A look at how the overseas contingent fared in the 2020 IPL season, using ESPNcricinfo’s Smart Stats.
England take the honours
England’s players made a huge impact for their respective sides in IPL 2020, scoring high on several Smart Stats parameters. Among countries who had five or more players in the tournament, England’s players had the highest average impact per player per match – an impact rating of 37.1. Their batting impact rating of 38 was also the highest for any country, while their bowling impact rating of 17.86 was the second highest, among countries with at least five representatives.
Jofra Archer, who was IPL 2020’s Most Valuable Player, had a Smart Economy of 4.24, the second best overall and the best among pace bowlers. He took 20 wickets in the tournament, which were worth 26.8 Smart Wickets. Archer carried the Rajasthan Royals bowling almost single-handedly, but his England and Royals team-mates Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes made some important contributions with the bat. Buttler had a Smart Strike Rate of 150.88, whereas his conventional strike rate was 144.49. The only England player with a better Smart Strike than Buttler was Eoin Morgan, who had a Smart Strike Rate of 152.45, the tenth best among all batsmen in IPL 2020, given a minimum of 100 balls faced.
Sam Curran was the standout performer in the out-of-sorts Chennai Super Kings team this season. He excelled with both bat and ball, a fact brought out clearly through Smart Stats. His 13 wickets were worth 16.6 Smart Wickets, while his Smart Strike Rate of 139.2 was the second best for the Super Kings, given a minimum of 20 balls faced. Among the England players who didn’t hit top gear but had a couple of good outings nonetheless were Jonny Bairstow and Chris Jordan, while the likes of Moeen Ali, Tom Banton and Tom Curran warmed the benches for a majority of the tournament.
Ain’t no party like a West Indies batting party
Nobody does T20 batting better than the West Indies players, and even the numbers say so. The West Indies players in IPL 2020 had an average Smart Strike Rate of 166.44 this season, miles ahead of other nationalities. Given at least five representatives, the second best Smart Strike Rate from a country was South Africa’s 150. Kieron Pollard’s eye-popping conventional strike rate of 191.42 translated to a Smart Strike Rate of 224.06, the best in the season – without qualification. Archer is next with 203.7, but he faced only 63 balls this season. Nicholas Pooran is the only other batsman with a Smart Strike Rate of over 200, clocking in at 200.73, whereas his conventional strike rate was 169.71. Most of the West Indies brigade scored high on Smart Strike Rates. Shimron Hetmyer and Sunil Narine both finished at over 140, while Andre Russell, who didn’t have as much impact as expected, still had a Smart Strike Rate of 155, with his cameos coming in crucial phases, even if they didn’t last too long.
Chris Gayle made a belated, but spectacular, entry into the second half of the tournament. His inclusion sparked a turnaround for Kings XI Punjab, who won five straight games once he was included in the XI, before losing the last two. Gayle’s only real failure came in the last league match against the Super Kings, when he laboured to 12 off 19. That caused his Smart Stats numbers to dip a little, and his eventual Smart Runs (287) and Smart Strike Rate (132.22) were slightly below his conventional numbers (288 runs at 137.14).
Boult keeps the New Zealand flag flying high
New Zealand’s bowlers had the most impact (minimum five players from one team) on their respective sides this season, with a bowling impact rating of 24. Trent Boult ruled the powerplay this season with 16 wickets in the phase, and was significant in Mumbai Indians’ triumph. Expectedly, he was one of the major contributors to the high rating. His 25 wickets this season were worth close to 31 Smart Wickets, since he consistently dismissed top-order batsmen early. New Zealand’s five bowers took a total of 35 wickets in the tournament, which were worth 42.51 Smart Wickets. Lockie Ferguson instantly impressed after being brought into the Kolkata Knight Riders’ starting XI in their ninth game, and he also contributed to the impact New Zealand’s bowlers had, with his Smart Economy of 7.16.
The New Zealand batsmen didn’t fare as well though, with their average batting impact rating of 20 being the lowest among countries who had at least five representatives. Kane Williamson was consistently good, though, as both his Smart Runs (331.7) and Smart Strike Rate (140) show, both higher than his conventional runs and strike rate (317 and 133.76).
Udana, the lone representative from Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka had just one representative in the tournament in Isuru Udana, who was signed at his base price by the Royal Challengers. He featured regularly for them this season, and made useful contributions with the ball. The eight wickets he took were worth 9.16 Smart Wickets, but his Smart Economy of 10.67 was much higher than his conventional figure of 9.72.
Rashid Khan, the unstoppable force
Without considering any cut-offs in terms of number of players from a country, Afghanistan led the charts thanks to the superlative performances of Rashid Khan. Although Mohammad Nabi and Mujeeb Ur Rahman also featured in IPL 2020, they played just three matches combined and went wicketless in them. Afghanistan’s high rating is all down to Rashid, with a bowling impact average of 42.85, and a player impact average of 45.00. Rashid picked up 20 wickets, worth 22.54 Smart Wickets. His conventional economy rate of 5.38 was stunning enough, but his Smart Economy figure of 3.81 was astonishing. Not surprisingly, he had the best Smart Economy in the tournament.
South Africa bowlers make merry…but impact?
Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje finished with a combined 52 wickets, Quinton de Kock piled on more than 500 runs, Faf du Plessis was the Super Kings’ highest run-scorer, Chris Morris gave the Royal Challengers’ bowling a much-needed lift and AB de Villiers was, well, AB de Villiers. However, the Smart numbers say that not all these performances were equally weighty. South Africa’s bowlers took 74 wickets in the season, but that translated to only 70.91 Smart Wickets, which meant they were the only country whose Smart Wickets tally was fewer than the conventional one.
Rabada was the highest wicket-taker of the season, but according to the Smart Stats algorithm – which quantifies the pressure, the opposition batsman/bowler and the situation the player finds himself in at every ball of the innings – his tally of Smart Wickets (26.54) is lower than the actual wickets he took (30). That is because Rabada got a lot of wickets towards the back end of the innings, where they usually count for a lot less than at the start. Similarly, Morris’ Smart Wickets and Nortje’s Smart Economy also see a dip against their conventional numbers.
The batting held up, thanks to de Villiers and de Kock’s spectacular returns. South Africa had the third-best average batting impact, behind England and West Indies, clocking in at 31.8. They also had the second-best Smart Strike Rate at 150. The value of de Villiers’ knocks is evident when his already elite conventional strike rate of 158.74 translated to a stunning Smart Strike Rate of 174.82. He scored 454 runs in the tournament, which swelled to 500 Smart Runs. de Kock also had better Smart numbers than conventional ones. He had 523.51 Smart Runs (503 runs) and a Smart Strike Rate of 146.23 (strike rate 140.5).
A dull season for the Australians
Australia had the largest overseas contingent this season with 17 players, but their impact was spread thin. The Australians’ batting impact was a middling 25.79 and their bowling impact of 9.43 was the lowest among all teams. The batting impact suffered due to several big names not having great returns in this season. David Warner started tepidly and then found his groove, but the likes of Glenn Maxwell, Aaron Finch and Josh Philippe had a tournament to forget, while Steven Smith and Shane Watson had only the odd good performance.
Australia’s bowlers also proved expensive, with 12 bowlers tallying a combined Smart Economy of 8.75, the most expensive for teams with at least five representatives. Pat Cummins went wicketless in eight of 14 matches for the Knight Riders, while the likes of Josh Hazlewood and Adam Zampa did well but didn’t get too many opportunities due to team combinations. Chris Lynn and Billy Stanlake didn’t get a single game, although the Mumbai Indians’ fast-bowling duo of Nathan Coulter-Nile and James Pattinson had decent outings.
The player that stood out was Marcus Stoinis. The allrounder made 352 runs in 17 matches at a Smart Strike Rate of 159.71 (conventional strike rate 148.52), the highest among all Australians. He also picked up 13 wickets in as many matches but was on the expensive side, with an economy rate of 9.54, which translated into 10.42 in Smart Economy terms.
With stats inputs from Shiva Jayaraman