By Ronan Alexander
Jaffna Kings made it a hat trick of consecutive LPL triumphs after defeating Colombo Stars by two wickets yesterday. Thisara Perera’s side ended the group stage in second place and overcame table toppers Kandy Falcons and then the Stars to clinch the title.
From the team batting stats, we can see that the top two sides from the league phase were both the most stable and fastest scoring teams. What does come as a surprise is that they were the bottom two ranked teams for six hitting. Colombo Stars were the best six hitting team, with four batters hitting at least seven sixes (Asalanka 12, Bopara 9, Chandimal 8, Mathews 7). Bottom side Dambulla also ranked well in the six hitting department, with Jordan Cox, Dasun Shanaka and Shevon Daniel the main standouts. However, they just lost wickets too regularly and as the bowling stats show, they were very poor, leading to them winning only two out of eight matches. Galle were rather disappointing across the board. Jaffna and Kandy were the best strike rotators as Hasaranga 91 & Bandara 87 (Kandy) and Shoaib Malik 83 & Samarawickrama 79 (Jaffna), topped the charts for non-boundary strike rate.
Each team ranks in the same place for each metric, making it quite a satisfying table to look at. I wanted to add in boundary stats, but at the time of writing, Cricmetric wasn’t fully updated and Cricinfo (where I got the stats) don’t track boundaries for bowlers. The top two teams in the league were the best bowling sides. Galle ranked third, but their poor batting let them down. Colombo, although making it to the final, didn’t have that good a league phase, losing more games than they won, but came alive in the knockout phases to finish runners up. Dambulla were extremely bad in all departments with the ball. Taking the least wickets and going for the most runs per over. They used 16 bowlers in the comp, joint most with Colombo. Apart from Matthew Forde who joined for the last three games and played a key part in both their wins, everyone else was poor. However, the 20-year-old West Indian grabbed 7 wickets @ 7.14 with an economy of 5.55 in his impactful stint.
Moving on to players, let’s take a look at the top performers in the competition through a range of different metrics beginning with the top run scorers and wicket takers.
Top run scorers
Top wicket takers
Strike Rate v Balls per dismissal (batters who faced >70 balls)
Dasun Shanaka had the highest strike rate in the competition, with several quick cameos to his name and a high score of 44. Wanindu Hasaranga’s strike rate looks great but is a bit misleading. In the penultimate match he struck 77*(34). If you take out that knock, he scored 41 runs in 6 innings at an average of 8, striking at only 108. Rahmanullah Gurbaz was at his usual best and Jordan Cox did well from the top of the order, which is a slightly different role for him, as he more often bats in the middle order. Sadeera Samarawickrama had the highest balls per dismissal making him the most stable batter in the tournament and had an above average strike rate which earned him the player of the tournament award.
Boundary Percentage v Balls per six (batters who faced >70 balls)
There were nine batters who posted above average boundary percentages and balls per six. Unsurprisingly, Gurbaz was the standout. Andre Fletcher also did well, mainly due to his ton in the opening match which saw him get dropped a remarkable four times. Jordan Cox again did well, and Dominic Drakes added some useful boundaries at the end of the innings for Colombo. The biggest disappointment in the batting department was Bhanuka Rajapaksa who only managed 95 runs in seven innings, averaging 13 with a strike rate of 106. He almost had to hold the Dambulla batting together, and he failed to do so, which is a key factor in why they were so poor.
Balls per wicket v Economy Rate (bowlers with >15 overs)
19-year-old left arm spinner Dunith Wellalage had the best economy rate in the tournament. Nobody else on the list achieved under a run-a-ball, so to go at 4.55 is rather impressive. Carlos Brathwaite took wickets the most regularly and was potent especially in the powerplay. Emerging player of the tournament Vijayakanth Viyaskanth did brilliantly for Jaffna and really filled their leg-spinning hole after the departure of Hasaranga in the off-season. Fabian Allen was astute when used and the dot just below him without a label is Kasun Rajitha who made Colombo tick with the ball. Imad Wasim and Noor Ahmad, despite going at just over 6rpo, couldn’t find regular wickets. Benny Howell was uncharacteristically more expensive than usual, although did still pick up wickets in tough periods of the game.
Team of the tournament
Honourable mentions: Binura Fernando, Kamindu Mendis, Andre Fletcher, Dinesh Chandimal, James Fuller, Maheesh Theekshana.
Player of the tournament