Mumbai Indians and Gujarat Lions again start as favourites for this year’s Indian Premier League title. While Mumbai have the highest impact bowling unit and the second-highest impact batting unit, Gujarat have an experienced squad that comprises big-match prowess and a strong Indian contingent. Ravindra Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo’s absence from the first part of the tournament might make the journey a little more arduous for Gujarat, but even in their absence, they should make it through to the playoff stages.

Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad are the two other teams that are favourites for the playoffs. Kolkata have a strong bowling unit but are also the second-weakest batting unit in the tournament (after Delhi Daredevils) while Hyderabad possess the second-strongest bowling unit and also the most consistent side coming into IPL 2017 after Mumbai.

Royal Challengers Bangalore are the dark horse for this year’s IPL. They are by far the strongest batting unit coming into IPL 2017, but are also the most inconsistent (along with Delhi). They do not make the top four as they rely more on individual brilliance as opposed to a combined team effort (they have a few high impact players but others bring the overall team impact down). Without Kohli, though, their chances of landing a spot in the playoffs drop considerably. There is a direct cause and effect relationship between Kohli and Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Rising Pune Supergiants‘ batting might cause a few upsets. They have a strong overseas contingent too.

Delhi Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab will find it tough to compete with the other teams in the tournament. While Delhi has the weakest batting unit, Punjab has the weakest bowling unit and are also amongst the two most inconsistent teams in the tournament.

Customary disclaimer: This is what would happen if all teams played to potential – which never happens to-a-T, of course. But, given the substantial sample size of matches in IPL, our past IPL predictive analysis (Impact Index has correctly predicted 17 of the 24 semi-finalists of the previous six editions of the IPL. Thus, the forecast success ratio in getting projected semi-finalists right is 71%) suggests that not even the seemingly volatile T20 format of the game is beyond the scope of such analysis – as most teams seem to play closer to their impact (and perhaps, potential) cumulatively.

This is how our Impact table stands before IPL 2017.

Team Overall Impact Batting Impact Bowling Impact Runs Tally Impact Strike Rate Impact Pressure Impact Chasing Impact Wickets Tally Impact Economy Impact Failure Rate (in %)  Form Impact (Since 2015)
Mumbai Indians 100 95 100 85 25 92 58 93 100 41 100
Gujarat Lions 91 92 90 89 14 83 50 93 82 45 82
Kolkata Knight Riders 86 85 96 84 13 100 67 100 82 46 84
Sunrisers Hyderabad 85 91 97 89 13 67 58 100 92 42 89
Royal Challengers Bangalore 78 100 91 100 100 83 100 92 100 47 79
Rising Pune Supergiants 76 88 80 89 13 83 50 94 77 44 79
Kings XI Punjab 71 88 73 90 17 83 50 81 59 47 71
Delhi Daredevils 66 68 92 72 14 83 67 100 82 44 72

1) All impact parameters (apart from failure rate) are expressed on a scale of 0 to 100, with the maximum (100) assigned to the highest impact team in that parameter. All other teams are scaled relative to that.
2) Data includes all T20s (international and domestic), with higher weightage to international performances
3) Numbers are based on the 20 players most likely to be fielded by each franchise



1) The best bowling and the second-best batting unit (after Bangalore) in the tournament
2) Comebacks of Lasith Malinga and Lendl Simmons whose services were missed last year, due to injury
3) Ability to restrict opposition batsmen amongst the best in the tournament
4) Big-Match players

1) Question marks on their run-scoring propensity

Highest Impact Batsman: Lendl Simmons
Highest Impact Bowler: Lasith Malinga
Highest Impact Player: Kieron Pollard

Uncapped Indian player(s) to watch out for: Jitesh Sharma and Krishnappa Gowtham

Interesting Impact fact: Lasith Malinga is the highest impact fast bowler (min. 60 matches) in the history of T20 cricket.

Rohit Sharma: Can he make Mumbai Indians the most successful IPL franchise by lifting the trophy this year?



1) Best Big-Match prowess
2) Strong Indian contingent

1) Batting can succumb while chasing
2) Scoring at a high run-rate
3) Indifferent lead up to the tournament for their highest impact batsman—Suresh Raina
4) Ravindra Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo’s unavailability for the start of the tournament. Without them, Gujarat Lions come in as the fourth-highest impact team of the tournament (after Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad)

Highest Impact Batsman: Suresh Raina
Highest Impact Bowler: Andrew Tye
Highest Impact Player: Suresh Raina

Uncapped Indian player(s) to watch out for: Shubham Agarwal

Interesting Impact fact: Dwayne Bravo is the fourth-highest impact all-rounder in T20 cricket history (min. 60 matches) after Mohammad Hafeez, Shahid Afridi and Shane Watson.

Suresh Raina: Can India’s highest impact T20 batsman shrug off indifferent form to excel at the format which suits him most?




1) Third-best bowling attack in the tournament after Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad
2) Variety in their bowling attack

1) Second-weakest batting unit after Delhi Daredevils
2) Absence of Andre Russell makes their batting line-up amongst the most sluggish in the tournament.

Highest Impact Batsman: Robin Uthappa
Highest Impact Bowler: Sunil Narine
Highest Impact Player: Shakib Al Hasan

Uncapped Indian player(s) to watch out for: Sayan Ghosh

Interesting Impact fact: Only AB de Villiers and David Warner have scored a higher proportion of runs at a Strike Rate Impact higher than Chris Lynn in domestic T20s since 2015.

Gautam Gambhir: Arrested his T20 batting slide with solid performances in the IPL last season. Can he & Uthappa hit a rich vein of form again?



1) Their progress is dependent on their bowling force — only Mumbai Indians have a higher impact bowling attack in the tournament
2) They are an in-form team; Form Impact is second only to that of Mumbai Indians’

1) Barring David Warner, they have a sluggish batting line-up
2) Indifferent form of Shikhar Dhawan leading up to the tournament
3) Managing Mustafizur Rahman’s workload a huge concern

Highest Impact Batsman: David Warner
Highest Impact Bowler: Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Highest Impact Player: Moises Henriques

Uncapped Indian player(s) to watch out for: Bipul Sharma and Eklavya Dwivedi

Interesting Impact fact: David Warner is the highest impact batsman in the world in domestic T20s since 2015. He is also the second-highest impact batsman in IPL history after Michael Hussey.

Mustafizur (1)
Mustafizur Rahman: The most consistent pace bowler in Indian conditions in T20 history.



1) The most prolific batting unit in the tournament
2) Most destructive batting unit
3) The best chasers in the tournament
4) The most restrictive bowling unit along with Mumbai Indians

1) Inability to pick wickets. Second-worst in this regard after Kings XI Punjab
2) Most inconsistent team along with Kings XI Punjab
3) Heavily dependent on single-skilled players
4) Injuries to Lokesh Rahul and Virat Kohli. Without Kohli, RCB’s impact drops below Rising Pune Supergiants’. Kohli’s absence also dethrones RCB as the strongest batting lineup of the tournament (they come third after MI and GL).

Highest Impact Batsman: Virat Kohli
Highest Impact Bowler: Samuel Badree
Highest Impact Player: Samuel Badree

Uncapped Indian player(s) to watch out for: Aniket Choudhary

Interesting Impact fact: No batsman has scored a higher proportion of runs than Virat Kohli in T20 cricket history (min. 60 matches). He is also the most consistent T20 batsman ever.

yuzvendra chahal 2
Yuzvendra Chahal: RCB’s unsung hero and the highest impact bowler of IPL 2016.




1) Propensity to score big runs
2) Presence of good quality all-rounders like Ben Stokes, Daniel Christian, Rajat Bhatia make them a potential threat in the tournament
3) Emergence of Adam Zampa as a top quality T20 bowler

1) Second-weakest bowling attack in the tournament after Kings XI Punjab
2) Sluggish batting line-up
3) Balancing their quota of overseas players is a huge concern with the likes of Steve Smith, Usman Khawaja, Ben Stokes, Imran Tahir, Faf du Plessis, Adam Zampa and Daniel Christian in their squad

Highest Impact Batsman: Usman Khawaja
Highest Impact Bowler: Adam Zampa
Highest Impact Player: MS Dhoni

Uncapped Indian player(s) to watch out for: Ankush Bains

Interesting Impact fact: In T20Is, Ben Stokes has been poor. In fact, he barely manages to be a genuine all-rounder and has a pretty high failure rate of 60%. In domestic T20s ,though, he has been a genuine match-winner with a high impact performance once every four matches and a failure rate of only 30%.

Ben Stokes_
Ben Stokes: Andrew Flintoff IPL version 2.0? RPS will hope not.



1) Ability to score big runs. Second-best in this regard in the tournament after Royal Challengers Bangalore
2) High impact foreign batting contingent

1) Weakest bowling unit. Least restrictive
2) Most inconsistent team along with Royal Challengers Bangalore
3) Poor Form (lowest Form Impact amongst all teams)

Highest Impact Batsman: Shaun Marsh
Highest Impact Bowler: Sandeep Sharma
Highest Impact Player: Shaun Marsh

Uncapped Indian player(s) to watch out for: KC Cariappa

Interesting Impact fact: Martin Guptill is the seventh-most consistent batsman (after Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson, David Warner, Riki Wessels, AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis) in T20 cricket (min. 30 matches) since 2015.

sandeep sharma
Sandeep Sharma: The most consistent Indian bowler in IPL history.



1) Amongst the top three teams in the tournament when it comes to picking up wickets

1) Weakest batting unit. Hampered by Quinton de Kock and JP Duminy’s absence
2) Proportion of runs scored as a collective batting unit lowest amongst all teams in the tournament
3) Poor Form

Highest Impact Batsman: Angelo Mathews
Highest Impact Bowler: Pat Cummins
Highest Impact Player: Angelo Mathews

Uncapped Indian player(s) to watch out for: Chama Milind

Interesting Impact fact: Carlos Brathwaite has the highest Strike Rate Impact (strike rate relative to match norm) after AB de Villiers and Andre Russell in T20 cricket since 2015 (min. 30 matches).

Zaheer Khan: Can he miraculously lead a severely depleted Delhi Daredevils team into the playoffs? Highly unlikely.



Soham Sarkhel/ Nikhil Narain
Illustrations: Vasim Maner