Tuesday 5 May 2009

IPL 2009: predictably unpredictable

I don't know the stats - in fact, I don't know if the stats exist - but I would guess that opening batsmen are dismissed first ball slightly less often than others in the top six. 

The reasons for this groundbreaking opinion are pretty straightforward: bowlers aren't usually warmed up, the loosener is traditional, the batter isn't generally looking to do anything other than leave the ball or nurdle a single, the opener knows exactly when he's going to bat, so he's not out in the middle having just been asleep/padding up/having a crafty smoke etc etc.

None of which explains the weirdest statistic from this year's IPL: six wickets have fallen on the first ball of the innings. I'd call that unprecedented if almost everything else in the IPL wasn't unprecedented too - it's only been going two years, after all. 

Is it a trend? Is it a blip or a bubble? If you bet on the IPL, can you bet on it happening again? Because if it's a cluster, it probably will. 

The day's other event of sublime unpredictability involved Robin Jackman saying something interesting. Not deliberately, obviously, he just read it out, but it was a rundown of the overs in which most wickets fall. All were comforting: the 20th had the most, then the 19th, then the 16th [first of the last five, cue slogathon]. 

The much heralded 11th [first after the ad brea... er, strategic interval] proved not as dangerous as first thought. Teams are switching on to that one. The smart bet there would be on it becoming the least productive over in the competition, run-wise. 


David Barry said...

This is interesting, I would have guessed that openers would be more likely to be dismissed first ball because they have less idea what the pitch is like, but you are right. ODI's (all of them, incl. minnows), percentage of innings that are first-ball ducks by batting position:

1: 1.6%
2: 2.1%
3: 2.0%
4: 1.9%
5: 1.7%

12th Man said...

OB, the gentle loosener that most fast bowlers bowl to begin with has been a rare phenomenon in this IPL. The number of front foot no-balls have gone down by a great deal as well. That explains that bowlers are getting a lot more disciplined. That probably explains the "first ballers" statistic.