in IPL 2024? Kolkata Knight Riders vs Punjab Kings, IPL 2024, Kolkata, April 26, 2024

Sunil Narine: The most dangerous powerplay batter in IPL 2024  •  AFP/Getty Images

Stats updated till match 57 of IPL 2024
With 461 runs and 14 wickets in just 11 matches so far in IPL 2024, Sunil Narine stands on the cusp of something extraordinary: 39 more runs and one more wicket will make him the first player in IPL history to achieve the double of 500 runs and 15 wickets in a season.
In fact, even with a 20% reduction - 400 runs and 12 wickets - only six instances turn up in the 16 IPL seasons before this one. These have been achieved by four different players, and the last of those came five seasons ago, in 2019 by Hardik Pandya.
It's not about just the runs Narine has scored, but also the speed with which he has scored them, and the economy rates he has achieved with the ball to go with the wickets. It is rare enough for a specialist batter to score 450-plus runs in a season at a 175-plus strike rate - it has only happened seven times in an IPL season, two of which are in 2024. Narine has combined that with stunning performances with the ball.
And while 14 or more wickets at under 6.7 runs an over have come more often in the IPL - 44 times - his bowling numbers stand out because this has been such a batter-dominated season. The only other bowler to take 14-plus wickets at under 6.7 runs per over this season is Jasprit Bumrah.
Of the six other instances when players achieved the double of 400-plus runs and 12 or more wickets, only Pandya had a 180-plus strike rate (in 2019), but that was coupled with an economy rate of 9.17. Andrew Symonds' economy rate of 7.01 is the closest to Narine's in the current season, but his strike rate in 2010 was below 130.
Even when the cutoffs come down to 150 runs and five wickets, there are only two other instances of a player achieving an economy rate of under seven, and a strike rate of over 175. Chris Gayle scored 608 runs in 2011 but took only eight wickets, while Chris Morris took 13 wickets in 2016 but scored only 195 runs.
On the other hand, with a higher cutoff for runs and wickets - 400 runs and 12 wickets - you will have to make the two other qualifiers less stringent - the strike rate to 150-plus, and the economy rate to 7.5 - to have another member enter the Narine club.
Narine's achievements this season is without precedent even in other major leagues across the world. In the major leagues in world cricket - IPL, BBL, CPL, PSL, SA20 and Vitality Blast - there has never been an instance of an allrounder even achieving the double of 250 runs and ten wickets at a strike rate of over 175 and a sub-seven economy rate.
Let's, therefore, ease up a little on the benchmarks: with a cutoff of 250 runs, ten wickets, 160 strike rate and 7.5 economy rate, eight players qualify, of whom five are from the Blast. The others are Kieron Pollard in IPL 2010, and Shadab Khan in PSL 2022.
The other metric which brings out Narine's sensational all-round season is ESPNcricinfo's player impact scores. These are points given for each batting and bowling performance for a player in a season, and is based not only on runs and wickets, but also on match context and pressure on the player when he batted or bowled. Based on these impact numbers, Narine has a batting impact score of 42.69 and a bowling impact score of 49.55 (these are on a per-match basis). In IPL history, no player has ever managed a 40-plus score in both batting and bowling in a season. Even 30-plus in each has only been achieved five times, including once by Narine himself in 2018.
With a six-match cutoff this season, Narine is among the top ten in both the batters' and the bowlers' lists this season - his score of 49.55 is fifth among bowlers, and tenth among batters. His overall cumulative impact score of 1014.13 is 1.424 times the next best - Bumrah's 712.52.
There is only one instance of the top impact player being further ahead of the second-placed player in IPL history - in 2011, when Gayle's impact was 1.56 times higher than the second-placed Yusuf Pathan's. Gayle's total tally was largely due to his batting numbers, though - the batting-bowling split was 882.47 to 199.64. With Narine, though, the numbers are truly reflective of an allrounder in peak form in both departments.
In fact, Narine features twice in the top-five list below: his 2018 season was similar, when his total impact was 1.25 times Rashid Khan's. That was when he scored 357 runs in 16 innings at 189.89, and took 17 wickets at an economy rate of 7.65. This year, he has clearly outdone 2018 as well.

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. @rajeshstats