On 48 occasions, teams didn’t opt for an Impact Player. This largely occured in lopsided games, where a side didn’t see the need to bring in a new player as it was winning the game easily. There were eight games where either of the teams didn’t introduce an Impact Player.
While exercising the Impact Player rule, the tendency was to replace a batter with a batter, with that switch happening 73 times. There was a preference for swapping a top-order player with a lower-order one.
Among the 73 such changes, 42 lower-order batters were introduced while the number for a direct top-order swap was 31, with the latter usually scenario being necessitated by an early fall of a wicket.
When it came to a direct bowler-to-bowler swap, which happened 41 times, teams predominantly preferred to do it early in the game, with the numbers splitting 39-2 between the first and second innings.
Similarly, for direct batter-to-batter swaps, teams tended to cash in on the Impact Player rule earlier rather than later. Teams subbing in a batter for a batter did it 58 times in the first innings and only 15 times while chasing.
This probably indicates a cautious approach by teams, who prefered to use the rule in order to take a preliminary advantage. But with teams being allowed to use the Impact Player at any point in the inning in the IPL, this pattern might break.
When it comes to switches between batters and bowlers, there was a clear preference for subbing out a top-order batter. In the 58 such changes, 48 times, it was a top-order batter who gave way for a bowler as an Impact Player. This is a clear indication of utilising two single-dimensional players (someone who can only contribute either with the bat or ball) to create a combined effect of an all-rounder.
The second quarterfinal match between Vidarbha and Delhi is the best example of how to use the Impact Player wisely.
Vidarbha batted first and was on track to finishing with 140 on the board. Shubham Dubey, who came in at number six in the 17th over, led his team to 157 with a 13-ball 29-run cameo, with 18 coming off the final four balls.
Vidarbha then subbed him for Harsh Dubey, who bowled crucial overs, allowing only nine runs in his two overs, resulting in Delhi losing by the slimmest of margins.
Here are some other significant successful usages of the Impact Player rule in SMAT 2022:
Karnataka vs Jammu & Kashmir
Shreyas Gopal in action for Karnataka during the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
| Photo Credit:
BISWARANJAN ROUT/The Hindu
Shreyas Gopal replaced Abhinav Manohar (dismissed for two off six balls) and scored 48 off 38 with the bat while recording bowling figures of 2-0-1-9. Karnataka won by 34 runs.
Maharashtra vs Jammu & Kashmir
Maharashtra lost both openers Manoj Ingale (retired hurt) and Yash Nahar cheaply while chasing a stiff target of 176. Pawan Shah, who came in as an impact replacement for Ingale, scored a half-century to help his team win by three wickets with three balls remaining.
Madhya Pradesh vs Railways
Batting first, Madhya Pradesh posted 190 runs, led by Rajat Patidar’s flashy 43-ball 92. The coach, Chandrakant Pandit, then replaced him with left-arm wrist-spinner Kumar Kartikeya, who picked up two wickets in three overs as MP eventually won by 14 runs.