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Data from the Dugout: Lynnsanity, Babar Azam & Malinga
Data from the Dugout

Data from the Dugout: Lynnsanity, Babar Azam & Malinga

Strategy: Lynnsanity

The most exciting strategic decision of the Indian Premier League so far has been Kolkata Knight Riders’ move to open with Chris Lynn, breaking up Robin Uthappa, who has moved to three, and Gautam Gambhir who have been KKR’s most prolific opening partnership ever, scoring 1593 IPL runs in 39 innings together, making them the most prolific and most regular opening partnership in IPL history. In his first match as opener Lynn blitzed 93 not out off just 41 balls, propelling KKR to a 10 wicket win and to a record IPL opening partnership of 184.

Even before the absence of Andre Russell forced KKR to rethink their batting strategy, the form of Chris Lynn in the Big Bash League, where he scored 309 runs at a run rate of 10.65 runs per over and the Caribbean Premier League, where he scored 454 runs at a run rate of 7.98 runs per over, was hard to ignore. How KKR could utilise him was unclear, with many suspecting he would slot into a middle order lacking firepower after Russell’s suspension.

KKR are not a slow-scoring team in the Powerplay—they ranked third for run rate in the phase last season—but it appears they recognised two things. One is that in a fast changing game where run rates are rising, Gambhir and Uthappa, with career run rates considerably lower than Lynn’s might not be the best pair to capitalise on the fielding restrictions in the first six overs and the second is that Lynn, who has historically struggled against spin bowling, can be best utilised at the top of the order when teams are keen to give the new ball to seam bowlers.

The move might ultimately fail, Lynn might be counteracted with a lot of spin early on or simply struggle for form, but the decision itself, one that sacrifices years of hard-earned stability for the potential of improvement, is one made by a team wary of standing still and that alone should be commended.

Statistics: The week in numbers


Babar Azam’s ODI average when batting at number three after his fifth century in the second ODI against West Indies. Of those to have played at least five innings at number three no one has a higher average than Azam.


The number of chases that Royal Challengers Bangalore have now lost consecutively after losing to Sunrisers Hyderabad in Match 1 of the IPL on Wednesday.


The highest score Mumbai Indians have failed to defend, when on Thursday in Match 2 Rising Pune Supergiant chased down that score with one ball to spare.


Higher first innings scores by Bangladesh in T20s than the 176-9 they managed in the second T20 international against Sri Lanka on Thursday. It was also Bangladesh’s highest T20 score against an ICC Full Member. No team have ever chased that many in a T20 international in Sri Lanka and that did not change, with the away team sealing a 1-1 series draw to go alongside their 1-1 draws in the Test and ODI series.


Bowlers to have taken four hat-tricks in international cricket: Wasim Akram, and now, Lasith Malinga.


T20 scores higher than Gujarat Lions’ 183 that have been chased down without the loss of a wicket, as happened in Match 3 on Friday. Kolkata Knight Riders’ run-chase, completed in 14.5 overs at a run rate of 12.40 is their highest ever in a 20-overs-a-side innings, surpassing the 11.10 against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the first ever IPL match, when Brendon McCullum, who was this time playing for Gujarat Lions, scored 158 not out.


The score that West Indies chased down in their first ODI against Pakistan. It is the first time that West Indies have successfully chased a score of more than 300 in ODI cricket; their previous highest run chase was of 297 v South Africa in 2004.


The number of wickets taken by Gujarat Lions in their first two matches of the season: they took none versus KKR and just one in Match 8 against SRH. They have bowled 30.2 overs and conceded 324 runs at an economy rate of 10.68 runs per over.


The number of T20 runs scored by David Warner when playing at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad - the most by any player.


Players who have scored more than 2000 IPL runs at a higher run rate than Kieron Pollard’s 8.85. Those players are AB de Villiers (8.96), Chris Gayle (9.18) and Virender Sehwag (9.32).