Simulating T20 Matches: Pinching

The debate on whether Sunil Narine should open is one of my favourite in T20 cricket. I stand resolutely on team ‘yes’… but standing on team ‘yes’ does not mean that I don’t still have doubt. It wouldn’t be a debate if I didn’t see merit to arguments on both sides. I have built a simulator that will play out T20 games ball-by-ball, thousands of times, so that we can see the impact of playing in a certain way, or with a certain line-up. This means that we can set up a game between the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Sunrisers Hyderabad (say) and simulate what would happen with Narine at different spots in the line-up

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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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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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Standards of play across T20 leagues

The world's oldest T20 competition starts again on Friday. The Twenty20 Cup may have been around the longest, but it has since been surpassed by the rest of the world in viewership numbers, attendance, and sponsorship. The ECB have made moves to catch-up, investing a new city-based T20 competition by 2020 but, for now, it is almost certainly true that the T20 Blast also attracts fewer stars than its bigger rivals

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IPL not bigger than English Premier League

Soon after the IPL first revealed Vivo as their new title sponsor, Cricinfo featured an article on their front page with the headline, "IPL bigger than EPL".  Clicking on the headline sent me to a video which broke the incredible new $341m sponsorship deal and put it into context against two of the biggest leagues in the world - the NFL and the EPL. It is unbelievably impressive that a league which has only existed for 10 years could possibly be compared against those brands. But I was sceptical whether the video really contained evidence to justify the claim that the IPL was now bigger than the EPL

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Why you can't buy the IPL title

Some teams are worth more than others. Can the most valuable franchises leverage their superior financial heft to increase their chances of winning the ultimate glory - the IPL title? Are the 2017 Royal Challengers Bangalore a common occurrence and a tale of caution not to overspend on a team of superstars, or are they the outlier in a league where money talks and high salaries are necessary to build a strong team?

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How real is Pune's jinx over Mumbai?

Today's final represents the fifth time that top two seeds are meeting in the IPL final. The Mumbai Indians (1) are facing off against Rising Pune Supergiant (2). But this is the first time that one team has won every previous encounter as Pune did this season. Do Pune match up particularly well against Mumbai over and above what you might expect based on their overall performances this season?

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Is Stokes worth £1.7m?

Ben Stokes was front page news in February as he became the most expensive overseas player ever sold in an IPL auction. Rising Pune Supergiant(s) shelled out 4.5 crore for him - equivalent to £1.7m pounds - after a fierce bidding war with the Mumbai Indians

I want to try to answer the question of whether or not one player could possibly be worth that much money

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Mystery man is back as an all-rounder

If you had asked a few years ago, Narine would have been one of my top two picks for best player in the IPL: Gayle with the bat, Narine with the ball. His performance with the ball has slipped in recent seasons but could he possibly have reclaimed his status as one of the most valuable players in T20 having re-invented himself as an all-rounder?

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