Sunday, June 01, 2008

Top 5 players From Each Team - IPL Series

The IPL league games threw up many surprises. Very few expected Rajasthan Royals to be the best team (and now a finalist); nobody expected the Deccan Chargers to do so badly.We'll discuss each team's performance, and identify the five best and three most disappointing players. While doing so we shall italicize what appear to be key pointers.

Deccan Chargers Hyderabad (won 2, lost 12)
Top five Players
Rohit Sharma
Adam Gilchrist
Venugopal Rao
Shahid Afridi
RP Singh

Rohit Sharma confirmed that he's perhaps India's finest batting prospect. He scored a lot of runs; stylishly and apparently unhurriedly - that's why his strike rate of 148 seems a bit of a surprise. Adam Gilchrist batted brilliantly once and efficiently most other times, but he isn't used to losing so many matches - and eventually that began to show. He should probably give up wicket-keeping because he didn't seem to enjoy it. Venugopal Rao, who returned after Laxman's injury, completely remodeled his batting - and discovered the joy and virtue of hitting big sixes. These three Hyderabad batsmen were sending a message: everyone must learn to hit sixes. Curiously enough, someone who could belt the biggest sixes forgot how to do it at the IPL: Shahid Afridi however made up by bowling sufficiently well. R P Singh bowled with verve, and even briefly wore the purple cap, but he will realize that his economy rate of 8.6 is worrying. With a PVI of 3383, R P Singh is also overpriced.

Royal Challengers Bangalore (won 4, lost 10)

Top fivePlayers
Rahul Dravid
Praveen Kumar
Mark Boucher
Dale Steyn
Zaheer Khan

With an MVPI of 361, Rahul Dravid was still the best player. If one had to quibble, one would point to his low strike rate of 124. But Dravid usually came in at 20/2 or 30/3 and his first task was to ensure that his team lasted 20 overs! Bangalore's biggest problem was that they didn't have good opening batsmen. Praveen Kumar, a modest bowling all-rounder, who might have failed to find a place in the final eleven of a team like Punjab Kings XI, was second best. That seems to confirm what everyone has been saying: Bangalore's team selection was horribly wrong. Mark Boucher too would admit that he didn't do well, but he's still third best. Boucher's strike rate of 127 tells another story. Bangalore's batsmen never attacked the bowling. Dale Steyn kept it tight, but his bowling partner, Zaheer Khan, was expensive. Bangalore didn't have the bowlers to keep good batsmen quiet. Nathan Bracken , with his economical spells, could have made the difference.PVI and MVPI after the IPL league matches

Kolkata Knight Riders (won 6, lost 7, NR 1)

Top five Players
Sourav Ganguly
David Hussey
B McCullum
Umar Gul
Prasanta Saha

Sourav Ganguly was Kolkata's best player. On his day he batted with fiery aggression; and he bowled with an excellent economy rate of 6.4. But after Brendon McCullum and Ricky Ponting left, Kolkata's batting suddenly seemed shallow. David Hussey did what he could but Kolkata's unsettled batting order was always a worry. The Eden Gardens pitch was temperamental, the floodlights tended to misbehave and the team never got into a groove. When Kolkata won it was only because of an exceptional performance by individual players: McCullum, Shoaib Akhtar and Ganguly.Prasanta Saha proved to be a very tidy keeper who could also bat adventurously. Umar Gul averaged two wickets per match and hit big sixes; he is a fine prospect when he is fit and happy with his captain. With a PVI of 517, Gul proved to be a great buy; in fact, fast bowlers who can take a couple of top order wickets and consistently hit 20 runs in 10 balls are very valuable.

Mumbai Indians (won 7, lost 7)Top five Players

S Jayasuriya
Shaun Pollock
Dwayne Bravo
Robin Uthappa
Abhishek Nayar

Sanath Jayasuriya seemed strangely listless when the IPL started but soon, especially after his captain's appearance, it started raining sixes. There were 31 in all - and most of them in the right gaps and just a few feet over the rope. Jayasuriya was IPL's most valuable player (Shane Watson has overtaken him after the first semi-final) because he realized that 20-20 cricket is all about hitting sixes - even if they don't win you matches, they bring the crowds in. Shaun Pollock and Dwayne Bravo were two of IPL's top three bowling all-rounders (the third, Farveez Maharoof, carried his good form to the semi-finals). Bravo conceded more runs, but he also scored a few more. Robin Uthappa made it to the top five because he scored a lot of runs. But his low strike rate of 115 is a puzzle; Uthappa commanded a price of $800,000 because he was seen as a demolition man; he was supposed to take a bow after hitting 60 in 30 balls - not after taking a regulation catch at long-on. Abhishek Nayar struck you as an exemplary team man; his strike rate of 149 was because of his busy and inventive batting.

Delhi Daredevils (won 7, lost 6, NR 1)Top five Players

V Sehwag
Gautam Gambhir
Farveez Maharoof
Shikhar Dhawan
Glenn McGrath

Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir always fired together to give Delhi those electric starts. But their early disappearance usually meant big trouble (as Delhi discovered in last night's semi-final). Shikhar Dhawan was durable enough to support the openers, but he was incapable of forcing the pace himself as his strike rate of 118 suggests. Farveez Maharoof is just the sort of fast bowling all-rounder that we are recommending for T20 cricket; a fast and attacking bowler and a furiously aggressive batsman with a strike rate of 163. This sort of aggression is doubly valuable because it demoralizes the opponent. In fact it is interesting to compare Maharoof with his compatriot Dilhara Fernando: both have similar skills - Fernando would probably be a better bet in a test match - but as the game gets shorter, Maharoof's value rises sharply. Glenn McGrath was a marvel who proved that a bowler with exceptional variety and control can still ride a T20 game with just one skill; but if you lose that control your value drops very rapidly.

Chennai Super Kings (won 8, lost 6)Top five Players

Albie Morkel
MS Dhoni
Suresh Raina
Manpreet Gony
S Badrinath

Two of Chennai's best players, Matthew Hayden and Michael Hussey, don't figure in the top five because they played just four matches. Albie Morkel took enough wickets, and scored enough runs rapidly, to reach the top of the list. The captain, M S Dhoni, usually scored the runs when they were needed most, but his strike rate of 131 is a little surprising; Dhoni has the capability of having a 150+ strike rate. One could argue that Dhoni paced his innings appropriately, but there would have been serious questions asked if Chennai had been eliminated because of a poorer net run rate.Suresh Raina rediscovered his fluid batting form and used the IPL as a vehicle to return to the national team. He would become much more valuable in T20 if he worked on his bowling. Manpreet Gony didn't get to bat enough, but he too looks poised to become the sort of explosive bowling all-rounder that T20 cricket needs. The statistics suggest that Badrinath played a good supporting role, but he did more. He assumed the leading batsman's role to contain the collapses Chennai experienced in the aftermath of the Hayden-Hussey departures.

Kings XI Punjab (won 10, lost 4)

Top five Players

Shaun Marsh
Irfan Pathan
Yuvraj Singh
K Sangakkara
Piyush Chawla

Shaun Marsh seemed so composed and capable that one wonders why he isn't opening for Australia instead of Phil Jaques right now. Marsh was the top scorer in the IPL DLF with an excellent strike rate of 140. Any batsman who can sustain such a high strike rate on top of a batting average of about 60 is incredibly special. Irfan Pathan hasn't been required to bat too much, but giving him the new ball was a very smart move.Yuvraj Singh has exploded when required - and that hasn't been too often. Sangakkara has been equally explosive, albeit with greater subtlety, to earn a strike rate of 163. A good indicator of how well Punjab have played is that four of the top five have a MVPI over 400.Piyush Chawla makes the top five because he complemented his 17 wickets with some energetic batting. Very few spinners figure in our top five lists; and while it might be wrong to rush to conclusions, the numbers suggest that leg spinners have out-performed off-spinners in the IPL. Sreesanth topped Punjab's wicket tally with 19 wickets, but his MVPI is only 285 because he's hardly had the opportunity to bat - in fact he may have spent more time crying in the middle than batting.

Rajasthan Royals (won 11, lost 3)

Top five Players
Shane Watson
Yusuf Pathan
Sohail Tanvir
Graeme Smith
Shane Warne

After his performance in the first semi-final, Shane Watson is certain to become the most valuable player of the DLF IPL (his MVPI is now more than 800; our analysis is based on data after the league phase). Watson has had almost a perfect tournament - although he might have liked a slightly lower economy rate. Yusuf Pathan's clean and big hitting has been magical and Graeme Smith is playing the perfect opener's game: watchful in the first few overs, and brutal once he settles down.Sohail Tanvir has been the IPL's best bowler claiming the maximum wickets and giving away just a run per ball. His success suggests that in T20 cricket you should incessantly attack the stumps. Shoaib Akhtar does much the same thing when he's fit and in a mood to bowl.And what can one say about Shane Warne? He has been the most dominating influence at the DLF IPL. His overs are watched with rapt attention; indeed savoured, because the great maestro doesn't have too much time left on the cricket field. Watching him captain, one is often reminded of Imran Khan . Like Imran, Warne is the only master out there: he holds all the strings, and the others simply dance to his tune. The Rajasthan Royals team too has been chosen so that Warne fits snugly into this Imran-like role: the team is packed with young Indians and Pakistanis who are culturally inclined to be reverential to a great player, a few fellow Australians and a grateful rookie from Warne's own Hampshire. Graeme Smith is the odd man out, but he's doing his job and minding his own business.

Source :

No comments: