Colin Munro and Rohit Sharma: The modern-day record-breakers
The year 2018 began auspiciously for cricket with a new record written in its books. New Zealand opener Colin Munro became the first batsman to score three centuries in Twenty20 Internationals. He achieved the feat during the third and final match of the bilateral series against West Indies on January 3.
The left-hander's whirlwind 53-ball 104 laid the platform as Kiwis decimated the reigning World T20 champions by 119 runs at Mount Maunganui. Munro was among the runs in the first two T20Is as well. His quickfire half-centuries in both the games had helped the Kiwis gain the upper hand.
Just three weeks prior to Munro's feats, on December 13, 2017, Indian opener Rohit Sharma had created a similar record by scoring his third double century in ODIs. The stylish right-hander made mincemeat of Sri Lanka's bowling to register an unbeaten 208 in the second ODI at Mohali.
In what could be a case of coincidence, both Rohit and Munro were born in the same year and started their respective careers in the middle-order. However, at present, they are among the most attacking openers in the shorter formats.
Rohit's ascendancy in ODIs
Though Rohit made his ODI debut in 2007, sustained success eluded him in his initial years as he found himself frequently in and out of Indian team. It was only after getting promoted to the top order in early 2013 that things started changing for him.
The bilateral series against Australia in 2013, where he scored two big tons including his first double hundred, cemented his place as an ODI opener. Since then, there has been no looking back for the Mumbaikar.
Just a year later, he rewrote the record books with a gigantic 264 at the Eden Gardens. The team at the receiving end were Sri Lanka who now own a dubious record of allowing the same batsman to score two double tons.
Munro's supremacy in T20Is
Colin Munro had to wait till 2012 to play in his first International match. The progress then on was slow as he played only 47 international appearances across all formats till January 2017. The returns in that period were also modest with only six half-centuries across all formats.
It was only during 2017 that he began to taste consistent success. Sent into bat at number three, the southpaw scored a rapid 71-ball 101 and helped New Zealand crush Bangladesh at Mount Maunganui in the second T20I fixture of the bilateral series.
During the tour of India later in the year, he was sent further up in the batting order and asked to open the innings in the first ODI at Mumbai. A sublime 75 off 62 balls in the third ODI brought the Kiwis to within six runs of India's strong total of 337.
Munro's role as opener continued in the T20I series as well. He scored the second century of his T20I career at Rajkot. A stunning 58-ball 109 in the second match set the stage ablaze. The latest record breaking T20I ton, which came in the first week of January 2018, was even more special for Munro as all of his three centuries in the format came within a span of twelve months.
Appetite for scoring big runs
Though their batting styles are different, both Munro and Rohit can dominate bowling attacks in favorable batting conditions. The two sweet timers of the ball can pierce the infield with ease through their elegant drives.
Once they are set, both batsmen do not hesitate to take the aerial route too in order to increase the scoring rates of their respective teams. Having got accustomed to the pace of the pitch, they can bat for long periods and punish almost every type of bowler. More than anything, it's their appetite for scoring big runs that has propelled them into an altogether different league in their respective dominant formats.