Are Teams Bowling More Spinners In Slog Overs Than Usual?
Spinners have bowled nearly 12% of the overs in the slog overs in IPL 2022.
Indian Premier League(IPL) 2022 has been all about pacers so far. The conditions in Maharashtra have been brilliant for fast bowlers to make use of the new balls to get movement, pace, and bounce.
The teams have tried to make sure that they have quality pacers in the playing XI to extract the most from the conditions that are offered, both in Mumbai and Pune. It is one of the reasons why pacers were given a heavy price tag while spinners went cheaply in the IPL 2022 Mega Auction.
With conditions assisting new ball movement, pace, and bounce throughout the inning - the teams are inclined to bowl more pace overs than spin even in the middle overs to continue with the pressure.
(Pacers have bowled 47.1% of middle overs till match 38 of the IPL 2022; in IPL 2021, nearly 44% of the middle overs were bowled by pacers.)
The conditions have also led to teams using spinners more scarcely than usual. With pacers operating almost equally in the middle overs, the teams are happy to play even one specialist spinner in the XI.
Another interesting trend that is being observed this season is teams pushing the overs of spinners and only bowling them whenever required. The preference has been for pacers - only 34% of the total balls have been bowled by spinners so far.
Now, since the teams are pushing the overs of the spinners and being aggressive in the first ten overs, bowling pacers - spinners are bowling more slog overs than usual.
In IPL 2020 and 2021, 96 overs were bowled by spinners in the slog overs (17-20); making up only 10% of the total balls bowled in the final four overs. However, in the first 38 matches of the IPL 2022 alone, spinners have bowled 12.04% of the slog overs.
In the 2022 season, the economy rate in the slog overs is 10.89 in 38 matches; spinners have picked 17 wickets at an average of 19 with an economy rate of 9.88.
In previous seasons, spinners were used more in the powerplay and it's not like they are not in this year but the teams are happy to keep spin overs to a minimum and only bowled if there is a favorable matchup. In powerplay, 72 overs have been bowled by spinners in the first 38 matches; in IPL 2021, the number was 134 till the end of the season and 119 in IPL 2020.
CSK have bowled the most spin overs in the powerplay - 18; which is interesting since they used spinners only four times in two seasons combined in IPL 2020 & 21 in the powerplay. The number has gone up because Chennai doesn't have a decent pace bowling lineup or at least two pacers who can find control with the new ball.
With more than 35 matches still left in the IPL 2022, it'll be interesting to see whether the conditions will continue to favor pacers or the spinners will finally come into the game more. Whichever way the conditions develop, watching spinners consistently being used in the slog overs gives a new sense of excitement.
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