The Melbourne Stars finished top of the league in BBL 2019-20, after dominating all the way thanks to the able leadership and performance of Glenn Maxwell along with some strong support from Marcus Stoinis.
Glenn Maxwell has been by far the most valuable player in the competition till now.
According to ESPNcricinfo's Smart Stats, which takes into account not just the runs scored and wickets taken but also the match context and quality of those runs and wickets, Maxwell had a total impact score of 859, some distance in front of second-placed Rashid Khan, who had a score of 784.
Although the Perth Scorchers did not make the finals, their fast bowler Jhye Richardson and captain Mitchell Marsh were good enough to find room among the five most valuable players. The leading run-getter of the competition at this stage, Stoinis, also made the top five with an impact score of 715.
Maxwell's impact was evident with both bat and ball. Although he has lost a bit of sting with the bat as the tournament has gone on, he had enough impact in the early stages to remain at pole position. His unbeaten 83 from 45 deliveries against the Melbourne Renegades after walking out at 54 for 3 chasing 169, was one of the best knocks of the competition. Maxwell the bowler has also made a significant impact. Although he has taken only seven wickets from 31 overs, his economy rate of 6.8 was the second best for anyone who bowled at least 150 deliveries.
Khan was the lone overseas player in the top five, with 18 wickets at an economy rate of 7.24. Khan's impact has been high mainly due to the situations he has bowled on, usually looking to break strong partnerships or control the run rate.
Batting impact score is derived taking into account Smart Runs (Factors taken are the innings run rate, required run rate at every ball when he scored his runs, the quality of opposition bowlers, wickets in hand, quality of batsmen to follow, and match situation) and the replacement benefit or cost to the team, as the case may be, if the batsman's performance is replaced with the match average.
Bowling impact score is derived taking into account Smart Economy and Smart Wickets (Factors taken are the phase in which he bowled, the current/required rate, the quality of batsmen dismissed, and the match context when he took his wickets) and the replacement benefit or cost to the team, as the case may be, if the bowler's performance is replaced with the match average. Impact Score is a sum of the batting and bowling impact scores in each match.
While batsmen have been impactful at various times, some bowlers have stood out with match-winning performances, key wickets at crucial stages of the game. Daniel Sams from the Sydney Thunder has been the best bowler in the BBL taking 25 wickets at 7.81 runs per over; 22 of them were that of top-six batsmen and at crucial stages of the game. Although Tom Curran was the second-highest wicket-taker in the tournament, Smart Stats found that Curran's 22 wickets were valued slightly less at 19 wickets - 36% of his wickets were of lower-order batsmen (positions 7 to 11) and were sometimes taken with no impact on the result.
In terms of Smart Wickets, Khan, Richardson and Wes Agar completed the top five. Richardson had a telling impact for the Scorchers, 13 of his 15 wickets were of top-seven batsmen and ten from the top five. Bowling the tougher overs in the Powerplay and the death, the impact Richardson had on the game was much higher than that of many others. Richardson's 15 wickets are therefore worth 17 because Smart Wickets takes into account the following:
The quality of batsman dismissed, so dismissing a top-order batsman fetches more points than dismissing a tail-ender
The score at which a batsman was dismissed, so dismissing a batsman for a single-digit score is more rewarding than getting him out for 60
The match situation at the time of the dismissal, so dismissing a batsman when the match is in the balance is worth more than getting him out when the result of the game is all but decided
Richardson has removed the best batsmen of the opposition more often than not and has been instrumental when the Scorchers have won. Agar has also played a key role for the Adelaide Strikers. He has bowled the harder overs and taken crucial wickets, like against the Hobart Hurricanes and the Stars
Smart Economy Rate
At the end of the league stage, some bowlers not only took wickets but also controlled the run flow. Smart Economy Rate evaluates this aspect of the game. In terms of Smart Economy Rate, which is calculated by dividing Smart Runs Conceded by overs bowled, Richardson was the best with an economy of 5.84. Coming in a close second is team-mate Fawad Ahmed, whose Smart Economy Rate was 5.88. Peter Siddle, Adam Zampa and Khan completed the top five. Interestingly, three of the top five bowlers are wristspinners.
Smart Stats is a part of Superstats, a new set of metrics by ESPNcricinfo to tell more enriching and insightful numbers-based stories. To know more about Superstats, click here
Note: All stats updated till end of the league stage