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Chennai Super Kings vs Rajasthan Royals
April 3, 2010. Pre-match analysis.

Out of the 40 overs that were bowled during the RCB-CSK match, the chances were even for RCB at the end of three of the overs and over 50 for just one of the overs. That tells you how dominating CSK were in that match. Coming out of that with an average form of 63.25 for its top four batsmen (that’s because Hayden failed, by the way), they are strongly placed against the Royals, who had a lowly form of 35.5% against Delhi on the last day of March.

Finally, something worth writing about...the Aussie glucose added to both the lineups.

Shane Watson is likely to replace Micheal Lumb, strengthening the overall effectiveness of the team by a whopping 12%, which also essentially means that there is a lot of pressure on the player to click. The positive point is the reduction of pressure on the others in the team. So, we can expect one or two other players to do well than before even in the event of Watson not playing to his potential today.

For Chennai, the entry of Bollinger and Hussey will strengthen the line up in more ways than one, literally. Who will they replace? Thushara and Albie Morkel, essentially because they cannot risk resting Hayden in their current situation. Playing Albie as an opener in Hayden's place is an interesting point of view and would have increased the bowling strength by 9%, though their batting strength would go down by 14%. Can they afford it? Against Rajasthan, Yes, because a stronger bowling attack is necessary to keep Pathan and Watson at bay. A strong point in favour of M.Hussey is that he brings down the pressure on the Hayden/Raina combo by 9%, which means that they will be at more liberty to play their game than before. There is not even a case to argue against Bollinger’s inclusion here, given their pacers get more wickets out of luck than anything else at the moment.



Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Chennai Super Kings
March 23, 2010. Pre-match analysis.


Chennai face Bangalore today, with Bangalore riding on a high from successive wins and Chennai coming off a defeat to the least performing team in the IPL till then.

There have been words about Chennai replacing Kemp with Thissara because of a possible injury. The effectiveness of the side goes down by 2% overall, but it strengthens their bowling further (going by numbers). Justin Kemp was over-performing with the ball, though. If effectively utilized, Chennai’s bowling strength is not as bad as it looks. It’s above IPL average and that of Bangalore’s.  It should be noted that Suresh Raina has a good bowling record in the T20 format.

Bangalore’s bowling, on the other hand, rides on Steyn and Kumble, as we have mentioned before. With due respect to Praveen and Vinay, if not for the former two proving to be as big an obstacle, these two could not have done what they did in the last two matches. If you ask how, refer their opening match when Steyn went for 34 runs in three overs. RCB managed to take only 3 wickets in 19 plus overs, with two batsmen giving their wicket away after a fifty and the third being that of Ganguly when he tried to finish it off (which means the bowler didn’t contribute to it as much as the batsman did).

Overall, “if everyone plays to their capacity”, the match will not be a close contest as people claim but actually very much in favour of Chennai. Chennai’s weak batting performance in the last match, with an average form of 56%, is a cause of worry for Raina, exposing ‘the Dhoni factor’ which didn’t get as much a chance to show up against Delhi. If they can manage to keep it under wraps with a Raina / Hayden performance, overcoming RCB will not be difficult. Similarly, preventing big scores from Hayden and Raina would be the key to RCB’s chances and not their batting strength.


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Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Mumbai Indians
March 20, 2010. Pre-match analysis.

We’ve been saying that Bangalore has the weakest bowling attack, despite a ‘not-at-all-bad bowling performance’, as is the feedback we have been getting. Taking into account the statistics of the players for the previous match, you would see that there were only six players who could even bowl. If anyone's bowling didn’t work (read Morne Morkel in the same match), the five bowlers should bowl around 18 overs between them, and this includes Virat Kohli. The form of Jacques Kallis is the only thing that has kept them going in this front. Also, if you take the percentage contribution of each bowler to the overall bowling strength, we see that Praveen, Vinay, Kumble, Steyn make up 81% of the strength, with the latter two contributing 50 of it. If the batsmen from the other team get around Steyn and Kumble, it’s all fireworks from then on.

Mumbai, the team with the strongest batting lineup, is best placed to do that. Mumbai’s bowling, on the other hand, was just as fragile before Pollard and Bravo joined the team, but now, their bowling strength is evenly distributed among six bowlers, without including Sachin. Their batting strength, on the other hand, taking into account the same lineup employed in the previous match for either teams, is 32% stronger than that of Bangalore. The form of the batsmen for either side has been near 100% (except for Sanath Jayasuriya). So, this game is definitely placed in favour of Mumbai on paper.

To sum it up and put it in one line (for those with an attention span), this game all but boils down to the contest between the combo of Steyn and Kumble on one side and the Mumbai batting lineup on the other.

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Rajasthan Royals vs Kolkata Knight Riders
March 20, 2010. Pre-match analysis.

Kolkata is expected to move from strength to strength with the inclusion of Gayle in the team. His inclusion in the place of Owais Shah has decreased the pressure on the batting by 1% (which is not much), but reduces the pressure on the bowling team by 11%, making them a stronger bowling team overall (than they already are).

We’ve already discussed the introduction of Adam Voges and the positive balance it lends to the team, and we suggest they use him in the place of Lumb or Martyn. To say it again, the ideal combo, which reduces the most pressure on the team, is Lumb / Voges / Tait. If Voges is not effective as a bowler against Kolkata, Warne would do better to have something else up his sleeve; but what options does he have?

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Deccan Chargers vs Kings XI Punjab
March 19, 2010. Pre-match analysis.


Many have written Punjab off for the season, even at such an early stage. We still stick by them and say, they can bounce back. They have it in them to, and we (badly) hope their performance in the upcoming matches will give us the numbers to prove it.

Their chances of winning did not touch 50% against Delhi throughout the match, showing nothing went right for them. Against Bangalore, though, the batting display was right. Well, almost. The chances of winning for Punjab reached 70% at the end of their innings. 70% has never been a point of no return and RCB’s batmen showed them why. On the whole, Punjab has been improving.

Deccan, from a rather massive collapse against KKR, that took their chances from 84% to 0 in a span of nine overs, recovered well against Chennai with their three international batsmen striking form. All three hit a form of 100% in the match, which is what Punjab should focus on.

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Chennai Super Kings vs Delhi Daredevils
March 19, 2010. Pre-match analysis.

The question on everyone’s mind… Whose absence affects the team more? Dhoni or Gambhir?

The batting strength Dhoni brings to the team is slightly less than what Gambhir does, but given CSK’s dependency on a few batsmen, Dhoni’s overall percentage contribution to the team’s strength is a tad higher than Gambhir’s (13% against 12%, if you’d be so curious). What really matters, though, is how much a replacement can make up for the Captain’s loss in either team.

Chennai don’t have many options. If they go for Parthiv Patel, the batting strength of the player goes down by 26% and the team’s strength by 3%. However, the percentage runs contribution expected from Hayden and Raina goes up to 45%, giving a very clear set of instructions to the Delhi bowlers, ‘Don’t let them off the hook and victory shall be ours’.

Delhi, on the other hand, have a few options up their sleeve. One is bringing David Warner into the fray (and replacing Maharoof with an Indian bowler) and the other is bringing in an Indian batsman for Gambhir. Bringing in Warner, in fact, increases the batting strength of that position by 38%, going by his record in this form of the game. It brings down the existing pressure on the other three important batsmen, AB, Sehwag and Dilshan by 21% (not including the loss due to bringing in someone for Maharoof, which can’t possibly be half this huge). The second option, which is introducing the likes of Rajat Bhatia decreases the overall batting strength by around 4%. If Delhi opt for the second choice, Chennai’s bowlers have the same ultimatum as Delhi’s. ‘Take out the Sehwag-AB-Dilshan trio and victory, of course, shall be ours.’

If Warner plays, though, the only way Chennai can get past Delhi is by outscoring them, which is a difficult proposition, considering that our Form factor tool shows us that Hayden and Raina are scoring at 16% and 41% of their potential on an average in the IPL so far.

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Rajasthan Royals vs Royal challengers Bangalore
March 18, 2010. Pre-match analysis.

Bangalore, with its batting firepower, prevailed over Punjab in their previous match, but it is to be noted from our IPL preview that their bowling is the weakest in the IPL.

The absence of Mascarenhas and Smith looms large over Rajasthan’s hopes, but it is to be noted that that hasn’t changed their fortunes a bit. Their probable replacements, two among Voges, Lumb, Martyn and M.Morkel have enough numbers backing them up.

Among the regular batsmen (with Graeme Smith out), Yusuf Pathan and Swapnil Asnodkar make up about 40% of the batting strength, which puts an amazing level of pressure on a young opener and a bowling all-rounder. The presence of Micheal Lumb or Damien Martyn in the squad, going by numbers alone (of course), takes this down to 33%, which is a huge improvement. So, Martyn, Lumb or Voges must play to ease some pressure on the two batsmen. In other words, Botha and Morkel should not be selected as the replacing duo, which is what we call a ‘batting suicide’.

After a study of the team with various combinations of the above, along with Botha, we see that Rajasthan have two options. If Voges is available and Martyn is not, as the situation is expected to be, they should go for Voges with Botha/Morkel  or Lumb. If Voges is unavailable, they can go for Lumb and Morkel/Botha. While the selection between Botha and Morkel would depend on the pitch, the option between that person and Lumb, we found, depend on the numbers. The benchmark we took is the combined performance pressure on Shaun Tait and Yusuf Pathan, their two most important players. The combination of Voges and Lumb reduced that combined pressure to the maximum, making them a superior side to RCB on the batting front and keeping the bowling attack above par. Hence, we say, ‘go for them, Warnie’.

That being the case, we expect Rajasthan to win this match.

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Mumbai Indians Vs Delhi Daredevils
March 17, 2010. Pre-match analysis.

Mumbai, according to our study, is the team with the best batting strength and depth in the IPL; not Delhi, as you might be inclined to think. Delhi, on the other hand, has a bowling attack that has helped them win two matches in a row pretty much convincingly. Yes, we have a great contest here between the two.

As long as Delhi don’t play both AB and Warner, their balance is very delicate; good, but delicate. There is too much pressure on the top order and that is the point Mumbai’s not-so-strong bowling should focus on. The absence of Nehra has brought in Maharoof, but we wonder, why not Henriques? Or even better, Andrew McDonald? McDonald’s stats show the better promise on our list among the three.

Except Sathish and Sachin, all other Mumbai batsmen lived up to the expectations of the coach in their first match. Mumbai’s weak secondary bowling attack was for all to see (which by the way increased the responsibility and hence the pressure on Zaheer, Malinga and Harbhajan by 12%), and is expected to be that way for this match with Dwayne Bravo not expected to play. If that be the case, Duminy comes in to strengthen the lineup.  If both Bravo and Pollard are fully fit and available to play, they lend a greater balance to the side than what Duminy does, especially with the above mentioned bowling weakness. In fact, Bravo and Pollard would share 25% of Mumbai’s total strength between themselves, taking a lot of pressure off the other star players in the lineup.

In both matches for Delhi, it was just one batsman who kept the game away from the opponents. Gambhir did it against Punjab and Sehwag against Rajasthan. The other batsmen, going by what our Coach says, essentially failed to meet any expectations (except Manhas). If Mumbai bats first, they should ensure that they take the game beyond what one batsman can achieve…but with the likes of Dilshan and Sehwag on Delhi’s ranks, what could that score be?

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Chennai Super Kings vs Kolkata Knight Riders, Mar 16 2010
Pre-match analysis


These are two teams with contrasting fortunes so far this year, but our statistical study regards both teams highly, as in, probable semifinalists. So, we expect to have one intelligent match here.

For Chennai, Albie Morkel, Muralitharan and Ashwin R did justice to their billing with good performances against the Deccan Chargers. Our Coach’s call program, which tells us what a batsman should score in a game told us Hayden needed to score at least 50 runs against Deccan, showing just how dependent the team is on him. Raina, despite being a good bowler (statistically) in this format, was never used against the Deccan, nor did he shine with the bat. That took the team’s effectiveness, which is already weak with an ineffective pace attack, to further depths with a 15% dip. Until Hussey rejoins the team, at least one of Hayden and Raina should be exceptional with the bat in every match. In addition to that, two among Dhoni, Kemp and Morkel need to fire if the opponent is a strong team like Deccan or more relevantly, Kolkata Knight Riders. 

The Knight Riders, on the other hand, outmatch Chennai Super Kings in both the batting and bowling departments. After a first match top-order debacle, the Knight Riders recovered well (as expected). Every batsman outperformed the coach’s call, and it is probably the only match in which that happened (in IPL3, that is). They fought back from a mere 20% chance of winning twice in the first match; that shows how inspired they are, at the moment. Shane Bond, who makes up 13% of their bowling strength, is expected to play today. A pace attack with both Bond and Langeveldt, we believe, is unnecessary at the moment as Mathews has proved to be more valuable with his current form. Moreover, it's not their bowling that needs that extra edge today against Chennai.

Overall, it will be difficult for Chennai to bowl out this lineup given their weak pace attack, but some of their batsmen are very capable of demoralizing the opposing speedsters too, making it a fair game. Chennai have a tough task ahead of them with their lethal spin department all set to fight the best bowling side in the tournament. 

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Kings XI Punjab vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, Mar 16 2010
Pre-match analysis

There was enough promise in Shreevats Goswami and Eoin Morgan to make our statisticians wonder if they were worthy replacements for Taylor and Pietersen. Still, we wonder how long Cameron White, who is by far the most important player of the Bangalore side, is going to be kept out of the proceedings. Our suggestion is to play both van der Merwe and CL White, which means (going by Kallis’ play exceeding his potential in the first match) that Morgan should sit out. The earlier White comes in and makes up one third of the team’s strength with Roelof, the better it is for Bangalore. There is a good chance for Bangalore to make some inroads into the tournament against a Punjab side that is affected by injury and without their strongest bowler.


For Punjab, to begin with, Sreesanth bowling that well is a windfall. The team effectiveness is currently down by 5% with Abdulla instead of Lee, but still looks formidable enough for Bangalore. While Bopara’s form is something to cheer about, the failure of the rest of the batsmen, with all but Irfan Pathan not living up to the expectations of our coach is a reason to worry. One strategy that will work for Punjab is that if Sangakkara can keep wickets, Bisla could be replaced with Karan Goel, who could also bowl in addition to his role as opening batsman. However, as mentioned in our season preview, despite the presence of many incredible players, the team’s performance comes down to Yuvraj Singh’s form on the field.


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Delhi Daredevils vs Rajasthan Royals, Mar 15 2010
Pre-match analysis

 

Sehwag, Karthik, Manhas and Gambhir crossed 35% on the Form factor scale for Delhi in their opener, with the latter two going on to hit a form of 100% (If a player's form is 50% according to our tool, it means that he is playing at half his potential). This is a good sign for Delhi as they look forward to their second match against Rajasthan; as in, there are several batsmen the Royals have to dislodge to trigger any collapse.

 

Maharoof took the two most important wickets of the Punjab lineup and in a way, was one of their most valuable players for the last match. We also noted the possibility of the Daredevils playing David Warner in the squad for the second match today. They (and a lot of our readers) should have multiple questions on their mind today. “Should Delhi risk taking Maharoof out of the squad and bring in Warner, or should Henriques be brought in, considering his form, as an all-rounder is always thought to be a lot more important in the T20 format? In that case, should Warner replace AB?”

 

We studied the balance of the Delhi side under all these circumstances to understand when their batting/bowling is strongest and came up with what we believe is an interesting view. Their bowling strength is not the one that needs the backup from the fourth foreign player. It’s their batting…Shocking, but true. Sehwag, Warner/AB, Gambhir and Dilshan are sufficient to reach most targets, but there is too much pressure on their shoulders when it comes to the big games. If both Warner and Devilliers play, there is a remarkable balance that is hard to break with six bowling options.

For Rajasthan, Naman Ojha , Graeme Smith and Paras Dogra are in good form, with all three players clocking up 40 plus percentages each. Of course, Yusuf Pathan wrecked all statistics with his performance. We believe that Delhi’s bowlers need to concentrate on these four batsmen to win this match. On the bowling front for Rajasthan, Mascarenhas and Tait have to fire to create any kind of chance for Rajasthan.

*Future analyses will be added to the same page. For runtime analysis during every match, visit www.holdingwilleylive.com*


 




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