The winds of change in IPL 2023

Jun 04, 2023 08:45 AM IST

With introduction of impact player rule, return to home and away format and continued tactical evolution of T20, IPL 2023 was really season unlike any other

Impact rule brings high scores galore

CSK players in action(PTI) PREMIUM
CSK players in action(PTI)

The number of 200+ scores doubled in IPL 2023 when compared to last season, rising from 18 to 37, an indicator of just how aggressive teams were with the bat. This was partly thanks to the introduction of the impact rule, which enabled teams to essentially add an extra batter to the lineup without compromising their bowling and allow their batters to be more fearless and value their wicket less.

Powerplay scoring when batting first undoubtedly saw the biggest shift in scoring compared to last season. In IPL 2022 teams batting first averaged 32 in the Powerplay, striking at 123. This rose drastically to a 42 average and 138 strike rate in IPL 2023, a consequence of both the impact rule and a move away from hosting the tournament in Mumbai, where conditions seemed to favour bowlers more when bowling first.

IPL finalists Chennai Super Kings and Gujarat Titans were the masters when it came to attacking the Powerplay batting first, with only Rajasthan Royals scoring quicker. These rapid fire starts allowed CSK and GT to put over 200 on the board five times when batting first, the joint most for any side this season.

Table 1
Table 1

Continued rise of the left hander

Left-handers faced 40% of deliveries in an IPL edition for the first time since the inaugural season in 2008. The continued rise of ‘matchups’ and use of lopsided boundaries saw teams give more importance to left-handers in their batting lineups in an attempt to maintain left-right handed partnerships, so much so that there was a 50-50 split between left-handers and right-handers among the top 20 run scorers in IPL 2023.

Seven of the ten teams in this season’s competition had a R-L combination at the crease for over 50% of the deliveries, making it increasingly difficult for captains to get through their spin quota knowing that there was a batter at the crease capable of ‘taking down’ the over for double digit runs.

Table 2
Table 2

More ‘big’ overs

IPL 2023 saw 383 overs in which 15 or more runs were conceded, an increase of 46 compared to IPL 2022’s total of 337 ‘big’ overs. It increased batting intent when batting first, teams having longer batting lineups and better tactical awareness from batting teams to ‘take down’ weaker bowlers can all be factors attributed to the increased number.

It was no surprise to see the four playoff sides leading the way when it came to net ‘big overs’, including Monday’s finalists in second and third in the table. The numbers were more worrying for DC and RCB in particular - the high scoring RCB home ground is prime for ‘big’ overs, an area where their bowlers struggled and batters were unable to make up. MI were perhaps the most interesting team when looking at this metric - scoring the most big overs and conceding the most big overs with their batters able to take them into the positive in a home environment similar to RCB.

Table 3
Table 3

Home (dis)advantage?

IPL returned to its loved home and away format but without the significant impact many had expected. Some sides were vocal in the criticism of pitches lacking a ‘home advantage’ and in fact favouring the visitors whereas others perhaps built sides during the 2022 auction without their home venue in mind. 42 of the 69 completed group games were won by the away side but there were still teams without a losing home record, the four playoff sides - their extra win at home (or NR in LSG’s case) could be seen as the difference between themselves and the chasing pack in the hunt for the playoffs.

RR were the biggest ‘losers’ when it came to home advantage - the table toppers at the halfway stage went on to lose 5 of their 7 home games including 4 of 5 in Jaipur. Adapting their side to Jaipur (or vice-versa) should help emerge acontenders next season.

Table 4
Table 4
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