Does batting or bowling win the IPL?

Does batting or bowling win the IPL? Tournaments are won by bowlers.’ How true is this, though? In the first 15 seasons of the Indian Premier League, franchises have built teams with a balance that varies depending on a variety of factors, including their home venue, captaincy style, and resource availability.

It is a good idea to go back over the data from the previous edition now that the 16th edition is coming up to see if the statement is just a subjective conclusion that has led to sweeping generalizations or if it actually holds water. In addition to revealing the most complete championship-winning team to date, the standout franchise for the first 15 years, and how to succeed at a batting-friendly venue like the Chinnaswamy, a thorough analysis of the numbers demonstrates whether one discipline is actually more important than the other.

Methodology

Every team in Twenty20 cricket has two resources at their disposal: wickets and balls. By scoring as many runs as possible from each ball that is bowled, the batting team tries to make the most of the first resource. Knowing that reducing the batting team’s wicket reserves is crucial, the bowling team strives to concede as few runs as possible for each ball bowled. Runs scored per ball and balls taken per dismissal are the two most important metrics in this case. In more common parlance, this is the batting team’s run rate and balls per dismissal, and the bowling team’s economy rate and strike rate.

So, the run rate and balls per dismissal (RR x BpD/100) are combined to get a batting impact score, and the economy rate and strike rate (ER x SR/100) are combined to get a bowling impact score. We compare a team’s batting and bowling impact scores to the tournament average to determine their total impact score for a season.

For instance, Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2022 scored 8.72 runs for each finished and lost a wicket each 20.88 balls, though the other nine groups in total scored at 8.52 and lost a wicket each 18.57 conveyances. The Royals’ net batting impact score was +0.24 because their batting impact score was 1.82 (8.72 x 20.88 divided by 100 = 1.82) was higher than the tournament average of 1.58.

Similarly, they took wickets every 19.19 balls and conceded 8.51 runs per over, compared to 8.54 and 18.76 for the other teams. This gives the Royals a bowling impact score of 1.63, while the other nine teams got 1.60. As a result, the Royals’ net bowling value is -0.03, and their total impact score for the IPL 2022 is +0.21 (+0.24 – 0.03).

Does batting or bowling win the IPL?

Let’s start by looking at the broader trend.

Over the course of the 15 IPL seasons, 126 teams have participated. Mumbai Indians’ participation in IPL 2008 and their participation in IPL 2009 are two examples. There have been 39 out of those 126 occasions when teams have won with batting and bowling impact scores in the green. These teams average a final ranking of 2.7, which puts them in the playoff bracket (the top four teams in the IPL qualify for the knockout stages). Teams have averaged a ranking of 5.1 when they have finished with positive batting impact scores and negative bowling impact scores in 27 games.

Then again, of the multiple times groups wrapped up with a negative batting influence score and positive bowling influence score, they had a peripheral improvement in normal positioning to 4.8. Based on the information that was looked at above, it is safe to say that going bowling heavy at the expense of batting will not work, and the sides that have performed best are those that have found the right balance, even if it is a little bit more bowling-oriented. The preceding adage was perhaps put to the most severe test in individual cases in 2018.

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In general, 2018 was the best batting year for T20 cricket, and the IPL was no exception, with scoring rates peaking at 8.65. CSK were the best batting group of the competition with a batting influence score of +0.59, well in front of the following put Delhi Capitals (+0.24), while SRH was one of the two groups that finished with a positive bowling influence score. During the season, SRH defended totals below 150 with success three times and frequently limited opponents to par or lower totals.

CSK won each of their four matches against SRH, including the championship match, which they won by eight wickets after outpacing SRH’s bowling to chase 179. That season, SRH went at 7.92 and took a wicket every 17.18 balls in 13 matches against teams other than CSK. However, they lost against CSK with the same parameters, 8.91 and 30.67 from four exchanges.

CSK won the Indian Premier League in 2018 with the highest batting impact score of +0.59, making them one of only two trophy[1]winning teams with a negative bowling impact score (MI in 2015 was the other team). For this situation, batting bested bowling.

SRH bowling vs CSK batting in 2018

The 2015 final was yet another instance in which this hypothesis was put to the test. The only time a team with a positive bowling impact score and a negative batting impact score met an opponent with scores the other way around was in this final. In batting and bowling, CSK, the league champions, achieved impact scores of -0.04 and +0.27, respectively.

MI, their final opponents, were the season’s best batting team, scoring a double-digit impact score of +0.35, while their bowling score was -0.11. In terms of impact scores, MI outscored CSK by 0.39 points in batting and by 0.38 points in bowling, making it the most batting-versus-bowling-heavy team in a summit matchup. MI made 202/5 batting first and got the better of CSK, limiting them to 161 to make it 3-1 in straight on conflicts in the season. As a result, once more, batting strength prevailed over bowling strength.

The bowling heavy sides that went all the way

Let’s take a look at some bowling teams that made it all the way if the preceding suggests that batting wins championships. CSK was within striking distance of winning the title in 2019. The IPL got back to Chennai for a full season without precedent for some time and the tracks on offer at Chepauk dialed back essentially as the match advanced, which implied turn was the thing to take care of.

CSK quickly realized this, and they were helped in their pursuit by winning six out of eight home tosses. Leaving luck aside, CSK bowled 15 more spin balls per innings than their opponents, which proved decisive. That year, Harbhajan Singh and Ravindra Jadeja played the supporting cast to perfection, and Imran Tahir won the Purple Cap with 26 scalps. The attack was completed by Dwayne Bravo and Deepak Chahar, who controlled both innings.

Covering up for one of CSK’s worst batsmen seasons, each of CSK’s top four wicket takers took 15 or more wickets at economy rates below 7.50 per over. Two bowling predominant sides that proceeded to lift the flatware are Rajasthan Royals in the debut IPL and Kolkata Knight Riders in 2012, both with a bowling influence score of +0.28. In 2008, Sohail Tanvir, Shane Warne, and Shane Watson took three of the four most wickets of the season for the Royals. Their success at their bowling-friendly home in Jaipur, where they never lost a game, was based on a strong bowling attack.

In 2012, the situation was similar for KKR, with Sunil Narine taking 24 wickets at an economy rate of 5.48 and being supported by bowlers who made full use of the Eden Gardens track. In 2012, KKR had a bowling impact score of +0.25 and a batting impact score of +0.03, both significantly higher than any other championship-winning team. Another team that won the championship in 2016 was SRH, and their balance was more skewed toward their bowling unit.

They stay an inconsistency as the main heroes who had a negative batting influence score (- 0.06), regardless of a breaking season from their captain David Warner who hit 848 runs. Bhuvneshwar was the Purple Cap victor with 23 wickets and shaped a considerable matching with Mustafizur Rahman, who got done with 17 wickets and played huge hand for them all through the season.

The most complete championship-winning side

If you’ve been following the Indian Premier League closely, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to learn which team has won the most silverware. Mumbai Indians dominated the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League like no other team.

They only lost five games this season, two of which were due to Super Over and one in which they rested the majority of their first-choice players, demonstrating their dominance. With the exception of SRH in 2017 (more on them later), MI was the only team in 2020 to finish with a batting impact score greater than +0.50 and a bowling impact score greater than +0.25.

They had a strong batting order, with three of their top four batters (Quinton de Kock, Ishan Kishan, and Suryakumar Yadav) scoring more than 480 runs at a strike rate of 140 or higher. Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya, on the other hand, added 175 or more runs to the innings. MI managed to score at a rate of 9.09 runs per over and lost a wicket every 24.41 balls. RCB was the only other team to manage both at a rate of more than 22 balls per dismissal in 2016.

The GOAT

Jasprit Bumrah (27 wickets, SR 13.33) and Trent Boult (25 wickets, SR 13.76) controlled either half of the innings despite the obvious flaws in the bowling attack, such as the absence of a genuine second overseas seamer and Hardik’s inability to bowl. This ensured that their bowling stood out from the rest. The best a team could manage in a season was MI’s average advantage of +1.15 runs per over over the opposition (run rate of 9.09, economy rate of 7.94).

Chennai Super Lords, with a typical effect score of +0.41 across the 13 releases in which they contended, is the champion IPL side in the initial 15 years of the opposition’s excursion. CSK had a positive impact score in 12 of their 13 seasons, missing out on the IPL in 2022, which also happened to be the only time that both their batting and bowling impact scores were negative. SRH is a territory among teams that have played in at least three editions. Among the sides which have highlighted in no less than three releases, SRH is a far off second with a typical effect score of +0.14, while MI is the main opposite side to enroll a net typical effect score an in certain area (+0.09).

CSK occupy as many as five of the top ten entries on total impact score across the 15 editions, three of which resulted in title victories (2011, 2018 and 2021). In each of the three title-winning seasons, they dealt with a +0.50 batting influence score while their bowling influence score in these seasons was beneath +0.10, highlighting how batting-predominant CSK have been in their fruitful years. CSK teams are known for having deep batting lineups and frequently rely on the strategic acumen of skipper MS Dhoni to ensure that the bowling unit produces more runs than the sum of its parts.

Cracking the Chinnaswamy code

They achieved their lowest batting impact score (+0.25) and highest bowling impact score (+0.11) of their four title-winning seasons during their first title run in 2010, the only exception to this trend. They were on the verge of an early exit with just two wins from seven matches in the middle of the tournament, but they rallied well in the second half to win five games, four of which were at their bastion at Chepauk, to stage a comeback that resulted in the IPL and CLT20 trophies.

A shared factor for each T20 tradition is the strength at their home ground and a group worked around the qualities of it – for instance the quick fun wickets at Perth for the Scorchers, or the Chepauk turner for Chennai Super Lords. The Chinnaswamy Arena commonly presents a level wicket joined with short limits, refuting the host group’s capacity to collect a crew customized to the scene and leaving them minimal home benefit.

However, when RCB realized that it was pointless to plan to defend runs and that going in search of wickets was a far superior strategy, they appeared to have cracked the code. This was accomplished flawlessly by the RCB’s bowling attack in 2015. Yuzvendra Chahal, Mitchell Starc, Harshal Patel, and David Wiese, all of whom took more than 15 wickets, combined to take 76 wickets at a rate of one every 13.9 balls. The standard was set with RCB’s 15.10 strike rate in that season, which was the highest of any team’s career.

They used the same tactic the following year, with personnel changes around Chahal. Chahal helped Shane Watson (20 wickets, SR 16.95), Chris Jordan (11 wickets, SR 15.27), and Sreenath Aravind (11 wickets, SR 15.91) open the door to national team selection with a 21-wicket season (SR 14.05). They failed to capitalize on the crucial moments in the final, falling at the last hurdle for the third time, as will be discussed below.

The outliers

In 2017, the Chinnaswamy wicket was re-laid, but RCB moved away from this strategy in subsequent seasons, failing to make the Playoffs for three seasons in a row from 2017 to 2019. They haven’t played there since Covid, when they leaned heavily on a strong bowling lineup rather than a heavily batting-heavy lineup like they did in the past. RCB did succeed with their new strategy, reaching the Playoffs three times in a row starting in 2020. How RCB’s fortunes will work out as they return to their home at Chinnaswamy will be one of the narratives to keep an eye out for in the 2023 IPL.

Only one team has achieved a total impact score of more than one point out of the 126 teams that have participated in the IPL thus far. Many people were surprised to learn that the team in question was SunRisers Hyderabad in 2017, who won eight of the 13 games they played and finished third in the league phase. SRH lost a wicket every 26.32 balls, which is only slightly better than Chennai Super Kings’ 26.63 balls lost per season in 2014.

Bowling strike rate wise, their 16.36 conveyances per wicket was just bettered on two different occasions, providing them with a positive distinction of very nearly ten balls for each wicket lost and each wicket taken – the most noteworthy any group has at any point accomplished in a season. In 2017, SRH had five batters who scored more than 200 runs. Four of them averaged more than 28 balls per outing, and four of them scored those runs at a strike rate of 135 or higher.

Shikhar Dhawan (479 runs, SR 127, BpD 29), Moises Henriques (277 runs, SR 136, BpD 34), Kane Williamson (256 runs, SR 151, BpD 28), and Yuvraj Singh (252 runs, SR 142, BpD 20) followed by David Warner, who scored 641 runs (SR 142, BpD 41). In a period when SRH were renowned for their bowling-heavy strategy under Tom Moody, SunRisers’ run rate of 8.64 was the highest they had ever achieved in an IPL season. This further demonstrates how good of a season they had batting-wise.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar topped the bowling charts for the second year in a row, winning the Purple Cap with a striking rate of 12 balls for every wicket. A teenaged Rashid Khan took goliath steps in his presentation IPL season with 17 scalps at an economy of 6.63, trailed by Siddarth Kaul and Mohammed Siraj, who sacked 16 and 10 scalps at strike paces of 13.4 and 13.8 separately.

Teams with best impact scores

Despite their dominance with both bat and ball, SRH were unable to advance in the tournament, losing in the Eliminator to KKR at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. Before the season, Chinnaswamy’s tracks were re-laid, causing it to play differently and making batting difficult. Rain reduced the game to a five-over shootout, leaving SRH with little chance of a comeback, further compounding their misery.

RCB’s net impact score of +0.96 in the IPL in 2016 was the only other team that came close to matching SunRisers’ feat. They gathered what could apparently be the best batting arrangement the IPL has at any point seen – Virat Kohli, Stomach muscle de Villiers, Chris Gayle, Shane Watson, and KL Rahul making up their main five. In 2016—his breakout year—Kohli scored 973 runs in a single season, a record that still stands today. He was ably supported by AB de Villiers (687 runs, average 52.85, SR 169) and KL Rahul. RCB’s score of 9.63 in 2016 is the highest of any team’s IPL season thus far. They also lost only 26.17 balls, giving them a batting impact score of 0.92, which is the highest of any team’s season score.

The unlucky ones

Watson had his best season with the bat, taking 20 wickets, but Gayle and Watson did not have particularly successful tournaments with the bat. RCB, like SRH in 2017, was unfortunate not to win a title in 2016 because they failed to capitalize on the crucial occurrences on the night. Their inform middle order collapsed under pressure in the back half of the run chase from a winning position, falling eight runs short.

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