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Archer, Agarwal and Samson take early Smart Stats honours

Thirteen games into IPL 2020, two players from Rajasthan Royals have taken the top spots in terms of highest impact scores per match (among players who have played at least two matches). Jofra Archer tops the list with a score of 94.05 points per match, while Sanju Samson is close on his heels with a score of 92.47.

Archer got his campaign off to a terrific start, scoring 27 off eight, and taking 1 for 26 in four overs against Chennai Super Kings. The bowling effort got more points because it came in a game where 416 runs were scored in 40 overs, a run rate of 10.4. His next outing was disappointing, but the figures of none for 46 came in a game where 449 runs were scored. And then came a stellar performance against Kolkata Knight Riders, in which he had figures of 3-0-4-2 going into his final over. Had Eoin Morgan not been dropped off his final ball, which also went for six, his figures would have read 4-0-12-3.

Samson has had a fantastic start, too, scoring successive half-centuries for the first time in his IPL career. The challenge for him will now be to translate the Sharjah runs into the other venues, where run-scoring has been more difficult so far. Mayank Agarwal comes in next on the strength of two outstanding innings - 89 off 60 against Delhi Capitals, which helped tie the game from a hopeless position, and a sparkling 106 against Rajasthan Royals. Sam Curran and AB de Villiers round off the top five. Kieron Pollard, Mohammed Shami, Shivam Mavi and Kagiso Rabada follow next, and all of them have impact scores of more than 70 per match.

In terms of individual match performances, the two positions go to the Kings XI openers: KL Rahul, for his outstanding 132 off 69 against Royal Challengers Bangalore, and Agarwal, for his century against Royals. Agarwal has two performances in the top five, while Rashid Khan's 3 for 14 against Delhi Capitals - when he got the wickets of Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant - is the only bowling performance in the top five.

Agarwal also tops in terms of Smart Runs so far. According to the Smart Stats algorithm, which takes into account match context and pressure on the batsmen when they score their runs, his 246 runs is worth 274 Smart Runs. Rahul has scored only seven fewer runs, but his Smart Runs tally is 43 behind Agarwal's because of match context: while his century against Royal Challengers was superb, his 69 against Royals came off 54 balls, which was far below par strike-rate for the match.

Faf du Plessis has the fourth-highest aggregate with 173, but he doesn't find a place in the top five. That is because much of his runs in his most significant innings so far - 72 off 37 against Royals - came after Chennai Super Kings had fallen so far behind in the run chase that they didn't have a realistic chance of making the target.

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