This season’s IPL has been different from the inaugural edition in a number of ways – it’s in South Africa instead of India, the pool of players available for selection has increased, and the initial surge of runs seems to have calmed down.
Of course, there are a wide range of theories to explain the difference between last year’s run bonanza (11 innings over 200) and this year’s competition (a highest innings of 189 so far). It could be that the change in venue (and the associated change in the time of day matches are played, to ensure prime-time viewing in India) has been the largest factor. It could be that bowlers have had more time to find ways of getting certain big-scoring players out (a number of the big scores last year involved large contributions by big-hitting individuals). It could be, alternatively, that the dynamic of the game has changed now that the best bowlers are developing ball-by-ball strategies more sophisticated than the general approach of bowling yorkers and bouncers alternately that was previously used by some.
Or, finally, it could all be a coincidence. The latter seems counterintuitive to me, though, as I’m fairly sure that there has also been a downward trend (of what degree of statistical significance, I cannot say) in the run-rates of Twenty20 Internationals as the format has ‘bedded down’. In a variation of the sport that is often said to favour bat over ball, it seems the batsmen aren’t having it all their own way.