Pinching in an IPL Final

It's rare to witness an innings that exhibits such a clear structure. Shane Watson's century in the IPL Final against Sunrisers Hyderabad was an extraordinary innings. He failed to score from the first 10 deliveries yet finished with a 205 strike rate. To some extent, the game-plan looked ingenious because Watson was able to execute so perfectly, but it was remarkable to see him so deliberate in deciding which overs to attack

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Reflection on the IPL

I didn't post any articles on this site during the IPL season. That is entirely because I was contracted with RCB. To me, it seems like an eternity since I visited my own blog but, in reality, only two months has past. This post comprises a quick reflection on the season and what I learned in those two months travelling the IPL with RCB... hopefully some people find it interesting

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Where should you play your best batsman?

Rohit Sharma is the captain and assumed best batsman of the Mumbai Indians. He seems likely to bat at number 3 or 4 this season, unchanged from last year, when Buttler and Patel were generally preferred as the opening pair. Whilst those two are now gone, Mumbai did acquire another well-established opener at auction in the form of Evin Lewis, Ishan Kishan may also get the chance to impress

Last year, Sharma suggested that “probably three, four is the best position” for him but the stats emphatically disagree. In 52 matches as an opener, he averages 39.5 runs at a strike rate of 142. Both numbers drop noticeably when he arrives between 4-6, falling to an average of 32.4 runs at 132 (in 130 matches)

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Toss decisions: it's complicated

Recently, I wrote about how the toss-decisions made by captains before games were probably sub-optimal. I stand by everything said within that article (which concluded with me claiming that I would have a better record than the average T20 captain were I the one making decisions) but there were complications that I chose not include. This post exists to demonstrate that interpreting even the simplest data is often far from straightforward - and the capacity to confuse cause and effect is always present

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Toss decisions: worse than random

Being at home in the IPL gives the team a 1% advantage. Batting second gives the team a 5% advantage. And winning the toss gives the team a 2% advantage. That may all seem to conform to common sense but a closer examination of those figures reveals an inconsistency: how can winning the toss possibly be less advantageous than batting second?

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IPL Auction 2018 - RTMs

The IPL auction has been described as unfair, humiliating, and voyeuristic*. But most critics would still admit that, for the emotionally detached observer, it is flipping entertaining. There are so many factors to unravel that influence prices and teams battle an armada of seductive cognitive biases. For a data lover like myself, it provides a brand-new dataset that indicates how cricket insiders might think

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IPL Retentions 2018

So many thoughts on the latest retention decisions. Unreasonably excited to see what happens next at the auction on January 27/28. Analysing and reacting to the economics and business strategies used in a sports leagues can sometimes be more fun than the action itself!

My aim here is merely to make sense of the retentions that have just happened. For the most part, you can generally see what the teams were thinking. There seem to be three different types of influence on the decisions that each team made: the commercial influences that help teams to make money, the financial influences that help teams to save costs, and the on-filed influences that help teams to win titles

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Gulf in the BPL

I’m not the first person to notice the imbalance between overseas and domestic players in the BPL. With the tournament almost over, the chasm has, predictably, remained between the overseas and domestic players. The overseas players are far more productive than their Bangladeshi equivalents.

Interestingly, the overseas batsmen are consistent against both overseas and domestic bowling. In contrast, the overseas bowlers prey disproportionately on the domestic players to exhibit their superiority

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Optimising the first over

Six games into the 2017 T20 Blast, Kent were the slowest starters in the competition. Even enduring a maiden first over at home to Gloucestershire. In their seventh game, against Somerset, the team switched things up. Joe Denly moved into the opening slot, with his partner, Bell-Drummond replacing him at the other end

Superficially, the switch appeared to work. In the following eight games, Kent were scoring more runs after 3 balls (+0.6), more runs in the first over (+0.5), and more runs in the PowerPlay (+2.6)

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T20 Player Value: Part III

This is the third post in a series, in which I outline my approach to assessing player value. This post walks-through an example and then adds a further three considerations on top of the ones explained previously: weighting, regression to the mean, and ageing

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T20 Player Value: Part II

This is the second post in a series, in which I outline my approach to assessing player value. The first explains the overall objective: to measure the expected contribution of each player in runs. This post then details four main adjustments that I make to historic performances to remove any obvious biases in the data

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