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KL Rahul has got the Orange Cap, but it's hurting Kings XI Punjab

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A nice article by cricinfo below:

 

 

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"Look, I think strike rate is very, very overrated. For me, it's only about how I can win games for my team."

 

It feels almost unfair to begin with that quote, but then again, how can one not? On a day when KL Rahul made 74 off 58 (strike rate 127.58) and his team lost by two runs while chasing 165 for a win?

 

How can you not begin with that quote when Rahul wears the Orange Cap with 387 runs at a strike rate of 134.84, while his team sits at the bottom of the IPL table with just one win in seven games?

 

How can you not draw a line connecting all the runs Rahul has scored, and his manner of scoring them, with his team's results?

 

There are other factors behind where Kings XI sit halfway through their league campaign. Their bowling, for one, particularly in the death overs. But think of it this way: Rahul has been on strike for 287 of the 824 balls faced by Kings XI's batsmen this season. That's just under 35% of all the balls they have faced. No other batsman has had as much influence on how their team's innings have been shaped. No bowler, by the simple fact that they are restricted to delivering at most a fifth of their team's overs, has had a comparable influence.

 

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An overall strike rate of 134.84 doesn't sound terrible. But over the first 30 balls of all his innings, he's made 195 off 174 balls, at a strike rate of 112.07. Keep in mind that if he has faced 30 balls, he's used up a fourth of his team's quota of deliveries.

 

It isn't that Rahul can't play any other way. In IPL 2018, he had a first-six-overs (powerplay) strike rate of 157.57. Since then there's been a perceptible shift in approach, with his strike rate in that phase dropping to 120.83 in 2019 and 116.00 this year.

 

There are reasons behind why he is playing this way, of course.

 

One, Rahul and the Kings XI management probably believe he has the game to make up for his slow starts if he spends a certain amount of time at the crease. So he has a certain allowance to put a price on his wicket - a bit of a luxury in T20s - and play risk-free cricket for a certain amount of time.

When it comes off, it can be spectacular. For instance, he smashed 42 off the last nine balls of his innings against the Royal Challengers Bangalore, and finished with 132 not out off 69.

 

But how often will he get that deep into his innings, and once there, how often will he explode as spectacularly? Rahul made 90 off 39 (strike rate 230.77) after crossing the 30-ball mark against the Royal Challengers, but in the three other games where he's gotten to that point of his innings, he's made 32 off 24 (against the Rajasthan Royals), 31 off 22 (against the Chennai Super Kings) and, on Saturday against the Knight Riders, 39 off 28.

"Compare the situations Maxwell has walked into with the relative blank slates Rahul has at the start of his innings, and you might begin to see that different types of players get judged by different standards in T20 cricket. Recognising that, ask yourself this: what exactly does being the leading run-getter in a T20 league mean if your team has lost six out of seven games?"

That's not a whole lot of payoff. And if Virat Kohli hadn't dropped him twice just before he went on that late blitz against the Royal Challengers, Rahul would have finished with 83 off 55 (41 off 25 after the 30-ball mark) or 89 off 59 (47 off 29).

 

Rahul certainly can make up for slow starts, but he hasn't been doing it consistently this season. It can't be easy for anyone to bat with a certain rhythm for a significant length of time and suddenly change their approach and pull it off time and again.

 

The second reason behind Rahul's approach could be that he's often batted alongside someone scoring rapidly enough to make him - or the team management - believe that his best role is to give that batsman the strike and keep the partnership going. Mayank Agarwal has been the quicker-scoring partner in two century opening stands this season, and in both games, Kings XI seemed to be in an impregnable position when he and Rahul were at the crease.

 

Kings XI, however, have lost both those matches. It's not an unexpected outcome. Data drawn from all seasons of the IPL shows that long partnerships with one partner scoring slowly are often counterproductive. Perhaps Rahul and the Kings XI know this, but feel it's the only option left to them. That could be another reason behind Rahul's approach. He may be batting in this manner because the Kings XI either don't bat that deep - they have played an extra bowler in their last two games and ended up with a long tail - or don't trust their middle and lower order to build on smaller but more explosive starts from their top order.

 

 

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Another nice article: Are big partnerships overrated in T20 cricket?

 

Link

 

 

We probably wouldn't be discussing this if Rajasthan Royals hadn't pulled off a heist against Kings XI Punjab in Sharjah. But why did KL Rahul, who is fully equipped to go ballistic like the other batsmen in the match, choose to play within himself and simply turn the strike over to Mayank Agarwal? Surely Kings XI could have done with the extra runs they could have put on the board had their captain scored at the pace he's capable of?

 

In a match where the other batsmen struck at almost 200, Rahul made a 54-ball 69 at a strike rate of 127.77. ESPNcricinfo's Smart Stats gave Rahul a negative value impact for his innings. It wasn't that he was rusty coming off the long break like some other top India batsmen have been in the league so far. After all, in Kings XI's previous match in Dubai, a bigger ground than Sharjah, he had put bowlers to the sword with an unbeaten 69-ball 132.

 

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Steven Smith played a similar role in Royals' first match of the season in Sharjah, against Chennai Super Kings, playing second fiddle to a marauding Sanju Samson. Smith showed with a 27-ball 50 against Kings XI that he can score quickly if he chooses to. So why did the two batsmen, who are capable of scoring at the frenetic pace T20 cricket demands from them, play the strike-rotation game?

 

One possible reason could be that they are hard-wired to think in terms of partnerships, which are valued dearly in the longer formats. Coaches and experts, who have played much of their cricket in the longer formats themselves, perhaps share this philosophy too. Team think-tanks might worry about one wicket triggering a collapse, or new batsmen taking too much time to settle, even on flat surfaces.

 

Moreover, teams batting first possibly start their innings with the aim of putting up a score that is par for the prevailing pitch and conditions. Batsmen who are otherwise capable of hitting sixes might settle for giving the strike to their partners - the designated hitters in the partnership - as long as the team is on course to achieve that par score. Big partnerships where one batsman is going hard while the other is rotating the strike well are assumed to be good for the team's cause in all conditions.

 

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BIG STANDS, LOW IMPACT

CENTURY STANDS* IN THE IPL BATTING FIRST

  STANDS STANDS IN WINS % IN WINS
BOTH BATSMEN STRIKE @ 150+ 25 19 76.0
- SINCE 2015 13 9 69.2
AT LEAST ONE BATSMAN STRIKES @ <150 33 19 57.6
- SINCE 2015 14 4 28.6

 

*WHERE BOTH BATSMEN SCORED 50+ IN THE PARTNERSHIP
 
 

IPL data suggests that when one batsman is striking well, it's not in the team's interests for their partner to play below their potential for the sake of building a partnership. Teams are better off with cameos from the other batsmen. Since 2018, the average scoring rate of partnerships where both batsmen contribute 50 runs or more is 9.9 runs per over. In partnerships where the quicker partner scores 50 or more and the slower partner less than 30, the scoring rate is (11.2). This is probably because, as we saw above, bigger stands tend to hurt the rate of scoring. The trade-off obviously is the wickets lost in the process.

 

So teams that can afford to lose a few wickets, like Kings XI could have in their game against the Royals, should have batsmen of Rahul's calibre play to their full potential instead of rotating the strike. In conditions like those at Sharjah, teams batting first should perhaps worry less about building partnerships and more about scoring as quickly as possible.

 

 

LOSING RELEVANCE?

CENTURY STANDS BATTING FIRST IN THE IPL

SEASONS 100+ STANDS 100+ STANDS IN WINS %
2008-2011 33 25 75.8
2012-2014 34 21 61.8
2015-2017 34 22 64.7
2018-2020 20 8 40.0
 
 
The T20 batting landscape is changing rapidly. Good chasing teams now have the confidence to go after targets however big they are. Data from the IPL indicates that a higher percentage of century stands in the first innings (even without the condition that both batsmen contribute at least 50) are coming in losses than they used to. Since the 2018 season, 12 of the 20 century stands that have come while batting first have come in losses. This means 60% of such partnerships have contributed to defeat. In the first four years of the IPL, only eight of the 33 bat-first century stands had come in losses. That's a swing of 47%. It's clear then that teams shouldn't look to build partnerships just for the sake of it.
Edited by zen
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5 minutes ago, zen said:


FYI, KL was already the highest run getter in this IPL (orange cap) when that article was written. The article correctly highlights the lack of “impact” of his runs in those matches.


Impact can be more if he uses his captaincy and make the right move.

 

He has Maxwell playing and batting way low. If you want to play Maxwell, put him first down. He is not a player who hits from ball 1 like Pollard. Even in 50 overs he gets few overs and settles down before he starts smacking.

 

Indian spinners aren’t wasy to hit anyway and then asking these overseas bats to hit from ball 1 is even harder on them. 
 

If Maxwell is at one down then Rahul can feel less pressure to take the burden and can have bigger impact with his style of battinf.

 

If you can’t put Maxwell one down then just drop Maxwell all together. 

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5 hours ago, Gollum said:

 

 

he literally has been best Indian IPL batsman in last few yrs...pant was competing with him but he got lost this season

Acc to me KL is now all time best Indian batsman in IPL and he has many many years ahead , i just hope he keeps batting like KL not rahane .

 

 

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On 10/15/2020 at 9:21 AM, zen said:

Another nice article: Are big partnerships overrated in T20 cricket?

 

Link

 

 

We probably wouldn't be discussing this if Rajasthan Royals hadn't pulled off a heist against Kings XI Punjab in Sharjah. But why did KL Rahul, who is fully equipped to go ballistic like the other batsmen in the match, choose to play within himself and simply turn the strike over to Mayank Agarwal? Surely Kings XI could have done with the extra runs they could have put on the board had their captain scored at the pace he's capable of?

 

In a match where the other batsmen struck at almost 200, Rahul made a 54-ball 69 at a strike rate of 127.77. ESPNcricinfo's Smart Stats gave Rahul a negative value impact for his innings. It wasn't that he was rusty coming off the long break like some other top India batsmen have been in the league so far. After all, in Kings XI's previous match in Dubai, a bigger ground than Sharjah, he had put bowlers to the sword with an unbeaten 69-ball 132.

 

1233722_900x900.png&w=1140&cquality=40&f

 

 

Steven Smith played a similar role in Royals' first match of the season in Sharjah, against Chennai Super Kings, playing second fiddle to a marauding Sanju Samson. Smith showed with a 27-ball 50 against Kings XI that he can score quickly if he chooses to. So why did the two batsmen, who are capable of scoring at the frenetic pace T20 cricket demands from them, play the strike-rotation game?

 

One possible reason could be that they are hard-wired to think in terms of partnerships, which are valued dearly in the longer formats. Coaches and experts, who have played much of their cricket in the longer formats themselves, perhaps share this philosophy too. Team think-tanks might worry about one wicket triggering a collapse, or new batsmen taking too much time to settle, even on flat surfaces.

 

Moreover, teams batting first possibly start their innings with the aim of putting up a score that is par for the prevailing pitch and conditions. Batsmen who are otherwise capable of hitting sixes might settle for giving the strike to their partners - the designated hitters in the partnership - as long as the team is on course to achieve that par score. Big partnerships where one batsman is going hard while the other is rotating the strike well are assumed to be good for the team's cause in all conditions.

 

1233721_900x1125.png&w=1140&cquality=40&

 

 

BIG STANDS, LOW IMPACT

CENTURY STANDS* IN THE IPL BATTING FIRST

  STANDS STANDS IN WINS % IN WINS
BOTH BATSMEN STRIKE @ 150+ 25 19 76.0
- SINCE 2015 13 9 69.2
AT LEAST ONE BATSMAN STRIKES @ <150 33 19 57.6
- SINCE 2015 14 4 28.6

 

*WHERE BOTH BATSMEN SCORED 50+ IN THE PARTNERSHIP
 
 

IPL data suggests that when one batsman is striking well, it's not in the team's interests for their partner to play below their potential for the sake of building a partnership. Teams are better off with cameos from the other batsmen. Since 2018, the average scoring rate of partnerships where both batsmen contribute 50 runs or more is 9.9 runs per over. In partnerships where the quicker partner scores 50 or more and the slower partner less than 30, the scoring rate is (11.2). This is probably because, as we saw above, bigger stands tend to hurt the rate of scoring. The trade-off obviously is the wickets lost in the process.

 

So teams that can afford to lose a few wickets, like Kings XI could have in their game against the Royals, should have batsmen of Rahul's calibre play to their full potential instead of rotating the strike. In conditions like those at Sharjah, teams batting first should perhaps worry less about building partnerships and more about scoring as quickly as possible.

 

 

LOSING RELEVANCE?

CENTURY STANDS BATTING FIRST IN THE IPL

SEASONS 100+ STANDS 100+ STANDS IN WINS %
2008-2011 33 25 75.8
2012-2014 34 21 61.8
2015-2017 34 22 64.7
2018-2020 20 8 40.0
 
 
The T20 batting landscape is changing rapidly. Good chasing teams now have the confidence to go after targets however big they are. Data from the IPL indicates that a higher percentage of century stands in the first innings (even without the condition that both batsmen contribute at least 50) are coming in losses than they used to. Since the 2018 season, 12 of the 20 century stands that have come while batting first have come in losses. This means 60% of such partnerships have contributed to defeat. In the first four years of the IPL, only eight of the 33 bat-first century stands had come in losses. That's a swing of 47%. It's clear then that teams shouldn't look to build partnerships just for the sake of it.


Trying to turn Cricket into Baseball ?

gang bang is no cricket. Still believe In  consolidation, accumulation based on pitch conditions is key to even T20 cricket 

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All in hindsight. It's obvious that he is playing slow not because he is selfish or wants orange cap. Rather he is playing slow to maximise team chances of winning as middle and lower order has been reliable.

 

He could have played faster and Punjab still might be in same situation. Can't really reason either approach as obvious mistake. It's choice he made and it didn't pay off. 

 

Easy to say after seeing points table. 

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1 hour ago, Trichromatic said:

All in hindsight. It's obvious that he is playing slow not because he is selfish or wants orange cap. Rather he is playing slow to maximise team chances of winning as middle and lower order has been reliable.

 

He could have played faster and Punjab still might be in same situation. Can't really reason either approach as obvious mistake. It's choice he made and it didn't pay off. 

 

Easy to say after seeing points table. 

Well they should have made gayle to play from the start of the season. It's their fault.

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2 hours ago, beetle said:

Openers having a strike rate less than 150 in T -20 should be considered a failure.

They have a advantage of PP and they  get to start with 10 wkts in hands. They have no excuse for  batting at low SR.

 

Rather have openers score 25-30  between 150-200 SR than a 100 at 120 SR.

 

 

150 thoda zyaada hai uss hisab se most will fail 

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Kohli PR at work to downplay KL Rahul's growing stature in T20. He's quite clearly the best Indian T20 batsman, how can the Kohli PR brigade accept it.

 

BTW among Itop 15 batsmen, only Mayank (159) and Dhawan (143) have got a better strike rate than Rahul (136) among Indian players. Look at this list below

Mayank 159

Dhawan 143

Rahul 135

Iyer 132

Rohit 129

Rayudu 129

Kohli 127

Paddikal 122

Gill 122

 

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