The 2023 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has broadened the horizons of T20 cricket. On Wednesday, Mumbai Indians became the first team in the tournament’s history to successfully overhaul a 200 plus target on consecutive occasions. It was the 26th 200-plus total of IPL 2023 – a tournament record – and the 10th time both teams had crossed the 200-run mark in the same match. It was also the fifth successful chase of a 200-plus total in IPL 2023 – another record for the league.
Teams have reimagined the time-worn adage of ‘well begun is half done’ and adapted it to the furious tempo of 20-over cricket. The run-rate in the PowerPlay is at an all-time high of 8.57, well clear of the previous peak of 8.39 of the 2018 edition. This is just the fourth time the run-rate has been in excess of eight in the PowerPlay since the 2008 season and the first since 2019.
As many as 152 sixes have been hit in the first six overs in IPL 2023, at a frequency of 3.30 per match, second to only the 2018 edition (3.75 sixes per match). With the added cushion of an extra batter, courtesy the Impact Player rule, in all probability, teams have been less risk-averse from the get-go. As a result, the average runs scored per wicket in 2023 (34.68) is the second lowest in the last five seasons played in the home and away format.
However, despite IPL 2023 being a pacesetter in terms of scoring rates across T20 tournaments, teams have found success in the PowerPlay to varying degrees. All numbers are up to date till the SRH vs KKR game on May 4.
The Sanju Samson-led side leads the charge when it comes to maximising the field restrictions with the highest run-rate (9.55) in the PowerPlay. What is commendable is that it has managed to keep the tempo up while losing just eight wickets (second least during this phase) in the first six overs. Yashasvi Jaiswal has been the key architect for the Royals during this phase, striking at 165.69, while his opening partner Jos Buttler has played second fiddle at a strike rate of 144.24. Jaiswal and Buttler have been the second most prolific opening pair in IPL 2023 and have cashed in on their hard-hitting abilities by consuming more than 77 per cent of deliveries between them in the PowerPlay.
Chennai Super Kings
The four-time champion can boast of a PowerPlay run-rate of 9.51 and a format-agnostic per wicket average of 85.66 thanks to the consistency of openers Devon Conway and Ruturaj Gaikwad. The duo has struck three fifty-plus and one century partnerships in nine innings to provide the perfect launchpad for the Super Kings. However, as opposed to Royals, who solely rely on their openers to fire in the PowerPlay, CSK has benefitted from Ajinkya Rahane’s newfound big-hitting prowess. Rahane has scored 100 runs in the first six overs at an astounding strike rate of 222.22. This has allowed Conway, who strikes at a mere 126.86 in the PowerPlay but has three scores of 70-plus in nine innings, to take his innings deep without fretting too much about the scoring rate.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
RCB is endowed with the most prolific opening duo in the tournament so far. Faf du Plessis and Virat Kohli have scored 83.27 per cent of RCB’s total runs in the PowerPlay, underlining the team’s top-heavy batting line-up, which has often been its bane. While Kohli has cruised at 142.02 in the PowerPlay, du Plessis has been in overdrive, scoring at almost 167. As a result, RCB has struck at 9.29 in the first six overs and is one among only three teams who boast of a run-rate above nine in the PowerPlay. Glenn Maxwell’s 60 runs at 187.50 in the PowerPlay in four innings has also played a role in RCB making the most of field restrictions.
Rohit Sharma’s travails with the bat belie the fact that Mumbai Indians enjoys the fourth best PowerPlay run-rate (8.85) in the tournament. Ishan Kishan – with 195 runs at a strike rate of 144.44 - has been the chief contributor for Mumbai in the PowerPlay while Rohit’s approach to take the bowlers on from the word go hasn’t reaped dividends. He has been dismissed seven times in nine innings in the first six overs, while averaging 19.71 and striking at 131.42. Against the backdrop of the Rohit-Kishan opening partnership blowing hot and cold, Cameron Green has stepped up in the No. 3 role. The Aussie all-rounder has averaged 52 in the PowerPlay, and his strike rate of 148.57 has ensured Mumbai doesn’t lag too far behind in maximising the field restrictions.
Like Mumbai Indians, Punjab has struck at an identical run-rate of 8.85 in the PowerPlay and has been plagued by a similarly inconsistent opening pair. Shikhar Dhawan and Prabhsimran Singh have cruised at a healthy run-rate of 9.50 as an opening pair, have two partnerships of over 50 but average 25.57. With a strike rate of 152.33, Prabhsimran has been the aggressor while Dhawan has been an accumulator at 135.80. In the absence of Dhawan, who missed three games due to injury, Atharva Taide and Matthew Short haven’t clicked in the opening slot but have lent able support at No. 3. Short has steadied the innings after the fall of an early wicket on three occasions while striking at 137.17 in the PowerPlay while Taide, who smashed a 36-ball 66 against Lucknow Super Giants, boasts of a strike rate of 171.42 in the limited opportunities he has got at one-drop.
- Jinson Johnson looks to exorcise ghosts of the past at Asian Games 2023
- Video: Postecoglou’s passionate plea on mental health in football
- Ten Hag oversees Man United’s worst start - looking back at the Red Devils’ past seasons after the Ferguson era
- Ferrari’s Sainz wins in Singapore to end Red Bull’s run
- Video: Bopanna caps off last Davis Cup match in style after doubles win