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  5. IPL 2024 in numbers: Home-away record, is batting first better or bowling and best option after winning toss?

IPL 2024 in numbers: Home-away record, is batting first better or bowling and best option after winning toss?

The 2024 edition of the IPL has been truly remarkable in terms of run-scoring and the intent. The 17th IPL season gave a glimpse into the future of T20 cricket where six-hitting will be a norm, 250-plus score might be a routine and there will be no place for anchors. Let's do some number-crunching-

Written By: Anshul Gupta @oyegupta_ New Delhi Published on: May 21, 2024 18:57 IST
The knockout stage of the 2024 edition of the IPL is here,
Image Source : AP/BCCI/IPL The knockout stage of the 2024 edition of the IPL is here, take a look at the records broken and created in the tournament and how have teams fared while batting and bowling first

How do you summarise an IPL season where a score of 200 had become a norm, a powerplay of 75 felt like a usual day's work and a score of 277, which was the first of the eight 250-plus team totals now seems like a decade long story of yesteryears when it happened just less than two months ago. Sunrisers Hyderabad, who have defined T20 batting in this season of the IPL, then went on to score a 287, a 266, chase down 167 in less than 10 overs and chase down 215 with ease despite not a single batter playing more than 30 balls. 

Yes, the impact player swelled the 180 totals to 210 and 210s to 230-240s but the surfaces, especially at the start of the tournament were near-highways and small boundaries and fast outfields didn't help one bit as the bowlers felt like they were being made to do child labour. They had no option and the batting line-up just didn't refuse to end.

There were as many as 41 200-plus totals in the ongoing season of the IPL, which is the most in a season in the tournament and second highest in a single T20 competition for a season, just behind T20 Blast's 42 last year. Eight of them went past 250 and seven out of those were in excess of 260. It felt like rules for T20 wee being rewritten. The anchors should and will cease to exist and the 'intent' which was used umpteen times in the season and will be used in the playoffs as well, followed by the T20 World Cup, will not just be any overused word but a key to success in the near future, if it's already not.

The record of most sixes in a season has already been broken (1124 sixes of last year). Most centuries (14) in a season have been hit. The most expensive figures have been recorded by a bowler this season (73 in 4 overs by Mohit Sharma). The highest powerplay score was broken twice by the same team, which broke the record for the highest total thrice (125 vs DC, 107 vs LSG). 

So let's do some number-crunching. Out of the 70 matches, three were washed out and the 67 that were played, 34 were won by teams batting first and 33 by the ones chasing. So not much of a difference. However, the discrepancies start getting bigger when the results are looked at in context with the toss. Out of 67 matches, 17 times a captain decided to bat first and the remaining 50 tosses were won by the captains wanting to chase. 

Out of those 17 occasions when the captain opted to bat, the batting first team won only seven games while 10 were won by the teams chasing. Similarly, on 50 occasions when the captains decided to bowl first, the teams chasing won 23 games while the teams batting first won 27 matches, which proves yet again that the toss didn't really matter except in a few places when toss became decisive, like in Chennai, especially in the first half when the ball became soaking wet during the second innings.

Thus, teams winning the toss won just 30 games out of 67, which majorly proves that toss hasn't been a huge factor that many make it to be. As far as home and away records are concerned, the results prove why certain teams are in the top four and the rest aren't.

The likes of Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Capitals, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders really made full use of the home advantage with five wins each at their fortresses. The Capitals will be ruing those two big losses against the Knight Riders because the fourth place was really there for the taking. Apart from a loss against the destroyers SRH, they won four out of their five games in Delhi and one out of two in Vizag. 

These destructive batting line-ups of KKR and SRH and hence have two of the better away records as well and quite similar too. Both KKR and SRH won in Bengaluru and Delhi but lost in Chennai as the pitches there didn't really suit their batting line-ups and approach. Punjab Kings failed to understand their home conditions and if you are winning just one out of seven games, you are going to struggle, irrespective of your performance on the road. KKR and Rajasthan Royals had the best away record with four wins each along with the Kings. Kings won one at home and Mumbai Indians just one away and hence they finished in the tournament where they did.

The Royals will be feeling disappointed yet relieved that the string of wins early on was enough for them to reach the playoffs otherwise they would have been ruing a missed opportunity like last year. Royals are yet to play a game in Ahmedabad this year where the first two playoff matches are taking place. RCB are the only team out of the four to win a game in Ahmedabad while all four teams lost their respective games in Chennai against CSK.

In terms of surfaces, on both, teams have preferred to chase and have gotten the results. In Ahmedabad, out of seven games four have been won by teams chasing while two by the ones batting first as one was washed out. In Chennai, however, the excessive dew had a huge say in the results and five games were won by the team batting second. Knockouts are big-pressure matches but the traditional thought process of defending was thrown out of the window in the World Cup only. The myth has been broken and for good as the focus will now shift on making the decision according to one's team's strength and weakness and the conditions at play. Ideally, both captains would want to win the toss and bowl first but only one team will have a say and let's get started. 

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