New Delhi: 38 matches of IPL 2023 have been done and dusted till now, which have produced 20 totals upwards of 200. It is the most 200+ totals seen in a season of the tournament, comfortably surpassing the tally of 18 such totals seen in 2022.
That's not all though - scoring rates are currently at 8.91 in IPL 2023, the most in a season of the tournament, with 8.64 in 2018 and 8.54 in 2022 being the next overall run-rates. Plus, there have been seven instances of both teams scoring 200+ in the same match, which is also the most ever in an edition of IPL surpassing five such occasions seen in 2022.
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So, what can be the reasons behind this surge in 200+ totals and run rates this year? Legendary India leg-spinner Anil Kumble reckons the impact player rule introduced in IPL 2023 has led to skyrocketing totals and run-rates touching new heights.
"The rule is certainly still evolving. But having said that, it has certainly made an impact on freeing up a few of the batters. You can see a lot more 200+ scores this season than perhaps what we saw in the previous seasons at this stage of the tournament. According to me, it's because you have an extra batter and bowler (to get into the playing eleven)."
"So, you basically have a perfect all-rounder in your team despite not having one. Previously, most teams had one or one-and-a-half all-rounders and different kinds of challenges. But this season, every team can fill that gap by using the impact player."
"In my view, it is still evolving, like people are still using or focusing too much on impact player and then pick their eleven. Some teams have looked to use impact player very effectively. But a lot of 200+ scores have happened this season due to the impact player rule," said Kumble, an IPL expert for JioCinema, in a select virtual media interaction.
Apart from impact player rule fuelling a surge in runs this year, it has also led to spinners benefitting too. As of now in IPL 2023, spinners have taken 192 wickets, which is the highest ever in any season of the tournament.
It can be put down to certain teams like Gujarat Titans, Lucknow Super Giants, Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders playing two leg-spinners in tandem on quite a many occasions.
Like, Kolkata have used Suyash Sharma in their bowling innings as an impact substitute while Lucknow and Rajasthan used the same tactic to put the services of Amit Mishra and Adam Zampa respectively into use during their bowling innings. It is a strategy which has certainly caught Kumble's eye.
"It all depends on what the team management wants to do and how they use the impact player rule and which possible player would suit the team against a said opposition. So, I would always use an additional leg-spinner (through the impact player rule) as I am a bit biased towards leg-spin."
"We did a talking tactics show a few days ago, where I did one on RCB and said Karn Sharma would have been their impact player. But they are obviously hamstrung about Faf (du Plessis, regular skipper) being unfit and had to use him as their impact player. Teams have used impact player to their advantage (in bringing another leg-spinner) and it's something which will constantly evolve."
"Some teams have even chased above 200 or came close to the score. Even in Chennai, Lucknow lost narrowly in chasing 200+ score. These kinds of scenarios are made to happen because of the impact player rule, where the batters can go hard now. Similarly, from a bowling perspective, you can defend, as you have the additional option, of using a spinner or fast bowler. But yes, teams mostly have used leg-spinners, like Amit Mishra has come and did it for Lucknow Super Giants quite a few times," he elaborated.
Kumble also feels Lucknow has been using impact player rule really well in IPL 2023, though he pointed out that the side made an error by not using full quota of Mishra's overs in their narrow seven-run defeat to Gujarat last week at home.
"I thought they are very consistent with how they use it, at least for the first few games. Now everyone, with regards to Gujarat Titans, they have used the impact player rule very well, with Joshua Little coming in and bowling through that."
"So, teams have used that well, but Lucknow has a very standard template in using their impact player. They used Gowtham when the opposition had too many left-handers or bring Mishra in. In their last game against Gujarat (at Lucknow), they used impact player rule very well. But they should have probably completed Amit Mishra's overs, something which they didn't do," he concluded.