Run-fest IPL 2023: Highest run-rate, most sixes and boundaries per game across all seasons
The Indian Premier League has become one of the most popular T20 tournaments with cricket enthusiasts around the world. With the presence of international cricket stars, excluding those from Pakistan, and the high-risk, high-reward nature of T20s, the IPL has continued to gain traction year after year.
One key area where the IPL has seen a surge is in its strike rates during the 2023 season. In the first 40 matches of the IPL played before April 30, teams scored a total of 13,994 runs in 1,568 overs, resulting in an overall run rate of 8.92, the highest in 16 seasons. (Chart 1) This has broken the previous record of 8.44 runs per over set during the previous season.
One reason for this spike in scoring could be attributed to the “impact players” rule, where teams can field an extra batsman or bowler as a one-time replacement. This has allowed teams to use batters in line-ups more strategically, thus accentuating risk-taking.
T20s are traditionally known for favouring a high-octane approach from batters as it features only 20 overs per innings. With 11 players in a lineup, the relative risk of losing wickets while trying to play big shots is much lower in T20 cricket, unlike One Day Internationals. Shorter boundaries and batter-friendly pitches have also favoured batters over bowlers.
Over time, IPL teams have increasingly employed “power hitters” to address this aspect of the game. The nature of bowling has also changed dramatically, with containment being just as important as taking wickets and “impact batters” being more influential than bowlers. This means that there is more risk to be taken, and more rewards in terms of boundaries.
But the rising run-rate hasn’t been a bother to IPL fans, as T20s have increased the popularity of cricket. With the IPL acting as a major money-spinner for franchises and the Board of Control for Cricket in India, this trend is likely to continue for seasons to come.
The 2023 season of the IPL has seen the most boundaries and sixes scored per game. There were 43.35 boundaries and 15.55 sixes scored per game, with sixes constituting 35.9% of the total boundaries scored (Table 2). This is the highest percentage in any season.
Chart 1 shows a near-uniform progression in the boundary-scoring rate over the years, except for the 2009 season. Played in South Africa, where the pitches are more friendly towards bowlers, the 2009 season saw a lower boundary-scoring rate.
Among batters who have faced at least 100 deliveries in the 2023 season, West Indian Nicholas Pooran of the Lucknow Super Giants had the highest strike rate of 194.59. South Africa’s Faf du Plessis, who plays for Royal Challengers Bangalore, tops the chart with the most sixes (27).
While it may take some time to beat Chris Gayle’s record of 357 sixes across 141 innings in the IPL, active batters Rohit Sharma (Mumbai Indians), M.S. Dhoni (Chennai Super Kings), Virat Kohli (RCB), and David Warner (Delhi Capitals) all have more than 200 sixes each.
Andre Russell (Kolkata Knight Riders) currently leads the charts for the highest strike rate in the 2023 IPL season with 175.42, followed closely by the Punjab Kings’ English import, Liam Livingstone, with a strike rate of 162.92.
The “power hitting” revolution in T20s has also increased the scoring rate in ODIs, but overall run rates continue to be lower compared to T20 cricket.
In conclusion, the IPL has come a long way in terms of its strike rate and run-rate over the years. With more teams focusing on power-hitting, it’s highly likely that we’ll see more new records broken in the years to come.
Table 2 | The table shows the boundaries scored (sixes and fours) per game in each IPL season
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Source: ESPNcricinfo’s Statsguru, Indian Premier League’s (IPL) official website
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