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Smart Stats - Russell still the MVP, Hardik pushes Pollard out of top batting spot

Hardik Pandya goes down the ground BCCI

Hardik Pandya's jaw-dropping assault on Kolkata Knight Riders, albeit in a losing cause, is the most impactful batting performance of this IPL according to ESPNcricinfo's Smart Stats. In addition to runs scored and strike rate, Smart Stats take into account the match situation and pressure on the batsman - quantified using factors such as the required run-rate, wickets in hand, strength of the bowlers with overs left, and the pressure (or the lack thereof) on the batsman because of the quality of his batting partners.

Hardik walked in at a stage when Mumbai Indians were practically out of the match, with 175 required from 70 balls. He proceeded to smash 91 from just 34 balls. At the start of the 18th over, in which he got out, Mumbai required 59 off 18 balls, which given what had happened so far in the game and indeed in this IPL so far, wasn't an impossible ask.

Mumbai could have run Knight Riders much closer had Hardik got more support from batsmen at the other end - from the time he walked in to the close, the others scored only 44 from 36 balls; while he was there, they scored 31 in 24 balls. Keeping all the factors in mind, Hardik's innings had 187.07 impact points. This trumped Kieron Pollard's 31-ball 83 against Kings XI Punjab as the most impactful batting performance of this IPL.

The other new entry in the top five of the list also came in a losing cause. Dinesh Karthik's career-best 97 made it to the third position with 176.1 impact points. Much like Hardik's, the innings by the Knight Riders captain stood out for being a lone hand. While he struck at 194, the other batsmen contributed at the rate of less than a run a ball. Smart Stats also takes into account the pressure on the batsman due to fall of wickets: four batsmen were dismissed while Karthik was at the crease and none of the other batsmen scored more than 21 runs.

Jonny Bairstow's 56-ball 114 and Rishabh Pant's unbeaten 27-ball 78 complete the top five.

The two new entrants this week pushed out Sanju Samson's hundred against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Prithvi Shaw's 99 off 55 against Knight Riders from the top five.

None of the bowling performances in the two weeks since the last update made the top five. Piyush Chawla's 3 for 20 against Rajasthan Royals - in a loss, again - was the top-ranked effort with the ball in this period with an impact score of 96.7.

Hardik's effort with the bat against Knight Riders was also enough to top the chart for the total impact (batting and bowling) any player has had in a match this season. Andre Russell's match-winning all-round performance against Mumbai was at No. 2 with an impact score of 186.7. The third sport was Russell's too: the 25-ball 65, which took his team within ten runs of Royal Challengers Bangalore's 213 from a seemingly hopeless situation in the 12th over when Knight Riders had lost four wickets for just 79 runs. On that occasion, Russell had an excellent outing with the ball too, returning an economy rate of 5.66 from three overs when over 400 runs were scored in the match. Pollard's 83 against Kings XI and Karthik's 97 round up the top five most impactful match performances of the season.

Four of the 20 most impactful match performances of this IPL season have come from Russell, the most valuable player of the season by a distance with an aggregate impact score of 1038. If anyone has come close to matching Russell's power-hitting and all-round ability, it has been Hardik. But he is a distant second with an impact score of 637. The incredibly consistent Sunrisers Hyderabad opening partners David Warner and Bairstow slot in at third and fifth, respectively, kept apart by Chris Gayle who is at No. 4.

Batting impact score is derived taking into account Smart Runs, which are actual runs scored by batsmen adjusted for the match context and situation, and the replacement benefit or cost to the team, as the case may be, if the batsmen's performance is replaced with the match average.

Bowling impact score is derived taking into account Smart Economy and Smart Wickets, which are runs conceded and wickets taken by bowlers adjusted for the match context and situation, 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.

Match impact score is an aggregation of Batting and Bowling impact scores

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.