Jaipur high on Batting Momentum
With the first week of the Indian T20 League already gone by, we take a look at the hits and misses so far.
The fifth edition of the Indian T20 League didn’t quite start with the same oomph as the first four seasons. Yes, there was fanfare and extravagant performances at the opening function, but from a match-quality perspective the first eight games were fairly average. That changed after Rohit Sharma’s blitzkrieg in Visakhapatnam and was soon followed by the best match of the tournament – Chennai stealing one from Bangalore after Albie Morkel hammered Virat Kohli’s dibbly-dobblers all over the park at the Chidambaram Stadium.
We are now about a fifth of the way through the tournament and the good news is that the contest looks wide open. The pre-season stronger sides - Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore have been patchy while a couple of the ‘no-hopers’ in Jaipur and Pune have started strong. Mohali and Hyderabad are the only two sides that seem to be missing the pieces to compete for the title.
Here’s a quick look at how each of the teams have fared in the batting department.
The table below tells you that Jaipur and Bangalore have had the best starts with their openers firing so far in the tournament (the Runs and Strike Rate are based on the total runs scored by openers in the tournament. The Runs Per Innings is the combined runs averaged by the openers).
No surprise seeing Bangalore up top after Chris Gayle’s heroics last year. Jaipur have been a surprise with Ajinkya Rahane looking in good nick. Rahul Dravid has also been solid with a few 20s, but be needs to start converting his starts into bigger scores.
The teams that are not starting as well are Kolkata, Mumbai, Mohali and Pune. With the first two, there seem to be solutions in place with Gautam Gambhir replacing the out-of-form Brendon McCullum at the top for Kolkata while Mumbai will get Sachin Tendulkar back soon. Mohali will need Adam Gilchrist to start firing, while Pune might need someone else at the top of the order - they should consider playing Tamim Iqbal.
Middle Order (Batsmen 3-5)
Jaipur continue to do well in the middle with Ashok Menaria, Brad Hodge and Owais Shah. Their strike rate has also been high, since they have been able to accelerate after the good start from the openers. Mumbai’s middle order has had to bail them out after the openers have failed. Similarly, Chennai’s middle order has had to make up for Murali Vijay’s bad form.
Concerns again for Pune, who have struggled to score in the middle after losing an early wicket or two.
The Finishers (Batsmen 6-8)
One caveat - Delhi’s numbers are based on only one innings, since that’s the only time their batsmen beyond No. 6 have played. The rest of the pack shows you that Mohali have done well towards the end of the innings, while some of the stronger sides like Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai have failed to consolidate on the efforts of the top and middle orders.
Jaipur again stands out, despite the low runs per innings, based on their high strike rate. Put all the three tables together and the Royals strategy is clear: the openers lay the foundation but play relatively risk-free, the middle order consolidates while picking up the pace and the lower order then throws the bat at everything. That’s a recipe for success if they can continue to execute. It’s no wonder then that Jaipur have the highest Batting Momentum amongst all the teams in the tournament so far.
NOTE: All statistics mentioned here were checked till the time of writing the article.