MS Dhoni: Will be expected to lead Chennai to their 3rd IPL title.
MS Dhoni: Will be expected to lead Chennai to their 3rd IPL title.

TWENTY THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT IPL 8 here.

With IPL 8 commencing barely after ten days of the World Cup, it will be particularly interesting to observe if the same set of players who made a mark in Australia and New Zealand also perform in the shorter format.

Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai, once again, like in the previous edition, make the top three as far as the pre-tournament overall Impact is concerned (Impact Index has a track record of predicting 3 out of 4 semi-finalists correctly 84% of the time in T20 and ODI tournaments since 2011). Not surprisingly then, they are the three most consistent sides going into IPL 8 and also boast of the highest number of big-match players.

Punjab break into the top four from being bottom-placed in last year’s edition – the main reason for this is the consistency of their mercurial players and the development of their youth players (with more than a little credit to coach Sanjay Bangar).

Rajasthan are at the bottom of the pack and it will be interesting to see whether they can prove us wrong – especially with three tournament-defining Australian players from the recently concluded World Cup amongst their ranks (including the highest impact player (Steven Smith) and bowler (James Faulkner). However, it is usually wrong to co-relate T20 performances with ODI performances.

Customary disclaimer – this is what would happen if all teams played to potential – which of course never happens to-a-T. But, given the substantial sample size of matches in IPL, our past IPL predictive analysis 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 8.

Teams Overall Impact Batting Impact Bowling Impact Failure Rate Runs Tally Impact Strike Rate Impact Pressure Impact Chasing Impact Wickets Tally Impact Economy Impact Form Impact
Chennai Super Kings 2.21 1.69 1.36 34 1.61 0.05 0.08 0.06 1.15 0.23 2.05
Kolkata Knight Riders 2.1 1.44 1.39 36 1.42 0.07 0.07 0.07 1.25 0.3 2.11
Mumbai Indians 1.97 1.46 1.44 38 1.47 0.07 0.07 0.06 1.25 0.23 1.79
Kings XI Punjab 1.84 1.59 1.17 41 1.65 0.1 0.07 0.07 1.06 0.12 1.79
Royal Challengers Bangalore 1.8 1.54 1.11 41 1.67 0.07 0.08 0.09 1.08 0.19 1.49
Delhi Daredevils 1.79 1.37 1.19 39 1.41 0.03 0.08 0.05 1.18 0.18 1.34
Sunrisers Hyderabad 1.68 1.35 1.38 40 1.48 0.02 0.07 0.05 1.13 0.25 1.67
Rajasthan Royals 1.67 1.2 1.26 40 1.31 0.04 0.08 0.06 1.21 0.13 1.53

Note:
1) All Impact numbers between 0 and 5.
2) TD – Tournament-defining performances
3) All numbers updated till 3rd April, 2015.
4) Expected squad has been picked keeping in mind the 15 players (9 Indian and 6 overseas players) the franchise is most likely to play in the tournament.
5) Form Impact is determined by a player’s performances in the last 12 months in T20 cricket.

Chennai Super Kings

The highest impact side going into the tournament, Chennai are the strongest batting-unit with a Batting Impact 6% higher than the second-best. They have retained most of their high impact players – both Indian and overseas – MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina and the two Dwaynes – Bravo and Smith to name a few. They are the most consistent side in the tournament with the lowest Failure Rate (an Impact of less than 1 in a match context is labeled as a failure). Chennai, by far, have the highest number of big-match players and also the maximum cumulative tournament-defining performances (showcasing their big match prowess). Their squad’s collective Form Impact (impact in T20s in the last 12 months) is also the second-highest after Kolkata’s. The absence of a high impact fast bowler will be a cause of concern (as was the case last year). Even their spinners, Badree and Ashwin, though highly restrictive, have not been very effective in picking up wickets.

Strengths: Runs Tally, Consistency , Ability to absorb pressure, Form of squad

Weaknesses: Wicket-taking ability

Highest Impact Player: Suresh Raina (2.89)

Highest Impact Batsman: Suresh Raina (2.6)

Highest Impact Bowler: Samuel Badree (2.34)

Interesting Impact Facts (minimum of 60 matches):

Suresh Raina is the second-highest impact T20 batsman ever.

Samuel Badree is the highest-impact T20 bowler in history. He is also the most restrictive bowler in the format ever. It will be interesting if he is given a longer rope in this IPL than he has been before in this tournament.

Kolkata Knight Riders

Kolkata are the second-highest impact team entering the tournament. They have the second-highest Bowling Impact with the joint-highest wicket-taking ability, mainly courtesy their spin trio of Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav and Brad Hogg, whose restrictive abilities also make Kolkata by far the highest Economy Impact team in the tournament.

Kolkata will also have the momentum as cumulatively their players have the best Form Impact before the tournament. They are the second-most consistent side in the tournament with a number of big-match players. Kolkata also boasts of three high impact all-rounders – Azhar Mahmood, Yusuf Pathan and Shakib Al Hasan.

Batting is a distinct weakness (fifth highest Batting Impact ) with no high impact overseas batsman. The cumulative ability of Kolkata’s batsmen to score runs is poor – third-lowest in the tournament. A lot will again depend on Robin Uthappa to give them starts upfront which he did so successfully in last year’s edition.

Strengths: Wicket-taking ability, Restrictive bowling (spinners), Form of squad

Weaknesses: Runs Tally

Highest Impact Player: Shakib Al Hasan (2.65)

Highest Impact Batsman: Robin Uthappa (1.99)

Highest Impact Bowler: Sunil Narine (2.33)

Interesting Impact Facts:

Sunil Narine is the second-highest impact bowler in T20 history. He is the second-most restrictive bowler in the format and also the most consistent.

Andre Russell has the second-highest Strike Rate Impact in T20 history

Mumbai Indians

Mumbai Indians are the highest-impact bowling unit in IPL 8 with the joint-highest ability (along with Kolkata) to pick up wickets and break partnerships in the tournament. They have an ideal mix of high impact fast bowlers and spinners – Josh Hazlewood, Lasith Malinga and Jasprit Bumrah will lead the pace attack while Harbhajan Singh will spearhead the spinners.

Mumbai Indians, like Kolkata and Chennai have a number of big-match players in their squad – Kieron Pollard, Harbhajan and Malinga to name a few so they are a dangerous side if they make the playoffs.

Scoring runs (lack of it) continues to be Mumbai’s bane this year too. Coupled with a low ability to absorb pressure (of falling wickets), Mumbai’s batting is their weak link.

Strengths: Wicket-taking ability, Partnership-Breaking

Weaknesses: Runs Tally, Low ability to absorb pressure

Highest Impact Player: Josh Hazlewood (2.59)

Highest Impact Batsman: Lendl Simmons (2.25)

Highest Impact Bowler: Josh Hazlewood (2.55)

Interesting Impact Facts:

Josh Hazlewood is the third-highest impact bowler in T20 history if we reduce the number of matches played to 25.

Aaron Finch has the fifth-highest ability (after Marsh, Gayle, Masakadza and Michael Hussey) to score runs (in proportion to his team’s runs) in T20 cricket history.

Kings XI Punjab

Punjab surprised us last year by topping the group stage and making it to the playoffs. That they played above their Impact potential will be an understatement (they were the lowest impact team before IPL 7).

This year, however, Impact predicts them to join the ranks of Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai in the playoffs. The main reason for this jump is the development of their youngsters (Manan Vohra, Karanveer Singh, Axar Patel and Sandeep Sharma to name a few) and the consistency of their mercurial players under this team management – the credit for which must be given to their coach, Sanjay Bangar. While Shaun Marsh, David Miller and Murali Vijay are very high on batting impact , the likes of Glenn Maxwell, Virender Sehwag and Thisara Perera make Punjab the highest Strike Rate Impact team in the tournament. It is not a surprise then that Punjab also has the second-highest Batting Impact in the tournament.

Punjab’s bowling is poor with the second-lowest Bowling Impact in the tournament (they were the worst bowling unit prior to the start of IPL 7 last year). Not only do their bowlers have the lowest wicket-taking ability, but they also have the lowest Economy Impact . There will be a lot of pressure on Mitchell Johnson to provide early breakthroughs and Axar Patel to stem the flow of runs.

Punjab is also the least consistent side going into the tournament.

Strengths: Runs Tally, Strike Rate

Weaknesses: Wicket-taking ability, Economy, Consistency

Highest Impact Player: Shaun Marsh (2.48)

Highest Impact Batsman: Shaun Marsh (2.4)

Highest Impact Bowler: Karanveer Singh (1.85)

Interesting Impact Facts:

Shaun Marsh is the highest Runs Tally Impact batsman (runs scored in proportion to his team’s runs) in T20 cricket history.

Virender Sehwag is the third-highest Strike Rate Impact batsman in T20 cricket.

Axar Patel is the fourth-most restrictive bowler in T20 cricket history (for a minimum of 35 matches).

Mitchell Starc: Highest impact bowler for Bangalore but will miss the first few weeks.
Mitchell Starc: Highest impact bowler for Bangalore but will miss the first few weeks.

Royal Challengers Bangalore

Bangalore has a strong and powerful batting unit (like last year) – the likes of Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle in the top four can make any attack sweat. Often accused of being top-heavy, the likes of Rilee Rossouw, Subramaniam Badrinath and Darren Sammy this time around give the middle and lower-middle order stability and impetus both.

Bangalore’s batsmen score heavily (highest ability to score runs) and have the best ability to forge partnerships. It is also the best chasing side in the tournament.

Their shortcomings are in the bowling department. They are the weakest bowling team entering the tournament with their bowlers depicting a poor propensity to pick opposition wickets (second-lowest in the tournament). Mitchell Starc, who was in scintillating form in the World Cup, will be their trump-card with the ball. His ability to get the initial breakthroughs and to stifle runs at the death will be critical to Bangalore’s chances, especially since they will play half their matches in the relatively small and high-scoring Chinnaswamy Stadium. The absence of a high-impact spinner may hurt them. They are also the second-lowest as far as Consistency and Form Impact are concerned.

Strengths: Runs Tally, Partnership-Building

Weaknesses: Wicket-taking ability, Consistency , Form

Highest Impact Player: Chris Gayle (2.66)

Highest Impact Batsman: Chris Gayle (2.29)

Highest Impact Bowler: Mitchell Starc (1.77)

Interesting Impact Facts:

Chris Gayle is the highest Chasing Impact batsman in T20 history.

Subramaniam Badrinath is the second-highest Pressure Impact batsman in IPL history after Kevin Pietersen.

Delhi Daredevils

The Daredevils had the strongest batting unit last year – with the likes of Kevin Pietersen, Dinesh Karthik and Murali Vijay amongst their ranks. But unfortunately for them, due to some strange selection policies in the auction this year, they are the third-lowest when it comes to Batting Impact .

It might be a classic case of putting all its eggs in one basket when it comes to Yuvraj Singh – Delhi will desperately hope that he comes good. Quinton de Kock, though a very high-impact batsman in this format, failed miserably in the World Cup. JP Duminy and Angelo Mathews will be their mainstay in the middle order.

Delhi are amongst the lowest-impact teams when it comes to Runs Tally (runs scoring propensity) – they were the highest last year. A poor Strike Rate and Chasing Impact does not help their cause either.

Their bowling could cause a surprise or two – Imran Tahir bowled brilliantly in the World Cup as did Mohammed Shami. With the likes of Nathan Coulter-Nile, Zaheer Khan and Amit Mishra for support, Delhi’s bowling could be a handful and perform above potential.

Delhi were the second-highest Form Impact team entering the tournament last year. They are by far the lowest Form Impact team this year (their Form Impact is 10% lower than the next team).

Strengths: Wicket-taking ability, Ability to break partnerships

Weaknesses: Runs Tally, Form

Highest Impact Player: Quinton de Kock (2.86)

Highest Impact Batsman: Quinton de Kock (2.5)

Highest Impact Bowler: Imran Tahir (1.6)

Interesting Impact Fact:

Quinton de Kock is the fourth-highest impact batsman in T20 history.

Sunrisers Hyderabad

Hyderabad have the second-lowest Overall Impact going into the tournament. They have the lowest Strike Rate and Chasing Impact amongst all the teams. Having said that, David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan form a formidable opening pair and Kane Williamson, though in indifferent ODI form, is a class act. The middle order poses a few questions and will revolve around Eoin Morgan. The absence of Kevin Pietersen will undoubtedly be a big blow for them.

The bowling fares better than the batting. It boasts of a number of restrictive bowlers – Dale Steyn and Bhuvneshwar Kumar leading on this front. All eyes would be on Trent Boult though after his phenomenal success in the World Cup.

Strengths: Economy Impact

Weaknesses: Strike Rate, Chasing

Highest Impact Player: Moises Henriques (2.31)

Highest Impact Batsman: David Warner (1.98)

Highest Impact Bowler: Dale Steyn (1.67)

Interesting Impact Facts:

Shikhar Dhawan has the second-lowest Strike Rate Impact (after Hanuma Vihari) amongst all the Hyderabad batsmen.

Kevin Pietersen has the lowest failure rate (35%) amongst all batsmen in T20 history.

Steven Smith: In the form of his life, but his T20 records aren't great.
Steven Smith: In the form of his life, but his T20 records aren’t great.

Rajasthan Royals

Rajasthan are the lowest-impact team going into IPL 8. They have the lowest-impact batting unit (like last year). Scoring runs has been their problem and they will depend heavily on Shane Watson and Ajinkya Rahane. However, Steven Smith will be the batsman to watch out for, even though his T20 records aren’t great. The bowling fares much better with Watson, Pravin Tambe and Ben Cutting being their high impact bowlers – although Watson has seriously been off colour with the ball in the last 2 years in all forms of cricket. Surprisingly, the ability of their bowlers to pick up wickets is the third-highest going into the tournament with the likes of James Faulkner, Pravin Tambe and Tim Southee all capable of making inroads in the opposition line-up.

Rajasthan always punch above their weight so can never be written off but despite their claims of selecting a €œMoneyball Team€ this time, the signs are not great for them this year.

Strengths: Wicket-taking ability

Weaknesses: Runs Tally

Highest Impact Player: Shane Watson (2.84)

Highest Impact Batsman: Shane Watson (2.17)

Highest Impact Bowler: Shane Watson (1.69)

Interesting Impact Fact:

Shane Watson is the highest impact player in IPL history.

 

 

Nikhil Narain/ Soham Sarkhel