IPL Preview – Rajasthan Royals

Hello i’m back with the next preview for this years IPL. As i say in the start of all of these posts its part of a series please go check out the others let me know what you think and your thoughts its definitely going to be an exciting league this year.  Today we are covering the Rajasthan Royals a team with a chequered history. They won the league in the inaugural year in 2008 but since then its been poor performances on on the wicket and controversy off it, (Rajasthan were expelled for two seasons). Already this year they have lost their captain Steve Smith so are lead by Ajinkya Rahane.

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Overall for number of players Rajasthan have the third smallest squad however its pretty similar to some of the other squads therefore I don’t think its an issue. With regards to ages there is a good grouping around peak age as well as a few players at the top ages which will be helpful. Experience is where it starts to go a bit downhill for the royals with clearly the least experienced team in the competition.

royals tree

The treemap shows that the Royals have spent big on a number of key players. In all categories. One of the key players in Steve Smith will not be playing therefore that leaves a big hole in the batting line up. They will be hoping that the big money spent on all star all round Ben stokes can help overcome his loss. Its clear the Royals have spent big then filled the rest of the roster with cheaper players to supplement the big players.

royal batt

Unfortunately the batting when viewed the same way we have viewed all the other teams so far looks pretty weak. Especially when you remove Steve Smith from that line up.  They have a couple of batsmen with decent strike rates but no one to play the long innings. This could mean they struggle post big totals or chase big totals down.

royals all

Things look a bit better when the all rounders are looked at. There is a good spread of good bowling all rounders to supplement the bowling attack and batting all rounders the help the batting line up. This seems to be the most complete squad when it comes to all rounders.

royals bowl

The bowling attack could be the weakest area of the team. The whole attack is the the right hand side of the graph which means they could be conceding a lot of runs. Therefore without the batting line up without Steve Smith present could be struggling to chase down runs.

In summary I think that despite there obvious strength with all rounders, the weak batting line up missing Steve Smith and the poor bowling attack could mean the Royals are in for a season of struggle.


IPL Preview – Mumbai Indians

Hello and welcome to the next IPL preview. This is part of a series of 8 posts looking at all the team playing in the IPL this year trying to look at the weaknesses and strengths in each squad. All the others are on the blog so please go check them out let me know your thoughts. Today we are covering the Mumbai Indians, the holders of the title and the favourites for this years competition. Mumbai are possibly the most successful team in the IPL and have a big reputation to live up to. They are coached by the great Sri Lankan Mahela Jayawardene and captained by Rohit Sharma.

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Mumbai have the largest squad in this years competition so will be interesting to see if the squad is quantity and quality.  Overall Mumbai are one of the younger squads in the IPL this year however most of the players are clustered around the peak ages which could be an advantage. Finally in terms of IPL experience it is definitely on the lower end however they do have a couple of players with lots of experience. This seems to be a well structured squad for age and experience so lets look where the money was spent.

mumbai treem

Mumbai seems to be another team which has spread its money between batsmen, all rounders and fast bowlers. The big money has been spent on Rohit Sharma the captain and who the pressure will rest on to get them up to the big scores.

mumbai batsmen

Overall the batting line up looks extremely strong with generally high strike rates and a few batsmen able to the play long innings that underpin the big scores. I really like the balance here this is clearly a squad that has been well thought out.

mumbai all rounders

The Mumbai all rounders could be the slight weak spot. They are still generally good however compared to some of the others are maybe lacking in the bowling or batting facet depending on the player.

mumbai bowlers Finally the bowling attack looks excellent. Two bowlers in the attack able to take wickets and restrict runs which is the perfect combination.

Overall Mumbai is clearly a well balanced and though through squad. The money has been spent well across all departments and I can see why they have the tag as favourites. whether i agree with that though we will have to see what the rest of the teams have to offer.

IPL Preview – Kolkata Knight Riders

Hello and welcome to another of my IPL previews today’s is looking at the Kolkata Knight Riders. If you want to look at the others there all in the blog so go and check them out. The team from Kolkata have been in the competition since it was founded and won the tournament in 2012 and 14 under the stewardship of Trevor Bayliss. Since 2016 Jacques Kalis has been the head coach. They will be hoping to go further then the play offs this year. So lets dissect their squad see if that might be possible.

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The first thing that stands out is that the Knight Riders have by far the smallest roster in the competition. Will this cause issue an issue if players are out of form or injuries. Loking at the average ages for the squad it looks like there is a good spread of ages and also experience of the IPL which should stand them in good stead.

kolkate tree

The treemap above shows each player in the Kolkata squad with how much they cost in the IPL auction. What stands out that in three key areas of the team they decided to spend big one name. This should mean they have a spine in the team of top world class players and therefore Kolkata could be a team of seeing how the other players play around the top players.

kolkata batsmen Overall the batsmen are generally high strike rates which will give them a good chance of scoring good runs. They seem to be lacking in batsmen who will stick around however the two batsmen they have that will do that could allow the ones with the higher strike rates to play around them. This therefore could be a well balanced batting lineup.

kolkata all rounder

on the all rounder front there seems 2 out of the three all rounders are much more bowling all orunders then batting. This will therefore strengthen the bowling attack more then normal all rounders at the expense of the batting line up.

kolkata bowlers

Finally we look the bowlers, in which Kolkata’s big problem is shown. To start with there are only 4 bowlers in the squad and only three of them have a twenty 20 record. When you add in the fact their top bowler, Mitchell Stark, is currently out injured and probably wont play in the competition. This could then mean the team lack the required firepower in order to win matches. It is also where having a small squad is going to hurt them as they dont have many options for replacement.

In summary I think despite what appears to be a well balanced batting line the lack of numbers for all rounders and in the weakness in the bowling attack could mean Kolkata are in for a struggle in this years competition. It will be interesting to see what they do to cover for Starc and times ticking for them tov come up with a plan as opening game is less then a week away as i write this.

IPL Preview 3 – Kings XI Punjab

Hello welcome to the third of my previews ahead of this years IPL. If you didn’t check out the other two on the Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Daredevils then please go check them out let me know what you think. Today we look at Kings XI Punjab. The Kings are captained by R Ashwin and coached by Brad Hodge. Despite being in every edition of the IPL they have never won the competition ending up beaten finalists in 2014. Since then though there has been a poor showing finishing bottom in 2 of the last three years. Kings fans will hope this is the year the team starts to look up.

The first thing that stands out in the graphs above is that Kings have the second smallest roster. I have changed the average age graph to now plot each individual players age rather then just the average. For Kings you can see that most of their players are within a tight range however they also have two of the oldest players in the league. When you review number of IPL games they are one of the least experienced teams in the league. Most of the squad is on the lower end of the graph therefore experience could be an issue for this squad.

punjab treemap

The money spent for Kings seems to have been spent quite evenly. However when they have spent money on all rounders they have spent relatively highly. The most money has been spent on fast bowlers so hopefully that is reflected in the graphs later. It is really interesting to see the variations on how the teams money has been spent and maybe a weakness here could be they haven’t spent big on one player as a talisman.

punja batting

On the face of it this looks a formidable batting line up with a number of players in the high run rate long innings category and high strike rates in general. This could mean the kings will be high runs scorers particularly in the top order and it will be fascinating to see this batting line up in action.

pun jab all rounders

Now on the face of it the all rounders look OK however when you consider the Kings apparent best all rounder has never played an IPL game and that record is from the lower twenty 20 competition in India, Things don.t look so good. Overall I don’t think this is the strongest area of the squad though generally the bowling does seem pretty economical.

punjab bowlers

The bowling attack for Kings seems to be the weak spot. Despite the bowling attack being the area where most money was spent it looks clearly weak. Although it general seems at the lower end of the bowling average the attack definitely looks to have in general higher economy rates.

Overall I think Kings have a formidable batting line up however an equally weak bowling attack. Therefore i would watch out for the Kings as their matches could be some of the most exciting games in this years competition.

IPL Preview- Delhi Daredevils

Hello and welcome to the second of my previews of this years IPL. If you didnt catch my first one on the Chennai super kings please go check it out let me know what you think. Today’s preview is focusing on the Delhi Daredevils. The Delhi daredevils were one of the founding members of the IPL however they have been less then successful. They have never won the competition and in the last 5 editions of the competition have never got any further than the league stage.


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Delhi have the second largest roster in the competition which is one of the youngest squads and consequently one of the least experienced. Their captain Gautam Ghambir is their most experienced player and they only have 3 players with over 100 IPL games experience.

dehli treemap

The treemap above shows which areas of the squad the most money was spent on. Overall it looks quite balanced spending across the whole of the squad. The most money has been spent on All rounders with strong twenty 20 all rounders like Glenn Maxwell and Chris Morris. There seem also to be a good strong spin options within the team so look out for Delhi to be strong one turning pitches.

dehli batsmen

Above is the summary of the batsmen and wicket keepers record in twenty 20. On the face of it they look a little underwhelming with the squad seeming to lack one gun twenty 20 batsmen. Overall they seem to have a few batsmen with decent twenty strike rates but seem to lacking in the ability to score big runs. This could mean this team could struggle to reverse their misfortunes in this competition.

delhi all rounders The all rounders is were the picture is slightly rosier. Delhi seem to have a good selection of all rounders who are both strong with the bat and ball with also good economy rates. This looks to be the strongest area of the team and with weak batting is an area of the team which must fire if they are going to be successful

delhi bowling

The bowling attack looks to be the weakest area of the team. With most of the bowlers in the low threat high runs box the worst box on the graph. With only one bowler who looks to be able to take wickets and keep the score in check. This is only going to further put pressure on the all rounders in the team.

Overall Delhi despite having an obvious good selection of all rounders the squad seems lacking in a few critical areas therefore I don’t think this will be the year Delhi wins the trophy.


IPL – Chennai Super Kings

Welcome to the first of my preview posts for this years IPL. In these posts I intend to review each squad of the 8 teams one by one in order to attempt to dissect each teams strength and weaknesses and finally decide which are the better squads. The first squad is going to be Chennai Super Kings. The kings are returning back to the IPL after 2 seasons which they were banned. Chennai have won the IPL twice in 2010 and 11 and have their talisman captain MS Dhoni back for this season.

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The initial squad view is above. The big thing that stands out for Chennai is they have by far the most experienced squad in the IPL and the oldest squad. This will be interesting way to view their performances does age and experience help in the IPL.

Below you can see an overview of how the Chennai squad is made up with less batsmensquad make upn and all rounders then the league average but more Fast and Spin bowlers. This could be at strategy to ensure the team takes enough wickets in order to win matches. Knowing you have one of the best twenty20 batsmen in MS Dhoni means you can afford to carry less batsmen. treemap chennai

Now you can see the breakdown of the squad by type of player based on their value in the IPL auction. The main thing that stands out is that despite lower numbers batsmen and all rounders most of the budget has been spent on batsmen, all rounders and a wicket keeper. Will this mean that despite there high numbers will the bowling attack be the week link for Chennai?


Above is a summary of the Chennai Super King batsmen with the twenty 20 average plotted against the strike rate. The Chennai batsmen and wicket keepers seem to be well balanced.

All Rounders

The plot above shows all the all rounders in the IPL 2018 with the all rounds on the Chennai roster in blue. The size of the dots represent the rank of the economy rate for all the players. The smaller the dot the lower the economy rate rank. As you can see three of the all rounders in the squad are pretty average there not particularly batting or bowling all rounders. The key player in this department is undoubtedly Shane Watson who in twenty 20 games looks to be skilful with the bat and ball.

Finally you can see a look at the bowlers plotting there twenty 20 economy rate against

csk bowl

their twenty 20 bowling average. Whats impressive about this is the high amount of bowlers in the bottom left part of the graph despite what on the face of it looks like a low amount of money spent. This should mean that the Chennai attack is able to both take wickets and restrict opposition teams.

Should Middlesbrough Sack Monk?

Middlesbrough started the season as the undisputed favourites to win the Sky bet Championship and gain promotion back to the Premier League. This came from the chairman’s publicly stated ambition to “smash the league” and a total transfer spend of over £40 million (although net transfer spend was only around £15 million). There was high hopes across Teesside that the newly put together team would be able to do just that. However things haven’t turned out anything like that for the Teessiders. In the wake of Saturday nights chastening defeat to Bristol City the team are now 14 points behind Cardiff City and the second automatic promotion place.

I want to try and cut through the opinion and look at one graph which probably wont give a definitive answer on the question above however will inform some views on how Steve Gibson should be thinking.

middlesbrough Trend

The graph above plots the points per game. For reference I have added the points per game on average required to avoid relegation, reach the playoff and achieve automatic promotion. On that I have plotted the actual points per game and the expected points per game, which is the critical piece of information. The expected points if derived from expected goals for each match and I have included it as that value will give an understanding of the luck. If a team was outperforming expected points then they could be termed as lucky and vice versa. Reviewing the trend for Middlesbrough this has unfortunately not being the case. Their actual points is within 2 points of the expected points therefore i think they are exactly were there performances deserve to be. This is bad news for Gary Monk as this performance is far below what i expect the minimum expectation was for the season, automatic promotion. I wouldn’t say this definitely means he should sacked however this is not good statistics. I will do further posts over the week to dissect if there are any clear reasons why.