Trends: The IP regulation has transformed the Indian Premier League

With over one-third of the season completed, let’s examine some of the trends and patterns that have been seen in IPL 2024.

SOAR SCORING RATES

There are not many things that have changed IPL batting as much as the Impact Player rule that was implemented before the most recent season. The game is now essentially a 12 vs. 12 match, giving teams broader batting lineups than ever before, and most teams have seized the opportunity to add more depth to their lineups. Despite being enacted last year, the Impact Player addition is dominating most teams’ plans this season and has more influence over the game. The average first-inning total, which was five runs higher at this stage in 25 games last year, is presently at 189 after scaling new heights this time around. It was a whopping 189 last year. All three phases have seen a consistent increase in scoring rates: 9.03 in the Powerplay, 8.63 in the middle overs (7–15), and 11.22 at the end (16–20), which are all season highs after the first 25 games.

“The beauty of the Impact Player is you feel like you’ve got really deep batting. Always tried to be really positive to take the game on. You got to be aggressive. With 150 or 160, you are probably going to lose nine out of ten games anyway,” remarked SRH captain Pat Cummins following a close two-run victory over PBKS. This indicates the crucial change in strategy.

At different stages throughout the game, SRH was 64/4 and 100/5, but the batsmen persisted after the bowling and ultimately concluded on 182, which was plenty on a night when Mullanpur was drenched in dew.

This season has seen two of the greatest totals in the tournament’s history: KKR’s 272 against DC and SRH’s 277 against MI. Unlike the previous record of 263 by RCB, which was based on Chris Gayle’s 175*, neither team’s total had a player who reached three figures. These two totals are now the greatest in T20 cricket history without an individual century, although MI set another T20 record of 234 against DC without a single player reaching the 50-mark.

Everything said above suggests that the IPL is undergoing a paradigm change in the era of “daddy scores,” as DC coach Ricky Ponting puts it so succinctly: “think a lot of that fear is going away because the batsmen know that if they get out, there’s another batsman after them.” We saw CSK and MI adopt this strategy last year, if Punjab Kings were the pioneers of this strategy at the outset of this IPL cycle in 2022, prior to the Impact Player regulation. Additionally, this season has seen clubs like SRH and KKR go on board to broaden their hitting horizons and reach previously unreachable heights.

This season’s average highest individual score in these games is 67, which is the lowest of all IPL seasons in totals of 190+ after the first 25 matches. After 70 last year, there have been 17 totals exceeding 190 so far. With none of their batters ranking in the top 10, KKR and MI lead the run rate lists. KKR’s highest run scorer, Sunil Narine, is ranked 12th, and the team does not have another batter in the top 30, while MI’s top scorer, Ishan Kishan, is ranked 13th.

Average of the highest scores in more than 190 totals (after 25 matches)

SeasonAvg 1st inngsAvg top score (190+ totals)
202418967
202318470
202217571
201717383
201817378

MANY MAXIMUMS AVAILABLE

With 25 games remaining in the season, the record for most sixes hit in an IPL edition is the one most likely to be surpassed. In just 25 matches this season, the total stands at a startling 436, with roughly 18 maximums every game. The 1000-mark was crossed in each of the previous two editions. The average number of balls that a six is struck every 13.4 is down from 1.2 balls at the same period in the previous year, meaning that an extra 1.5 sixes are hit every game. The border percentages have increased at the cost of fours, although they are still relatively equal at 19.5% in 2023 and 19.9% in 2024. The fours to sixes ratio improved from 1.84 in 2022 and 1.85 in 2023 after the first 25 matches to 1.67 at the end of 25 games, the lowest in an IPL season.

Because batters are more likely to take chances and prefer to hit the ball high in the air with advanced hitting techniques and increased physical strength, 77.3% of dismissals were caught, marking the first time in a season that more than 70% of batters were out caught at the same point.

stats after 25 games for Sixes

SeasonSixesBalls/6Sixes/Mat4s:6s ratio
202443613.417.41.67
202340014.6161.85
202238315.215.31.84
201835316.214.11.95
202034517.113.81.94

Teams struggle while travelling.

In 2020 and 2022, the IPL played three seasons in neutral locations before switching back to the classic home-away schedule last year. The roster for the cycle was most likely decided with neutral sites in sight before to the 2022 mega auction, therefore some clubs were more fortunate than others when the Impact Player rule was added at the last minute. In contrast to current season, where home teams have won 18 of the first 25 games, visiting teams fared better in the IPL 2023 with 14 victories and 11 losses after the first 25 games. Three of the seven away wins will fall under the close wins category, compared to just one in eighteen home team victories, further illustrating how difficult it has been for travelling teams to win. Close wins are defined as matches won by five or fewer runs or by three or fewer wickets in the final over of the chase.

The fact that, out of the 12 times home teams won the toss, ten of those times resulted in victory (win% of 83.3), while only three of the 13 times travelling teams were lucky enough to win the toss (win% of 23.1), suggests that home teams have had a far better understanding of the conditions available. The teams in the top half of the standings have a perfect record at home, while the bottom five teams have all lost games there, with the exception of RR’s shocking turnaround against GT in a match they dominated for the majority of the match.

IPL 2024 teams, both in home and away

TeamPointsW-L (Home)W-L (Away)
RR83-11-0
KKR61-02-1
LSG62-01-1
CSK63-00-2
SRH62-01-2
GT62-11-2
MI42-10-2
PK41-11-2
RCB21-20-3
DC21-10-3

YET TO ARRIVE AT THE PARTY: SPINNERS

The complete absence of impact of slow bowlers on the results of the games this time around is remarkable, even though spinners usually come into their own in IPL seasons more in the second half as the pitches get worn out in the latter part of the summer. With ten wickets this season, Yuzvendra Chahal is tied for the most among all bowlers, but Rashid Khan, who is ranked 12th with six wickets, is the only other spinner who can compete with him. Chahal frequently had the advantage of coming into the bowl with new ball bowlers causing damage at the top or having runs in the bank, or sometimes both.

After 25 games, the number of wickets taken by spinners is just 25.5%, the lowest since the season’s start in 2008. The only season with lower figures was 2008, which is still considered an anomaly for spinners because of how little they were used during that season and the fact that the format was still in its infancy and spinners were deemed unsuited to meet its demands.

Compared to this time last year, when they bowled 40% of the balls, spinners have bowled just 32.7% of the balls this summer. The previous time they bowled less after 25 games was in 2013 (28.8%). The hitters’ pursuit of more maximums may have had a negative impact on captains’ decisions to use more often-bowling spinners with greater degree of unpredictability, particularly in the death overs (16–20). Only 15.3% of overs in this phase have used spin, compared to 21.7% in the previous phase and 23.7% in the previous one at the same point. Compared to seamers, spinners have been hit for one ball less on average as of this writing.

Spin following 25 games: 2023 vs. 2024 in the IPL

SeasonWktsAvgSROvers (%)Wkts (%)
202312425.6518.940.140.3
20247336.9326.232.725.4

Sub-Impact Innovations

Teams had limited leeway to experiment with the Impact Player rule because it was implemented just days before the 2023 edition, after the lineups had already been decided and established. RR was one of the teams that creatively employed the idea, starting with six batters and five bowlers and bringing in another batter should they collapse, as they did here, or bringing in another bowler to give extra cushion in the bowling department, out of necessity because they lacked a true all-rounder in their lineup.

This season, they have taken a more calculated approach to their fourth overseas player. Rather than starting with just three players on the pitch, they have brought in Rovman Powell or Nandre Burger as needed. They have also frequently moved R Ashwin up the order as a pinch hitter to extend their batting lineup.

Even if the outcomes have not been what they had hoped for, RCB has also shown expertise in using Impact Player, starting with the same lineup whether they are batting first or fielding, depending on the versatility of Glenn Maxwell and Cameron Green. When Mahipal Lomror entered the game at number eight and hit an eight-ball 17 in a close run chase against PBKS, it paid off handsomely for them in their sole victory of the season thus far.

Up to the match #25 between MI and RCB at the Wankhede on April 11, all statistics are accurate.

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