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Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

IPL teams are increasingly opting to chase

Of the 15 IPL matches this year, the side winning the toss has bowled first 12 times (80%), which is comparable to last year's 82%

Never before in the Indian Premier League (IPL) have teams been more inclined to chase a total than set one. Of the 15 matches this year, the side winning the toss has bowled first 12 times (80%), which is comparable to last year’s 82%. It wasn’t always this way. In the IPL’s early years, the traditional pressure tactic of shorter formats of making opponents conscious of a chase held as much sway, if not more (Chart 1).

But in the past four years, when batsmen like A.B. de Villiers have expanded the arc of possibilities, teams prefer to know a target and fashion a chase. In 2016, teams batting second won 65% of matches. Even in 2017, though the median first-innings score in the IPL is the highest ever (171), teams batting second have won 67% of the matches (Chart 2).

The notable exception to this trend is the currently suspended Chennai, where M.S. Dhoni chased only 33% of the time he won the toss (Chart 3).

Notes:

1. Data for 589 matches till 15 April 2017; it excludes 10 matches that were affected by weather and did not yield a result

2. IPL 2009 was held in South Africa; in IPL 2014, 20 of the 60 matches were played in the UAE (Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah)

3. Chennai and Rajasthan have been suspended from the IPL for 2016 and 2017; Kochi, Hyderabad I and Pune I are defunct

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