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IPL 2024 has witnessed a deluge of 200+ totals: Is the ‘Impact Player’ rule adding more excitement?

IPL 2024: There have been 24 totals on and above 200 from 42 games so, far this season. Is Impact Player rule really adding excitement to the tournament?


IPL 2024: Jos Buttler scored 107 off 60 balls against KKR | Walking Wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_IPLT20)
Buttler scored 107 off 60 balls against KKR as Impact Player (Images: ©BCCI/IPLT20)

The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 is seeing a deluge of runs being scored with 200-plus becoming more frequent. So far till April 26, IPL 2024 has seen as many as 24 totals of 200 or more in 42 matches. Even 200 is not considered a safe total anymore. Four times a target of 200 or more has been chased down while two such targets were narrowly missed by 4 runs and 1 run on two occasions, respectively. 


Punjab Kings (PBKS) posted the highest successful chase in T20 history when they made 262/2 against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in match no 42 of IPL 2024. Besides, this edition has also seen seven 250-plus scores already. With almost half of the matches remaining in this edition, IPL 2024 could see more such 200-plus totals. 



So, what is the reason behind such vast improvement in 200-plus scores in this edition?

This could be mainly due to the ‘Impact Player’ rule in IPL 2024. This rule allows a team to substitute a player with another of the same or different skill set at any time of the game. 


How have the teams used this rule to their benefit?

A team batting first packs its XI with an extra specialist batter to lengthen or deepen their batting, and substitute that player with a specialist bowler or bowling all-rounder when their turns come to defend the total.


How does this help the team batting first?

With a cushion of an extra batter, the team batting first go all out in the powerplay, attacking every ball to make the best use of the field placements. This extra batter helps them play fearless cricket and force the bowling attack to submission. 


A case in point is the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) batting unit. They have been lethal in powerplay, with the duo of Travis Head and Abhishek Sharma posting a record powerplay score of 125/0 in just 6 overs against Delhi Capitals (DC). They have given such starts for the team consistently. When fielding, they substitute a specialist batter with a bowler to restrict the opposition. Specialist batter Head has been substituted by SRH regularly. 


Even if there is a mini-collapse due to this fearless batting, the cushion of an extra batter makes up for it. And it is because of this extra batter, scores of 175-plus is an average score in IPL 2024. For example, in the Hyderabad vs Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) clash, SRH were reduced to 85/6 while chasing 207 for a win. But, they still managed to score 171 in the end.



How does this help the team fielding first?

The same logic applies here. A team fielding first packs an extra bowler in their line-up, and replaces him with a specialist batter or batting all-rounder when chasing. 


But why has this rule been criticised of late?

Players such as Rohit Sharma have criticised this rule, stating “you are taking out so much from the game just because of a little bit of entertainment…” He said this impact rule is not helping all-rounders as they are not getting the opportunity to showcase their secondary skill. 


For example, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) player Shivam Dube, who is being used mostly as a spin-hitter in the middle-overs is later being substituted for a specialist death bowler in Matheesha Pathirana. For the record, all-rounder Dube is having a great season with the bat in IPL 2024, aggregating 311 runs at a strike rate of 169.94 in 8 matches. But, he is yet to bowl in the tournament so far. Hence, his chance to be selected as an all-rounder for 2024 World T20 as a direct competitor to Hardik Pandya is directly affected due to this rule.



IPL 2024_ Shivam Dube has 176 runs at an average of 44 _ Walking Wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_IPLT20)
Shivam Dube has been effective as Impact Player for CSK (Images: ©BCCI/IPLT20)

Let’s see how impact players have done so far in IPL 2024.

Here’s how impact player has fared in some of the matches that involved totals of 200-plus in IPL 2024 so far. (Stats till April 26 match between KKR vs PBKS)

Impact Player

Performance

Score

Match

Winner

Abhishek Sharma (SRH)

32 (19)

204/7

SRH vs KKR


Suyash Sharma (KKR)

2-18

208/7

SRH vs KKR

KKR

Anuj Rawat (RCB)

25 (14)

262/7

RCB vs SRH


Mayank Markande (SRH)

2-46

287/3

RCB vs SRH

SRH

Jos Buttler (RR)

107 (60)

224/8

KKR vs RR

RR

Vaibhav Arora (KKR)

1-45

223/6

KKR vs RR


Sai Sudharsan (GT)

65 (39)

220/8

DC vs GT


Rasikh Salam (DC)

3-44

224/4

DC vs GT

DC

Prabhsimran Singh (PBKS)

54 (20)

262/2

KKR vs PBKS

PBKS

Anukul Roy (KKR)

2-36

261/6

KKR vs PBKS


Suryakumar Yadav (MI)

0 (2)

186/6

MI vs CSK


Matheesha Pathirana (CSK)

4-28

206/4

MI vs CSK

CSK

Going by the list, it could be pointed out that an impact player as a batter has won the match for his team three times or contributed heavily towards the victory. The biggest impact was made by Jos Buttler of Rajasthan who cracked 107* against Kolkata to chase down a score of 224. 


Ashutosh Sharma, another impact player for Punjab Kings, made a great impression when he came down to bat at No 8 and scored a quick cameo of a 17-ball 31 to help the team chase down 200 against Gujarat Titans.


Prabhsimran Singh made another impression as an Impact Player when he scored a 20-ball 54 as Punjab Kings chased down a record target of 262 against Kolkata.


In comparison, a bowler as an Impact Player had a telling effect only once so far when Matheesha Pathirana took 4/28 to restrict MI for 186/6 and defend a score of 206/4. There were two more Impact player spells that led to three-wicket hauls and a win for the team.


However, it must be noted that a batting blitzkrieg overshadows a bowling spell as fours and sixes make much more impact and have a high visibility. Hence, Impact Player is mostly read as adding depth to the batting unit.



The way forward

IPL 2024 has seen a different brand of cricket being followed by teams. They have been fearless, attacking, piling tall scores and hitting more sixes and fours, as an extra player gives them the freedom to play in such a fashion. It adds depth to the batting unit, and even provides an extra bowler, but at the cost of an all-rounder. 


Overall, IPL 2024 is serving great entertainment to fans as huge scores, more fours and sixes, and thrilling chases are adding more excitement to the game. 


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