Amidst some posts and allegations that Chennai Super Kings team is devoid of local talent (and that other teams are brimming with the same!), I started collecting some statistics about the 16 IPL matches so far. Having started to collect data, I did not restrict myself to the local talent question. The variables I wanted to test (yeah, some jargon!) were: Number of locals (local means local, like Ganguly in Kolkata, unlike Murali Kartik in Kolkata), Nationality of Player of the match, Number of Lefties in the top 7 of batting order, Toss decision, Result for team winning the toss and whether the team that won had chased or defended. This entire analysis is based only on the first 16 matches of IPL and no prior T20 statistics have been incorporated.
First, the local talent part. As per the playing 11 of the teams in the 16 matches so far, 26.9% of the team composition is local. The cumulative number of locals was 95 out of 352(for 16*2*11: 16 for matches, 2 for number of teams per match, and 11 for number of players per team). So as per the average about 3 players (obviously rounded off) in each team should be proper local talent. So, it is to be accepted that teams like Rajasthan Royals and Chennal Super Kings are not meeting the cut in terms of giving opportunities to local talent pool. (For Chennai Super Kings defense: Get back Murali Kartik, Dinesh Kartik!)
Second, the nationality of the player of the matches. It may be called the Indian Premier League, but 13 out of the 16 MoM awards have gone to non-Indian players. The 3 from India are Virender Sehwag (Delhi Daredevils vs Hyderabad Deccan Chargers), Yousuf Pathan (Rajasthan Royals vs Deccan Chargers) and MS Dhoni (Chennai Super Kings vs Bangalore Royal Challengers). With the departure of some of the key foreign players, the count may now tilt towards the Indian players. Hey, apart from Sehwag, the so called icons (iconic players, heh!) like Yuvraj, Laxman, Dravid, Ganguly have done rather poorly so far. Tendulkar has not done anything. Hope he gets well soon.
Third, the lefties at the top of the order. The cumulative lefties count in the top 7 of batting order is 77 out of 224 (16 matches * 2 teams per match * 7 players per team), which comes close to 35% or 2.5 left handed batsmen in the top order. So, Chennai Super Kings with their 5 lefties are far above the cut. Is this the reason for their success so far?
Fourth, about whether the 20-20 format supports the defending team or the chasing team. Out of the 16 matches, an overwhelming 75% of the matches have been won by teams batting second. Of the 4 matches won defending, 3 had targets in excess of 200. In the other one, Bangalore Royal Challengers somehow managed to lose against Chennai Super Kings. As the commentators on Set Max put it, they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Bottom-line, very difficult to defend if the team batting first has not put up in excess of 200 or if the chasing team is not Bangalore!
Now, for the surprise element: Toss. In spite of knowing the success rate of the chasing team (75%), in 6 out of the 16 matches alone (or 37.5%) , the toss-winning captain has elected to bat first. No wonder, the toss-winning team has won only 5 out of the 16 or 31%. Given this, there is only one team has won the toss, chose to bat and still won. Easy guess, the team is Dhoni's Super Kings and they have done it twice. I know the saying (or the now proverb!), "Statistics are like bikinis, what they reveal is suggestive, what they hide is essential". But I see a pattern in this format in India in IPL which strongly favours the chasing team and not many in the team managements seem to notice it.
The spreadsheet which I used for this analysis (yes, I am idle) is available here.
Update 1: 17th Match: My hypothesis about the fate of defending or chasing. Proved right: the defending team won - my claim was one can defend if the score is more than 200 or if the opponent is Bangalore. Delhi safely defended against "Bangalore" in spite of scoring less than 200.