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IPL Powerplay Kings: Bowling

CricViz analyst Rufus Bullough analyses the most successful teams and individuals in the recent editions of the Indian Premier League.

The dotted lines in the scatter graph below represent the league averages in the Powerplay over the past three seasons, but this time we are looking at bowling. Unlike the batting graph featured in the previous article, teams want to be situated below the horizontal line and to the left of the vertical line. Teams situated in the bottom left section are taking wickets faster than the league average, and have better than average economy rates. Whereas teams in the top right are section are more expensive on average and take wickets at a slower rate.

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Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad have been the most economical teams in the past three seasons, but the most effective Powerplay bowling unit on balance has been Chennai Super Kings who combine an excellent average economy rate of 7.93, with the league’s best strike rate dismissing a batter on average every 21 deliveries.

Deepak Chahar has been incredibly influential in CSK’s success and is featured on the below graph, which features the 30 leading IPL wicket taking pace bowlers since 2017.

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No pace bowler has taken wickets more often than Chahar at a better economy rate. His 26 Powerplay wickets at an average of 26.03 is the most for any pace bowler since 2017, and has been influential in CSK’s Powerplay success. Special mentions must also go to AJ Tye, Mitchell McCleneghan and Umesh Yadav who have taken their Powerplay wickets at exceptionally low strike rates whilst also maintaining excellent economy rates.

Bowling spin in the Powerplay is considered more risky than pace and goes against convention of giving pace bowlers the hard new ball that offers swing and seam. As a result only 24% of overs in the Powerplay since 2017 have been bowled by spinners in the phase. This is a rise of 8% on the nine seasons prior to that but pace bowlers still dominate the phase.

Nobody has taken more Powerplay wickets bowling spin than Harbhajan Singh since 2017, and has been key again to CSK and MI’s Powerplay success over the past three seasons. His absence in the upcoming tournament could be a big blow for captain MS Dhoni.

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Arguably the biggest impact in Powerplay spin bowling in recent seasons has been made by the Afghanistan spin trio of Rashid Khan, Mohammed Nabi and Mujeeb-Ur-Rahman. As is seen on the above graph, this trio have been striking regularly in the Powerplay whilst also keeping runs down. Mohammad Nabi has done spectacularly well to take his seven Powerplay wickets at less than a run-a-ball. Rashid Khan possesses the best strike rate in this phase of any spinner over the last three seasons taking a wicket every 18 balls bowled, and has helped Sunrisers to achieve success when bowling in the Powerplay.

Rufus Bullough is an analyst at CricViz

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