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Virat Kohli – AB de Villiers: The batting beasts at RCB in numbers

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A few days ago, I came across a tweet that highlighted how Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers have much better numbers while batting together than separately. This ignited my curiosity and I decided to dive deeper into the numbers and find out more about their partnership:

Let us start with the big stats, the Kohli-de Villiers partnership is the most prolific partnership in IPL history, with both a healthy average and an above-par run rate:


 

Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers started playing together for RCB since 2011. Since then, Virat has a lower average but higher strike-rate while batting with AB, and the reverse holds true for AB – higher average, lower strike-rate. Here are their respective numbers while batting with and without each other:


 

This partnership does have a big difference while batting first as compared to chasing. Both the average partnership as well as the run-rate are well ahead while setting a target than while chasing.


 

However, in won matches they have an amazing record in both situations, even though a vast difference remains. It is a bit surprising to note that although these two have a superior chasing record in international limited over matches, they don’t quite have the numbers in IPL to convey the same:


 

The numbers don’t change drastically whether they play at home or away. A slight increase in run-rate is observed, but that is to be expected while playing at the Chinnaswamy. The average drops 5 points at home though.


 

Let us break down the most successful IPL partnership by phase of the innings – Powerplay, Middle overs, and Death overs. These two are good at building their innings, and great at finishing it. For a minimum of 200 runs by any pair, their partnership run-rate of 13.6 is the best.


 

Now let us have a look at the records of this partnership against a couple teams:

Kohli-ABD have a partnership average of 50+ against Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Pune. From a small sample size of just 2 inns, they also average a stunning 140 against Gujarat mainly due to the record 229 run stand in 2016.

KXIP is the only team that manages to tie down this pair. In 7 innings against them, the pair averages just 17.0 and these come at a below par run rate as well – 7.29


 

Here is the breakdown of the average and run rate of the Kohli-ABD partnership against each type of bowling:


 

They have an amazing record against spin, barring right-arm wrist spin. That’s not to say the numbers against pace are bad by any means, but the way they have dominated spin makes their record against pace pale in comparison. Overall, they average 13 runs more against spin than pace, while the run-rate is lower against spin, but that can be attributed to facing spin more often during the middle overs, in which time they look to play risk-free.

Also, a point to note, the Kohli-de Villiers partnership is one of the most balanced ever in the IPL:

Virat Kohli faces 50.5% of the balls and scores 47.6% of the runs, while AB de Villiers faces 49.5% of the balls and scores 49.33% of the partnership runs, while both score at 8.8 and 9.3 RPO respectively.

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This is far more balanced than, say the Warner-Dhawan partnership (Warner scores 57.5% of the runs, while the same for Dhawan is only 37.7%) where Warner scores at 9.2 RPO and Dhawan scores at 7.2 RPO. (A difference of 2 RPO is essentially a difference of 33 in SR)

The amazing partnership that is Kohli-de Villiers, the combination of two of the heaviest scorers of modern-day cricket, will once again be in display in IPL 2020 in UAE. The question, though, is if RCB can find the right people around them for the batting unit to fire in unison.