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    April 10, 2010

    Choking at the IPL

    Everytime I see a team screw up a chase at the IPL, I wonder what is it that causes batsmen to choke in a T20 chase.

    To a large extent, it is because of the huge pressure on batsmen to succeed. Like several worthy commentators have pointed out, the bowler is really under no real pressure. More often than not, he expects to be tonked around and is reconciled to conceding 8-9 runs an over with the hope of picking up at least 1 top order wicket.

    However, a top order batsman is expected to smack it around at a strike rate of at least 150. Every dot ball increases the pressure. A batting effort of 30 in 20 balls with 5x4 and 1x6 looks excellent. Except that the batsman actually scored only 4 runs off the 14 balls that he didn't hit a boundary. This potentially means he had at least 10 dot balls, i.e. he wasted 70% of the balls he faced.

    Let's define the set of circumstances that describe how a team chokes while chasing.In the 2008 IPL tournament, there were 11 such games. In 2009, the number was 13. So far, in 2010, there have been 7 instances of a chasing team 'choking'. It seems quite likely, given there are another 19 games to go, that we'll end up with a similar number of chokes this year as well. Maybe there's a better way to force batsman into taking more responsibility to finish off games - like we wrote over 5 years ago about Twenty20
    I think one option would be to have Twenty-20 games with 11 players but only six are allowed to bat, not all eleven.
    The main problem that the IPL will face is the number of mismatches. This year alone, there have been at least 20 games where the result was known before the last over of the game started. Somehow, winning margins of 20+ runs, 7 wkts etc. don't seem right for this truncated format. If we extrapolate a winning margin of 20+ runs (say chasing 180) into the 50 over game, it amounts to something like scoring 280 when the target was 320 - a sound thrashing. The debate over which team will lose the most number of games is over. Mohali has lost 8, and have 3 more to play. This means they could end up with 11 losses (from 14 games). Hyderabad is the only other team that could get to 10 (won 4, lost 6 with 4 games to go).

    Whoever voted for the Mohali franchise wins themselves a gift voucher for a 2 week fitness programme to be conducted by Yuvraj Singh, Yusuf Abdulla and Ramesh Powar. Sreesanth will be a special guest and he will conduct aerobics sessions for 2 days. VLCC is one of the team sponsors.

    In other news, I find it baffling that the various commentators, ex-cricketers, administrators, etc. who protested against the absence of any bids for Pakistani players during the last IPL auction have missed out one very obvious fact - Sri Lankan cricketers are being sidelined at IPL 2010.

    The Sri Lankan players in this tournament are Murali, Thushara, Perera, Vaas, Maharoof, Dilshan, Jayawardene, Sangakkara, Mathews, Mendis, Jayasuriya and Malinga. All teams have played 10 games by now. Only Murali, Maharoof, Sangakkara, Jayawardene, Mathews and Malinga have played 6 or more games. Chaps like Dilshan, Vaas, Mendis and Jayasuriya have been sidelined with no-one protesting!

    To paraphrase Lord Tennyson, is it better to have been picked and left out than not to have been picked at all?

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    Thus spake Jagadish @ 12:48 am |
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    1 sledge(s):

    You certainly have some very interesting thoughts on the IPL format -- and especially the one about allowing only 6 players to bat instead of all 11. But half the fun of seeing players who are not really qualified as batsmen take their teams out of the hole they often are in. tail ends provide great entertainment! Meanwhile, would love to read your take on the other aspects of the game. How does noise volumes affect performance? How do distractions like large screens affect performance? How do clothes and shoes -- some very interesting shoes called the air zoom yorker and the air zoom opener have been launched this IPL and we can see it at -- impact performance? Can the quality of coaches be improved? Or the time between matches be made better so that we have fewer injuries? You have a wonderful point of view and would love to read more about the IPL circus.

    By Blogger All That (10-Apr-2010, 12:47:00 pm)  

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