The Importance of Powerplay Overs in IPL

What is Powerplay in an IPL game?

Powerplay in an IPL game is a mandatory fielding restriction imposed on every fielding side for the first six overs of the 20 over innings. This means that only two fielders can stay outside the inner circle, making the batting comparatively easy.

On the same note, it is also true that it could be a trap for the batsmen as this will get them to take a risk and lose their wickets in the first six overs.

After the end of the powerplay, i.e., 6 overs at the beginning, the fielding team can keep up to 5 players outside the inner circle, and 4 compulsory fielders must remain inside the inner circle.

How has Powerplay affected the previous IPL editions?

In IPL, the powerplay overs are considered to be the pillars of any team’s victory. Former Australia cricketer Dean Jones, currently a panelist on Star Sports Select Dugout, says he would like to try to win the Powerplay overs because overall, in IPL cricket, 74% of the teams winning it, goes on to win a match.

That is a huge stat to know!

IPL has seen players like Sunil Narine opening, which is a rare scenario even in Narine’s home country team, the West Indies side. The best part about that is that the move worked wonders for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). Particularly in that year (2017), Chris Lynn and Sunil Narine helped KKR to the highest ever powerplay score in the IPL history. Against a woefully misfiring Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) bowling attack, the opening duo added 105 runs from the first six overs. It enabled their team to overtake the previous mark of 100 runs set by Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the 2014 edition. Such was the impact.

Other top-order batters used the power play overs to its full use. For instance, Suresh Raina, Dwayne Smith, Brendon Mccullum, Quinton de Kock, Chris Gayle, Robin Uthappa, and KL Rahul in powerplay overs are/were always a treat to watch. The most important part is that whenever these batsmen went roaring on the powerplay overs, their teams won.

To prove it statistically, when we checked the matches where the teams scored the top 5 highest powerplay scores, they ended up winning the game 4 out of 5 times.

What to expect of the powerplay overs in the future of IPL?

IPL looks so promising to be an enthralling competition. The teams are equally bundled, and the coaching teams have already started their preparations for the big event every Indian summer.

Especially on the Powerplay overs, the teams must start brainstorming and analyzing things on the top 3 batsmen for their team. They must have a clear idea of the importance of starting the innings big and how it will impact the overall game.

For instance, in competitions like Big Bash tournament in Australia, Nathan Coulter Nile, primarily a bowler, had been used at No.3 as a banger. In a game against Sydney Sixers, Melbourne Stars star was sent in as a pinch-hitter to up the ante, and arguably, he did his job, scoring 11 off 6 balls (1 four and 1 six).

Watch Nathan having a go in a Big Bash game:

We have also seen Sunil Narine clicking better for Kolkata Knight Riders for a season or two.

Likewise, we can expect many surprising cameos, and the teams must be working on it already. The advantage of using a bowler’s banging ability in the powerplay overs at the beginning of the innings reduces the risk. Even if the player gets out, the team will not be losing much in their batting assets.

There is always a huge demand for the openers in every IPL auction. Jason Roy, the English opener, gets constantly picked by some team or other even after his failures in the tournament’s previous editions. They need Roy’s powerful strokes when they travel to some of the batting-friendly venues in the country.

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And for the same reason, Chris Lynn was picked by Mumbai Indians, and Aaron Finch joined RCB before.

Finally, instead of just getting a banger, we will also see coaches starting to approach the powerplay overs mathematically. They will start fixing targets and want their openers to go for that in any cases.

With BBL and Hundred trying to bring in new inventions in the format of the game, days are not so long for IPL to bring in some new value-adding attributes. It may be a single point for the team that wins the powerplay overs, which can make it more interesting for the viewers. Trust me, I am not a fan of these, but one cannot deny things destined to happen.

So what do you think will change in the way IPL teams approach Powerplay overs in the future?

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