The use of time-outs in IPL cricket: a guest post by Krishna Tunga


Last week, Ron Smith wrote a guest post for the Clyde Street blog. One of his concluding remarks was “I wonder if some form of time out will be the next initiative IFAB discusses”.

This sent me off thinking about games in which time-outs do occur. Given that IPL cricket has had strategic time-outs for some time, I thought I would ask my friend Krishna Tunga to share the insights he has gained from his meticulous observation of IPL cricket using data from the 2018 IPL tournament.

Krishna’s analysis of cricket was recognised in the Shorter Wisden 2018. I think this was a delightful way to acknowledge the passion he has for the observation and analysis of cricket.

As a background to his post the regulations for IPLT20 stipulate:

11.6 Time-Outs

11.6.1 There will be two time-outs of 2 minutes 30 seconds in duration in each innings. The time-outs are to allow the teams to re-group tactically. Umpires and players must start to move back into their positions after 2 minutes in order to resume play when the countdown clock reaches zero seconds. (My emphasis)

11.6.2 Drinks may be brought out on to the field during the time-out. No practice is allowed.

11.6.3 Subject to clauses 11.6.4 and 11.6.8 below, the above-mentioned time-outs will occur in each innings of matches which are not Interrupted (such that the scheduled number of overs in respect of such innings remains 20) at the following times: (a) at the end of either the 6th,7th, 8th or 9th over at the election of the fielding team and (b) at the end of either the 13th, 14th 15th or 16th over at the election of the batting team.

Time-Out in Cricket

At Keith’s request, I have compiled data on time-outs from 58 of the 60 games played in this season’s IPL tournament. (Two games did not have time-outs due to reduced overs in the games.)

My short summary is:

Time-outs for bowlers have enabled bowling teams to limit run-rates after power plays. (My measure of this is the percentage of consecutive overs with 5 runs or less.)

Batting time-outs come at a time when the batting sides are accelerating their accumulation of runs.

I have looked closely at both sets of time outs in each innings of the games: Bowling (nBowl); and Batting (nBat). I thought it might be helpful to look at the nBowl+1, nBowl+2 over patterns as well as nBat+1 and nBat+2 overs before time-outs (Pre-TO).

First innings

Balls per wicket2733281514
Scoring rate56.7469.4470.0068.4568.41
Singles/ 100 balls3451504041
Boundary/ 100 balls1913141918
Sixes/ 100 balls54587

Second Innings

Balls per wicket2532262220
Scoring rate57.2466.0968.6069.4470.28
Singles/ 100 balls3348504644
Boundary/ 100 balls2012131517
Sixes/ 100 balls55456

I have also looked at what was happening before the time-outs: nBowl-1, nBowl-2 over patterns as well as nBat-1 and nBat-2 overs.

First Innings

Balls per wicket2740331114
Scoring rate56.7465.2864.8665.2866.25
Singles/ 100 balls3441414443
Boundary/ 100 balls1919181618
Sixes/ 100 balls56656

Second Innings

Balls per wicket2529351819
Scoring rate57.2465.5266.2462.6566.67
Singles/ 100 balls3343444142
Boundary/ 100 balls2020181316
Sixes/ 100 balls54567

There are more data to share from the IPL. This post is an initial response to Keith’s request … and I hope the start of a bigger conversation about strategic time-outs hinted at in Ron’s post about football.

I write about Indian and world cricket on my blog site All That Cricket. My Twitter account is @allthatcricket.

Photo Credits

IPL 2014 RRvRCB (Ramesh NG, CC BY-SA 2.0)

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