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Only 2010’s edition competed with this year’s IPL for the status of the closest IPL of all. Chennai topped the table with only 18 points- the lowest by any table topper in any of the IPL seasons. Given that Mumbai, with just 16 points at the group stages won eventually and given that there were many more closer games in this edition than any other, this one easily deserves that status.

Mumbai’s turnaround was also unprecedented. They won just once in their first six games and were the subject of derision from various quarters, given the star studded support bench they boasted, led by Ricky Ponting. No one in cricket history has perhaps had as many last laughs as him.

When the last week of the group stages began, Chennai was the only team assured of its place. Curiously, two things remained exactly the same as in 2010. The playoff matches (or semis) were all one-sided. And Chennai and Mumbai met in the final. However, the most important thing did not stay the same – Mumbai won this time.

Despite our pre-tournament projection about Punjab doing well in this year’s IPL going drastically awry, we didn’t do that badly in the end. Despite such a closely-fought IPL where only one team was sure of its place during the last 3 days of the group stages, despite rain regularly messing up encounters, we still got 2.5 semifinalists right instead of the usual three (the half being the dark horse Bangalore).

This, then, is our predictive record over 12 tournaments in the last 5 years – 36 of the 48 projected semi-finalists right – that’s 75%. And every single time in those 12 tournaments, one of our projected semi-finalists has won the title – that’s 100%.

This is how the teams registered their impact in IPL 2015:

 

Team Overall Impact Batting Impact Bowling Impact Failure Rate (in %)
Mumbai 2.06 1.64 1.51 37
Chennai 1.95 1.39 1.42 33
Hyderabad 1.92 1.41 1.27 40
Bangalore 1.78 1.59 1.78 31
Rajasthan 1.7 1.29 1.03 43
Kolkata 1.67 1.41 1.32 40
Delhi 1.58 1.34 1.33 32
Punjab 1.56 1.14 1.11 41

As expected, Mumbai lead the charts with Chennai emerging second showing that the two most deserving teams eventually reached the finals. Hyderabad at third is interesting but it also shows how closely contested the group stages were and how close they were to qualification. Mumbai emerged as the highest impact batting unit of the tournament whereas Bangalore had the highest impact bowling unit.

Here’s a team-wise review for each of the teams:

Chennai- UNDERACHIEVED

They entered the tournament as the highest impact team and as a result were expected to clinch the trophy. Barring the first half of the season, Chennai never dominated this edition of the IPL and were surprisingly tame in the knockout stages. Their lower middle-order batting and the form of Dwayne Smith and Suresh Raina at the top affected them. Only two Chennai batsmen had a failure rate below 30%- Faf du Plessis (27%) & Brendon McCullum (29%). Raina, Dhoni, Bravo, Jadeja and Dwayne Smith had a negative Strike Rate Impact in the tournament- five out of Chennai’s top seven. McCullum covered up for that spectacularly in the group stages but once he left, the absence of a big hitter was palpable. Interestingly, their bowling was more assured than their batting but were found out whenever they played on flat tracks. Bravo was their most consistent bowler with a failure rate of only 25%. Nehra and Ashwin in comparison had a failure rate of 44 and 46% respectively. Mohit Sharma, Jadeja and Negi completely failed to pull their weight with the ball and all three had a failure rate of more than 50% in the tournament. Given that so many of their personnel failed, it is interesting that Chennai reached the final but given their overall potential they should have clinched it.

Highest Impact batsman: Brendon McCullum
Highest Impact bowler: Dwayne Bravo
Highest Impact player: Dwayne Bravo

Kolkata- UNDERACHIEVED

Kolkata’s strength going into the tournament was the restrictive ability of their spinners. Sunil Narine and Shakib Al Hasan were their highest Economy Impact spinners in the last edition of the IPL but both of them were reduced to a sideshow in Kolkata’s campaign this year. Shakib missed majority of the matches because of his international commitment whereas Narine’s change in action took away a lot off his bite. Interestingly, Narine was still Kolkata’s highest Economy Impact bowler in this campaign but his Economy Impact dropped by 29% from last year and his Wickets Tally Impact by 41%. Brad Hogg filled up Narine’s spot for some time but was then surprisingly dropped. Robin Uthappa was nowhere close to the run of form he showed last year. Uthappa’s failure rate with the bat this year was 38%, last season it was 19%, his Runs Tally Impact also dropped by a whopping 45%. One of the most bizarre decisions was to drop Morne Morkel, he played only nine games but was their highest impact bowler and failed in only one out of seven innings.

Highest Impact batsman: Andre Russell
Highest Impact bowler: Morne Morkel
Highest Impact player: Andre Russell

Mumbai- OVERACHIEVED

Their comeback which saw them winning nine out of their last 10 matches is well documented but a major reason for that was the upswing in the form of Lasith Malinga. In his first six matches, he had a failure rate of only 17% but wasn’t at his wicket-taking best and was promptly written off. Malinga’s Wickets Tally Impact increased by 80% and his Economy Impact by 140% in the last 10 matches and he didn’t fail even once which saw him emerge as the highest impact bowler of the tournament eventually. Shockingly, Mumbai’s highest impact batsman from last year’s edition, Lendl Simmons was dropped in favor of Aaron Finch during the start of this season’s IPL but an injury to the latter forced them to play Simmons. Simmons produced a tournament-defining knock in both the knockout games and emerged as the highest impact batsman and player of the tournament. In fact in the last two editions of the IPL, Simmons has been the most consistent batsman across all teams. An injury to Corey Anderson also meant the inclusion of Mitchell McClenaghan who produced a tournament-defining performance against Chennai in the final and emerged as the third-highest impact bowler of the tournament after Malinga and Mitchell Starc.

Highest Impact batsman: Lendl Simmons
Highest Impact bowler: Lasith Malinga
Highest Impact player: Lendl Simmons

Punjab- GROSSLY UNDERACHIEVED

For the second year in a row now, we got Punjab spectacularly wrong. Last year, they were the lowest impact team but went on to be the runners-up. This year, they were one of our playoff favourites but ended up getting the wooden spoon. Many of their players were completely out of form. The failure rates of their batsman tell a significant story- Sehwag, 75%, Vijay, 45%, Maxwell, 73%, Saha, 46%, Vohra, 57%, and Marsh, 75%. Only David Miller and George Bailey (31% each) had a failure rate of less than 40%. Bailey prospered in the first half but failed miserably in the second-half of the season. More importantly, his innings were always stabilising in nature and not a match changing one. The post-World Cup fatigue was also on show as both Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Johnson failed game after game for Punjab. Axar Patel was the highest Economy Impact bowler in last year’s IPL but had a negative Economy Impact this year. Sandeep Sharma impressed with his death-bowling skills which shows in his high Economy Impact but his new developed asset also forced Bailey to keep his overs for death. In the earlier seasons, Sandeep would concentrate more on his new ball skills and as a result picked up many wickets, this year though his Wickets Tally Impact fell by 77%.

Highest Impact batsman: David Miller
Highest Impact bowler: Sandeep Sharma
Highest Impact player: Axar Patel

Bangalore- PLAYED TO POTENTIAL

Bangalore finally made it to the playoff stages of the IPL after three long years thanks to the performance of their big three- Kohli, Gayle and AB de Villiers. All three of them were amongst the six highest impact batsmen of the tournament. An equally important big three for Bangalore was the troika of Mitchell Starc, Yuzvendra Chahal and Harshal Patel. All three of them were amongst the ten highest impact bowlers of the tournament. Not only did all three of them have a positive Economy Impact they also had a very high Wickets Tally Impact. Even though Bangalore’s fortunes swung with the arrival of Starc, a major proportion of his wickets were of lower-order batsmen. It is somewhat becoming a trend with Starc in the limited overs version of the game. Starc, in fact, had the highest Lower Order Wickets Tally Impact in the tournament. Their issue of having a hollow middle-order in the past was also addressed to an extent by the likes of Mandeep Singh, Sarfaraz and David Wiese.

Highest Impact batsman: Virat Kohli
Highest Impact bowler: Mitchell Starc
Highest Impact player: Virat Kohli

Delhi- UNDERACHIEVED

We had them as the sixth-highest impact team and they finished seventh but they were never really in with a chance for qualifying after a point of time. With the bat, only Shreyas Iyer and JP Duminy were successful and were the only Delhi batsmen with a failure rate of less than 50% in the tournament. Nathan Coulter-Nile was their highest impact bowler with a failure rate of only 18% but was bizarrely dropped for the last few games. Yuvraj Singh failed to live up to his price tag and had a 50% failure rate with the bat. Another selection blunder they made was not to play Quinton de Kock regularly- their highest impact batsman and player in the squad. He eventually got three games (one was abandoned) in which he scored two half centuries.

Highest Impact batsman: Shreyas Iyer
Highest Impact bowler: Nathan Coulter-Nile
Highest Impact player: JP Duminy

Hyderabad- OVERACHIEVED

Even though they eventually finished sixth, they were only one win away but got knocked out in their last group game by the eventual champions, Mumbai. David Warner was easily their highest impact batsman and eventually got the Orange Cap but was not the highest impact batsman of the tournament. It wasn’t until the introduction of Moises Henriques (their highest impact player prior to the tournament) into the playing XI that Hyderabad turned into a genuine force. They won two of their first six games, but won the next five out of their six to put them in the driver’s seat for qualification only for them to fluff in their last two games. Interestingly, Moises Henriques emerged as Hyderabad’s second-highest impact batsman and their highest impact bowler and player. It was the failure of their Indian talent which cost them eventually. Dhawan had a failure rate of 50%, Naman Ojha didn’t even cross a Batting Impact of 1 whereas Hanuma Vihari had a failure rate of 80%.

Highest Impact batsman: David Warner
Highest Impact bowler: Moises Henriques
Highest Impact player: Moises Henriques

Rajasthan- GROSSLY OVERACHIEVED

They were the lowest impact team before the start of the tournament and overachieved considerably to reach the playoffs- the credit for which must go to the team management. They won their first five games and then spectacularly melted to win only one of their next eight games which left them needing to beat Kolkata in their last group game to qualify. They did that thanks to Shane Watson, who even though not at his best was still the highest impact player for Rajasthan. Ajinkya Rahane was the highest impact batsman for Rajasthan for his remarkable consistency (failure rate of 23%) and Runs Tally Impact in the tournament. Apart from Dhawal Kulkarni and Chris Morris, all the Rajasthan bowlers had a failure rate of more than 50%. Even with the bat, apart from Rahane and Watson all the batsmen had a failure rate of more than 50%. Their youth talent showed sparks but never had the experience of carrying through their form throughout the tournament. Hooda eventually had a batting failure rate of 56%, Samson, 64%, Karun Nair, 67% and Stuart Binny, 63%. James Faulkner endured a miserable tournament and even after being an all-rounder had a failure rate of 58%.

Highest Impact batsman: Ajinkya Rahane
Highest Impact bowler: Dhawal Kulkarni
Highest Impact player: Shane Watson

 

Soham Sarkhel/ Nikhil Narain
Caricature- Vasim Maner

THE PLAYERS WHO MADE AN IMPACT here.